How to choose a web hosting plan – 10 things you should look for

Web Hosting
What features to look for in a web hosting provider
Image: Winky.net Flickr

For an e-entrepreneur, the most important pain point is deciding a web hosting plan. Wondering how to choose a web hosting plan? And it should be because the host you chose determines a lot of factors which can lead your website to soar high or fall in the pit and disappear. Many opt for a cheap hosting service,

What you should look for in a web hosting service. In order to determine which hosting platform to opt for, you must first decide on your requirements. Here are 10 tips from experts and real business owners like you to help you choose.

1 Support

Number one most important point in our list is the support provided. Nothing is guaranteed to work all the time, things go wrong and when they do whether you want someone to help you at the end of a phone line or not. If you do, and it is good to have phone support, look for a provider that gives 24/7 support with customer service reps.

Martin Burt, founder of Designed 4U prefers and recommends Bluehost, “If you do have any issues then they offer incredible support through their live chat, FAQs and support desk. Which if you are just starting out is vital as even the simplest tasks can feel like crippling roadblocks.”

2. Uptime

You don’t want your website to be unreachable when someone visits your site. Imagine all that money, time and energy you have to spend to get a visitor on your site. Many providers boast of 99.9% uptime, however, it pays to be preventive rather than trying to solve the problem of downtime. Make sure the provider has mirror service so that there are other servers ready and equipped to take over in the event one server goes down. If you are already using a host, sign up with any downtime monitoring service to be alerted when your site goes offline.

Bram, SEO expert, content marketer recommends A2 hosting, ” Their customer service sometimes takes a little while to reply, but they’ve always come through for me, even when the issues I was facing were caused by my own actions. “, he says. Besides A2 offers affordable packages for resellers and small website owners. “In the past, I’ve used some other hosting providers but they either have extremely poor customers service, or the hosting slows down your sites.”

3. Storage and Load Time

If you don’t want to serve a lot of images or videos on your site, many blogs don’t need to, a storage capacity of —- should be enough for you. Double Marvellous web and graphic designs provider prefers to use Kinsta for speed and ease of use. “I did move a site from shared hosting in Ireland to Kinsta and the speed of the site was instantly increased. There is a choice of server locations and a server cache which you can clear from your WP Admin.”

Server location matters, if your target audience is in Asia, you don’t want your website to be served from halfway around the world. “Their support was excellent, to the point where I reviewed them favourably after each support chat I had.” “Kinsta could be your choice if you have a large or if you have a large or soon-to-be-large WordPress site and you need dedicated hosting and good, personable support.”

The Icing on the cake, Kinsta offers, “a staging server where you can update your site and make changes before pushing them live.”

4. Backup

Make sure that your hosting provider gives daily automatic backups. I once mistakenly deleted my blog- oops. I contacted my hosting company, they take automatic backups every day. Thankfully I restored a few days back and lo and behold my blog was back like nothing had happened! My point is you don’t want this to happen to you. Enquire about the disaster recovery plan of your hosting company in case something goes wrong.

NameCheap, Levi J’s chosen server offers 100% uptime and automatic backups.

5. Accessibility

Avoid the hosting companies that don’t allow you to make changes to your website. Giving them options to create email accounts, make changes to the server settings must be provided in the basic plan of your hosting. Some companies don’t allow you to access email accounts via Outlook only. Avoid those and stick to the ones that provide web access to email inbox.

6. Shared server?

Using a shared hosting plan helps you to save money, but, be warned that your website lives on the same server like many others and are sharing the resources. Sharing resources may lead to slow response time for your site. This becomes an important factor if you want to be on the first result page of Google results as Google takes the loading time as one of the many factors to rank your page. The faster your site loads, the higher your search rank. Anything goes wrong with one of them, could affect yours as well. That said, if you are really on a tight budget, take Bram’s recommendation and go with A2 hosting as, “Their shared hosting package consistently ranks in the top five hosting providers when it comes to speed when tested, and downtime is almost non-existent.”

You can use NameCheap, shared hosting too, “I rely on NameCheap Shared Hosting (Stellar Plus on https://www.namecheap.com/hosting/shared/ ) for my copywriting website. It’s serving me well since my website is still new and my traffic is still tiny, while offering unmetered disk space and bandwidth (so, in theory, I have no traffic and website growth limits), 100% uptime and automated backups.”

7. Bandwidth & Scalability

This one of the most important factor to be considered. When you are starting you might be interested in looking for providers for your small business. But, also make sure that they have various tiers based on the number of visitors a month. Ensure that you can upgrade easily as your business needs grow. Even though you are small and don’t have much traffic, your provider must be able to handle short term or a sudden increase in traffic to your site. While we are on the topic of traffic spikes, watch out for those hosting providers who charge you very huge amount for spikes.

8. Blogging

Even if you are not planning to start a blog, it is good to make sure that your hosting company supports blogging and other social media tools. Wonderful if they have the minimum requirements for WordPress, the go-to blogging platform.

9. Beware of Add-ons

Before you start doing the tap dance seeing the low cost quoted, do find out what you are paying for. Some try to upsell you with email accounts, email forwarding service, etc, while these must be included in the basic package.

10. Plan B

Decided on the hosting provider to chose and are excited? Not so fast, read the fine print. Why? Because you must know what they say about moving your site to a new host, in case you decide to switch?

I think the best way to choose a hosting provider is to assess your needs first, then buy the option that suits them better. Tiny needs, tiny hosting package. Big traffic and subscribers, big hosting package or even a VPN (Levi J Paprucci)

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