Starting your own website can be an exciting experience. Depending on your goals, you can turn it into a business and make a name for yourself. There are thousands of people who run successful online businesses. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort. This process has several steps, such as choosing a domain name and web hosting, finding the best theme for your site, and researching your keywords.
If you already have a domain name, it’s time to pick the right web host. Don’t go for the cheapest offer because it may not be the best. A quality web hosting provider can take your business to the next level, so choose one that meets your needs. Here are some tips and steps to help you out.
1. Assess Your Needs
Decide what exactly you want from your web host. Write down your requirements as part of your business plan. Whether you’re just starting a website or updating an existing blog, it’s important to have clear goals in mind. Knowing what you need will make things easier.
Set realistic objectives and then try to figure out how much disk space and bandwidth are required. How much traffic do you expect in the next three to five months? What services are you going to offer? What support channels are required? Does your website generate income? How important is uptime to you? What countries are you targeting? Are you going to use WordPress, Blogger, or other platforms? What types of content will you post? A photography blog has different requirements than a news blog or a business site.
Once you answer these questions, start looking for a quality website host. In case you’re changing web hosting providers, determine why you want to move. What exactly don’t you like about your current host? Is it their customer service, their plans, or the features offered? If you’re a total newbie, look for a trusted web hosting guide and learn about these services.
2. Choose the Right Type of Web Hosting
The next step is to decide what kind of web hosting plan suits your needs. This usually depends on the type of business you are running. If you have a small blog or website, go for shared web hosting. It’s the cheapest and most popular plan out there. Basically, your website shares the same server with other sites and blogs.
With dedicated hosting, you’ll have an entire web server to yourself. This option is suitable for larger websites with increased traffic. VPS hosting appeals to those who need specific software or services that are not included in shared hosting plans. Reseller hosting is designed for web designers, SEO firms, and webmasters who want to provide web hosting services to their clients. If you’re just starting out, sign up for shared hosting to see how it goes. As your business grows, upgrade to a more advanced plan.
3. Do In-Depth Research
Any web hosting guide recommends comparing your options before signing up for a plan. Go online and look for the best web hosts out there. Compare at least three different companies side-by-side. Check the following services:
- Disk space
- Email features
- FTP access
- File type and size limitations
- Reliability and speed of access
- Uptime score
- PHP and/or Perl
- Database support
- Customer support
- Technical support
- Refund policy
- Server upgrade options
- Sign up versus renewal prices
- Subscription period
- One-click installs
- Ecommerce features
- Type of control panel
- Site backup options
Choosing a web host depends on your individual needs. For example, if you have a blog or a small portfolio site, you probably don’t need ecommerce features. As a rule of thumb, choose a web host that offers a minimum uptime of 99.5 percent. This is particularly important for online stores and large websites with high traffic. The web hosting provider should guarantee its uptime.
4. Check the Features
Ignore any web host that claims to offer unlimited bandwidth or unlimited disk space. Look for companies providing 24/7 support. If you’re planning to grow your business or buy new domain names, choose a hosting plan that allows multiple add-on domains. Make sure the package includes popular applications, such as Quick Installer, Simple Scripts, Fantastico, WordPress, and .Htaccess. You should not settle with web hosts that don’t provide these features.
If you’re selling products or services online, sign up for a plan that includes dedicated IP, SSL certification, shopping cart software, and ecommerce support. The control panel should be easy to use and offer all the necessary functions. Don’t forget to check the contract too. Some web hosts charge an additional fee for transferring your domain names or switching to another provider. Try to find out if there are any account limitations.
5. Compare Costs
Web hosting costs depend on the services included in each plan. They may also vary from one provider to another. In general, you get what you pay for. If you find an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember to check for hidden costs too. Ask your web host if there are any extra fees for hosting multiple URLs and email addresses.
6. Check What Else They Offer
The competition is tight in this industry, so most web hosts provide free services and extras to attract clients. Some offer free domain names, free site building tools, free website transfer, or special discounts for members only. Others allow potential clients to try their services at no extra charge. If you’re not sure what to choose, simply ask for a trial period.
7. Contact the Company Beforehand
Before buying web hosting, contact the company by phone, email, or live chat. This way, you’ll see how long it takes them to respond and how they treat customers. A reliable web hosting provider won’t mind answering your questions. Ask about their technical support and backup services. If possible, opt for short-term contracts. Read customer reviews and testimonials to find out what others think about the web host you’re about to choose. Remember to keep pricing and reliability in mind.