Searching for a web host can seem overwhelming, with all the options on the market now and different companies offering and emphasizing particular benefits of their services. Some hosts focus on unlimited storage, while others advertise fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. When it comes to web hosts, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on the needs of your website or blog you’ll want to pick a web host that suits your own projects and goals. Read on to discover which host is best for you based on the most important considerations when selecting a web hosting provider.
Types of Web Servers and Hosting Plans
In order to know which hosting provider is best for you, it’s important to determine which type of web hosting you want to buy. One of the most common types of hosting plans involves leasing a shared physical web server to place your website alongside dozens of others. This is a great way to save costs because you can place your website on a cutting-edge web server without having to pay for its operation and maintenance in entirety.
Shared servers do have certain drawbacks for those focused on SEO and outbound mail operations. If one of the sites on your server happens to be mailing spam out or producing low-quality ‘scraper’ type content then the whole IP block pointing to the server can suffer.
To avoid the potential SEO problems associated with shared servers many website and blog owners choose to upload their projects to a virtual private server (VPS.) With a VPS server your content is completely segregated from any neighboring sites on the same physical machine. New IP addresses are issues for each VPS so you don’t have to worry about IP blacklisting due to spam-filled neighboring websites. Whereas shared hosting plans usually cost less than $10 per month, VPS hosting can cost between $10 and $15 monthly or more.
VPS hosting plans also tend to offer greater customization than what you’d get with a shared plan. You’ll be able to configure the virtual server settings in ways not possible with a shared physical server. If you’re focused on SEO or need extra control but want to keep your hosting expenses small then a VPS hosting plan is probably right for you.
While checking if your potential web hosting companies offer shared and VPS packages, it’s also a good idea to see if they sell dedicated and cloud hosting plans. Dedicated servers are more costly, ranging from $80 to $200 per month, but give you total control over a large physical server. Cloud hosting plans typically charge per bytes transferred and stored, meaning you only pay for what you use. Cloud-based servers are generally the best deal for smaller websites and sites with variable traffic levels but not all hosts provide cloud services.
Web Host Speeds and Metrics
In order to choose the right web host you’ll also need to know the technical requirements of your websites. Websites with lots of media or frequent file transfers will likely require a plan with unlimited storage and bandwidth. ‘Storage’ refers to how much disk space you are allotted on each physical or virtual drive while ‘bandwidth’ describes the amount of data coming and going from your website at any given time.
Some hosts offer unlimited bandwidth but choose to meter and slow your traffic after a certain level. This is almost never an issue with websites that receive less than 30,000 or so monthly visitors, so any ‘unlimited’ plan should suffice. Larger sites and blogs with 100,000 or more monthly visits should generally look into a cloud or dedicated hosting provider.
Ease of Use
Depending on your level of tech skills you may want a host that offers technical support and advanced customer service. Many hosts can help with transferring websites, registration, overcoming errors, and creating user databases. If you anticipate using technologies you’re not an expert in then it’s a good idea to see what kind of tech support and customer service your potential hosts offer. Basic customer service levels and quality can fluctuate from host to host as well. Check if the hosts you’re considering offer 24/7 billing support and a quality ticket system to escalate issues quickly.
Some hosts make it super easy to install different platforms and Content Management Systems which is greatly beneficial if you’re new to building websites. Look for hosts that offer one-click installations of WordPress, Joomla, or other platforms you’re interested in. Many of the top web hosts also offer in-house solutions for building websites with a point-and-click interface. These easy-build website solutions are perfect for new website and blog owners, and practically make your hosting plan pay for itself.
After determining your website or blog’s specific traffic, speed, SEO and other requirements, and reviewing your hosting budget, you’ll be able to compare hosts against these considerations to make the most of your money. Choosing the fastest web host with an unlimited plan that fits into your budget is generally the best way to go but larger websites and sites with a lot of media file transfers may require dedicated or cloud based hosting plans.