Every website needs a host. So, let’s start by defining what a host actually is. A website host provides the actual computer, or server, where your website’s files are stored.
To provide even more clarification, every website also needs a domain name and a platform. to find out all about domain names, click here to read my blog post on that topic.
To make this simple, let’s compare all of these requirements to a house. You can look at your domain name as your home’s address, the hosting as the plot of land your house is built on and the website platform as the basic frame or structure of your house.
Hosting is one of the most important components of a successful website.
Now that you understand the basics, let’s dive right into my 5 tips for choosing the best website host for your business.
1. Determine your website’s needs
The first step is to figure out what you’ll be doing with your website and from there you’ll be able to determine the best platform for it.
A few items you’ll want to consider are:
- Will you be writing a blog?
- Will you be selling products and collecting online payments?
- Will you be building your own website DIY style?
- How customizable is the platform?
- Does the platform offer analytics?
Some web hosts offer infrastructure for specific types of websites and what works for one business may not be the best solution for another business.
The simpler website builder platforms (like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace for example) are all in one meaning that hosting is part of the package.
Since I find these platforms are more geared toward DIY-ers and have less ability to be customized, I recommend WordPress as a website platform. WordPress dot org is a self-hosted CMS (content management system) so the next four tips will be about finding a WordPress host.
2. Find out what features are included
When comparing hosting companies, it’s important to look at the different features that are included in the price per month.
Some features that you may want to consider are:
- Branded email accounts
- SSL certificate
- Choice of data center location
- Domain name
You’ll also want to consider the amount of storage and bandwith that are included along with how many domains can be hosted on one account. You’ll want to make sure that the host you select has the capability to offer you a different plan as you scale your business.
3. Determine what type of hosting your business needs
There are several different options when it comes to hosting. The most common options are as follows:
Let’s quickly look at who each of these options is for:
Shared hosting is the most popular type of hosting and also the most affordable because it’s a large server with lots of sites on it. This is a great option for small businesses and bloggers just starting out.
VPS hosting (or Virtual Private Server) has the privacy of a separate physical server even though you are sharing the server with a few others. This is a great option for medium sized businesses and high traffic blogs.
Dedicated hosting is a dedicated server allows you to have full control over the server. This is not for someone who is just starting out. This is a great option for extremely high traffic blogs.
Managed hosting is hassle free. It’s great for established bloggers who have the revenue to afford it and for those people who don’t have the skills/time to deal with the technical side of things.
4. Examine the customer service and support they offer
This one is really important because chances are you will need support at some point.
Some key questions you’ll want answers to are:
- When is support available – is it 24/7 or only during set hours?
- What support channels they offer – phone, email, live chat?
- Where is support based – US or overseas?
- What is the response time for resolving issues?
- Is the support staff friendly and knowledgeable?
- What type of issues will they offer support for?
- Do they offer a knowledge base of tutorials?
Your website should be bringing in revenue for your business so if a server goes down you can be losing revenue if your hosting company doesn’t remedy the situation quickly.
5. Identify their performance and speed capabilities
Performance and speed are two incredibly important items to take into consideration when choosing a hosting company. Your website host has a huge impact on your website’s speed which in turn has a huge impact on potential customers staying on your site!
Some things to consider for performance and security include:
- Do they have an uptime guarantee?
- Do they offer backups and restore?
- Do they have a WAF (web application firewall?
- Do they use a brute force detection and prevention systems?
- Are they running on the latest server software?
- Can you control when the CMS is updated?
A few things to look for in terms of speed are as follows:
- Servers on multiple continents
- A CDN (content delivery network
- Caching options
I hope you’ve found these 5 tips for choosing the best website host helpful. The hosting company that I use myself and that I recommend to all of my clients is Siteground. If you’d like to find out more about why I chose them as my hosting company, you can click here to read my blog post about it.
And, if you’d like help choosing and setting up your hosting platform, you can sign up for a website strategy boost by clicking here.