You need to buy a web hosting service after purchasing a domain name for your website. As with choosing a domain name, selecting a web host requires careful planning and of course, a bit of research.
While pricing, uptime and support feature are significant, there are many other important considerations that make or break (literally) your website down the road.
Here are some of the most important aspects you should keep in mind before signing up with a web host service.
There are different types of web hosting services available at different prices. Like any other product, web hosting service can be cheap and expensive depending on the features they offer.
Therefore, your choice essentially boils down to your needs. If you’re looking to host a small website and not expecting to have a ton of traffic down the road, it makes sense to invest in a cheap web host service.
If you’re a newbie, you should try to buy both your domain and web host service from the same company. It usually costs you less apart from saving you from the complexity of hosting and managing your website down the road.
Tech support is so important that it can be a deal breaker. When you’re running a high traffic site that goes down, you need technical help to fix it as soon as possible. Although, almost all web hosting companies offer tech support 24/7, you need to find out the types of support they are offering.
Some companies offer phone support, chat support and email support while others offer only email support. You want to find out if the phone support is good enough, i.e. whether you’re able to get hold of them quickly and if it’s a toll free number. When it comes to chat support and email support, you need to find out if they have a great reputation with the customers.
If you’re a new user, you might want to look for a web hosting company that offers phone support so you can speak to tech support agent to get quick resolution.
If you’re buying a web hosting service for the first time, and not familiar with the technology behind hosting, you may not pay attention to specifications such as CPUs, GPUs, RAMs, and the type of storage your web hosting company is offering. In fact, these things may not really matter much to you if you’re hosting a small website and expecting very little traffic down the road.
However, these things are going to affect the performance of your website when you start getting a lot of traffic and using resource-heavy web applications on your website.
While migrating to an another web hosting service is always an option, it’s a hassle nevertheless. It’s always better to go with a reputable web hosting company that can help you scale your online business without any hassle.
Agree you can use you Gmail account for communication, but if you’re starting an online business, it looks professional to use an email account associated with your domain name. Generally, your web hosting company can provide you with such an email service with your hosting package.
However, you need to see how good their email services are. Features such as spam protection and email forwarding are going to affect your online business down the road.
Control panel is an interface where you can host your website. It’s where you can add your newly purchase domain and install your preferred software. The control panel is supposed to be simple and straightforward enough for a new user to use. However, it’s not always the case for many web hosting companies.
You don’t really want to call up a tech support every time you want to make a small change to your website. Be sure to choose a hosting company that offers cPanel, Plesk or similar services.
Shared vs Private
All web hosting companies offer both shared and private (dedicated) web hosting services. In shared web hosting services, you share the same server with others – it’s like sharing your computer with others. Likewise, in private or dedicated hosting services, you get a dedicated serve for your website.
Technically, you should opt for a dedicated or private web server if you are hosting a complex website. The benefits of a dedicated web server include performance, uptime and security for your website. Naturally, it costs more but it’s a wise decision if you’re looking to host a serious website down the road.
On the other hand, if you’re going to host a simple personal blog and not expecting to scale it anytime soon, go for a shared service to save cost on web hosting.
If you’re expecting your website to grow steadily in future, you should see if your prospective web hosting company is offering automatic scalability. Big web hosting companies such as Amazon Web Services offer automatic scalability so your website is automatically upgraded if your current system is unable to handle the traffic or bandwidth.
Automatic scalability is a great feature that saves your website from going offline when there’s a sudden surge in traffic that you’re not expecting.
Imagine getting tons of traffic to your online shop during Christmas. You don’t want your website to go down because it has consumed the allocated bandwidth. Even if you contact the support team to upgrade to a higher package and bring your website back up, the downtime can cost you potential business opportunities.
Backup is a key consideration for choosing your web hosting company. A back up feature allows you to recover your website and all its data when an accident occurs and you lose all the data.
Try to find out if your prospective web hosting provider offers automatic back-up feature so you get your website back up and running quickly should your website go down in the event of any mishap.
Parking service is a feature that allows you to park your unused domains on your control panel. Many webmasters purchase domain names that they don’t intend to use immediately, e.g. misspelling of their domain names. If you’re web hosting provide offers parking service, you can take advantage of it.
Even though you choose a web hosting company after considering all key aspects as explained above, there are times when you want to switch to another host for a variety of reasons.
Make sure your prospective web service provider allows you to leave easily. Read the terms and conditions (and fine prints) carefully before signing up. Imagine the discomfort of having to wait for your website(s) to migrate because the current host has a complicated exist mechanism.
The last thing you want is your website goes down for days because the migration process is painfully slow.
Choosing the right web host can be time consuming but it’s well worth the wait and research. Migrating from one host to another can be more complicated than you think. It’s better to consider all your options and go with the best host based on your current and future needs.