Thinking about creating a website and looking for the right web host? The sheer number of hosting services that are out there can be overwhelming, and trying to decide which one is best may end up giving you a headache.
To make your decision easier, it helps if you know what to look for. If you do, you’ll be able to sieve through your options and figure out which one fits your needs a lot more quickly too.
Types of Web Hosting Services
For anyone unfamiliar with web hosting, it may come as a surprise that there are actually many different types of web hosting services out there. Some of the more common options are:
- Shared web hosting that is normally low cost but hosts your website on a server shared by many others. Because it is shared, the performance may not be that great, especially if some other website on the shared server is hogging its resources.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting consists of a single physical server which is divided into separate servers – each of which is acting independently. Each VPS server has its own dedicated resources, so it does not suffer from the same issue as shared web hosts.
- Dedicated servers involve renting a whole physical server and having full control over it. It is the best option for large websites or companies that want their own server but do not want to worry about housing or maintaining it.
While the three types listed above are the most common, there are other types of web hosting services available too. It would be best to go over all your options and figure out which type of service fits you best, before looking at other areas.
One of the main factors that you need to consider when choosing a web host is the resources that are available. Typically, that encompasses the:
- Bandwidth in terms of the amount of data that is allowed to be transferred. Most web hosts have strict bandwidth limitations, and some may throttle the speed or suspend the website after it is exceeded.
- Storage space is the total capacity that is available to use. While most websites don’t require that much storage space, if you’re hosting lots of videos or high-quality images then it may be a different story.
Aside from the bandwidth and storage space, you may need to look at the CPU and RAM if you’re running a large and popular website. However, for smaller websites the stock CPU and RAM is generally more than enough.
It should be noted that although some hosting packages may offer ‘unlimited’ resources, you should always read the fine print. More often than not there are likely to be conditions attached.
Many new website owners often overlook scalability when choosing a hosting service. Odds are if you do the same, you’ll regret it later.
Simply put you should try to look at how easy it is to ‘scale up’ your website if the need arises. For example, if you start with a shared web hosting plan, will you be able to switch to a VPS easily if your website gets popular and the resources it requires starts to grow?
Aside from long-term scalability, you should look at the short-term too. In other words, if you suddenly have a spike in the number of visitors, will your web hosting service provide you with ways that you can cope with it such as by purchasing additional bandwidth?
All in all your goal should be to find a web-host that lets you cope with both long and short term growth.
In addition to the areas listed above, there are several other factors that you should look at when you choose a web host, namely:
- Important features such as a website builder, SSD storage, control panel, email platforms, multiple domains, and anything else that you may require.
- Server location which should be close to the location that the majority of your traffic comes from.
- Uptime track record that will let you know how reliable the web host is and whether frequent outages occur.
- Support options and availability so that you can quickly get help if required and preferably contact technical staff without any difficulty.
All these factors are important when choosing a web host, and it is best not to ignore any of them. At very least if you look at each one carefully you should be able to avoid making any mistakes that come back to bite you in the future.
Knowing what to look for in a web hosting service should help you out immensely. The next step is to start doing your research and look at the various services that are available.
Naturally that will require both time and effort – but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Interesting related article: “What is Scalibility?“