As you might have guessed by now, a website host allows you to upload your site files so that visitors are then able to go to your domain and view your content.
Whether you’re looking to host a single site or hundreds of them, it’s important that you understand the needs of your particular website and pick the most suitable web host for it.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to try quite a number of hosts between the sites I launch for my own business and the sites I work on for clients. We all need hosting. The unique experiences (both positive and negative) has allowed me to map out the pros and cons of web hosting companies in the industry. From the big giants, to the little guy – I’ve tried most.
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I’ve personally reviewed each of the companies above and created a review for each.
Quick Note: If you’re searching for exclusive deals and coupons from web hosting companies then I encourage you to [ninja-popup id=504]Subscribe to my Best Deals List.[/ninja-popup] I often get my hands some amazing deals which I share with my subscribers.
Though there are many key factors determining the success or failure of a website, one of the most overlooked but essential criteria’s is a GOOD web host. Having a website that is online 99.9% of the time can be the difference between getting new customers for your business and making some money.
There’s no worst feeling in the world than having a customer call you to let you know, “Your website is down.”
Establishing your Web Hosting Needs
Each website is different and defining your purpose is a crucial step in the process of making the right choice for a website host. So ask yourself, “What is my website about?”
Are you creating a site just for practise (e.g. If you’re taking my WordPress course)? Is this website for your business (e.g. for your local shop)? Is it an e-commerce store? (selling physical customers for customers to purchase.) Finding the answers to these questions will help you determine what your needs are and also will help you make the best decision.
Here are the options you have available to you:
Perhaps one of the most available options out there is Free Web Hosting. These services are often offered by people who have some server space available which they then advertise in forums to get people to sign up. Doesn’t that sound exciting?
Before you jump up and down, it’s only fair that I let you know there’s always some sort of catch.
Usually these “Free” hosts have horrendous customer support and bombard you with advertisements which they REQUIRE that you place on your newly launched website. This tactic allows them to make money but in the long run has the potential to hurt your online business and make your site look spammy.
Poor performance, limited storage space and the lack of control you have over your resources are some of the other factors which make free hosting a big “No-No”.
The ONLY time you should consider going FREE is if you’re just running some tests, practising web development or don’t have any real need to attract traffic or an audience.
This is the most preferred choice for many people looking to launch on the web. A shared host provides various plans at different prices for you to choose from. As the name suggests, you basically share server resources with other website owners.
Unlike the restrictions from the Free hosts however, shared hosting doesn’t force you to display ads and they’re significantly better when it comes to site speed and performance. Stiff competition by other companies encourage and force exceptional customer support (which is a BIG plus for you).
Launching your first website and serious about business? I encourage you to take this route.
If you’re looking into getting a dedicated host for your business then your website is probably a TOTAL rock star!
This option pretty much allows you to have your own server. You’re not sharing resources with others and can accommodate a lot more visitors without having to worry about your site slowing down.
Warning: Don’t grab this if you’re a total newbie or launching a fresh website (YOU DON’T NEED IT!). When just starting out I was tempted too – but you’ll just be wasting your money. Only look towards a dedicated server when you’re kicking some butts and driving a ton of traffic (over 5,000 visitors a month I’d say).
Just in case you want to check out some of my top recommendations for Dedicated Hosting, I’ve put my suggestions in the table below.
Always remember, each business is different. The best recommendation is to start off small with a Shared Plan and then adjust as your business grows. This is important especially if you’re on a tight budget. As you pick up traction and you’re ready to scale, you can upgrade to better plans offered by your web host.
Features of Shared Hosting and Scaling Your Business
One of the features of some hosts is the ability to scale with your business. You should choose a provider that can accommodate your growth and be able to adjust to suit your needs.
I’ve had several websites in the past that simply outgrew the plan they were on. Luckily, it was simply a matter of contacting their support team and upgrading my account in order to increase the resources I was allocated.
Here are some of the other common features people often look for when choosing a hosting company:
- Windows Hosting
- Linux Hosting
- Disk Space
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 24/7 Tech Support (via phone, live chat, e-mail)
- Business Email Accounts
- 99.9% Uptime
- Unlimited Domains
You may be seeing some things you’re familiar with and then others which you have no clue about!
The most important things to consider in my opinion is, the amount of Disk Space you get (how big is your website?). Naturally, a website with lots of graphics, images and content will require more disk space than one that just has a few pages. The bigger your site the more space you’ll need.
The amount of Bandwidth is something else to give a bit of consideration. Bandwidth refers to the quantity of data that is transferred from web host to visitor when a visit is made to your website. Popular websites with a lot of daily traffic is bound to impact the amount of bandwidth you use up.
Good Ol’ Tech Support. It’s always comforting to know that when you have an issue you can find a quick resolution. It’s often reassuring to know that a host has your back if you encounter problems. The ones with telephone support and live chat agents are the best (faster support when compared to waiting on e-mail responses).
With that said, you should pay no mind to hosts that say they provide you with Unlimited Disk Space and Bandwidth (and they pretty much all do say that).
The truth of the matter is that you’re allocated a certain amount of these resources and when you exceed them then you’ll almost always get an e-mail advising you to upgrade. If you fail to do this, they’ll notify you. If you still don’t do anything about it then I’m sorry to say they may remove your files.
When to Register Your New Hosting Account
So you’ve decided to take the plunge. You’ve thought about your website idea, done some research (hopefully my reviews helped) and now you’re playing with the idea of finally grabbing a hosting account.
Well, there’s no time like the present to pull the trigger. As of the time of this writing, pretty much every business out there is solidifying their presence online. They see the potential of having a presence and reaching out to their customers who are right now searching Google, Yahoo and Bing for their services.
Still Need some Convincing?
Well I completely understand. Purchasing a plan is a monetary investment. I completely get that you don’t want to make a mistake and you want to ensure that the company you choose is well worth it.
The truth is, you’ll find good and bad comments scattered on the web about every single web hosting company you can imagine. The positive experience of one customer may not necessarily be the same as another and vice versa.
Apart from my reviews there are other places you can find information. For example, the RipOff Report provides an analysis of each of the hosting companies out there with feedback from real users. So you’re free to give that a shot.
I also suggest asking some of your friends / colleagues or business associates that have launched their own site before. They are bound to be a wealth of information.
Finally, I’m dropping my contact link here, feel free to send me a message if you need help deciding which host is best for you.
Take the Challenge
So I encourage you to take the challenge on. Scroll back up to my table of hosts and choose the one you think is best for your business.
This article is a cumulation of over 8 years working in the website industry and working for clients all around the world. I truly hope you’ve taken something from my experience and if you have, I’m encouraging you to hit the share button to share it with others.