Whether you’re just starting out with a new website or you’re looking to move an existing site to a new hosting, finding the best web hosting for you and your website is vital.
There are many things to take in to consideration when looking at the best web hosting packages for your website, but they key thing to be aware of before starting out is to know what exactly it is that you need.
What are your hosting needs?
If you’re transferring an existing website to a new hosting service, you will have most of the information you need. For example, the traffic figures, sizes of databases, traffic levels during peak periods, etc.
If you’re looking for the best web hosting for a new website you are setting up, you won’t have all of the above. However, there will be some more information that you need to be armed with. Will your website use a specific application (e.g. WordPress), will you need Windows applications, is there a requirement for something like PHP?
Before you even try to identify the best web hosting package, you need to have answered as many of the questions above first. Then, we can move on to what type of web hosting do you require?
What type of web hosting do I need?
If you’re a new website, then the simple advice is to start small. Look for the best shared web hosting packages. There will be lots of choice in this area and the real advantages are that they start cheap, are fairly easy to maintain and many come with built-in tools through dashboards and control panels, making it easy to get started. If you outgrow your shared web hosting, you can always upgrade to something larger when the time is right.
There are some great web hosting comparison tables to view online. You can compare the different hosting packages here.
If you are moving a large and established site, you will likely know what you need. This could be a dedicated web hosting server, Cloud solution or virtual private server.
Once you have selected your type of web hosting, it’s time to do your homework on some other important considerations.
Best web hosting for uptime and support
You can have the quickest website in the world, with the nicest design and the greatest content, but if it’s offline for any length of time then it is useless. Therefore, an absolutely vital metric to look for when analysis web hosting services is the uptime. Industry recommendations vary, but any web hosting service with a downtime less than 99% should be avoided completely. 99.5% or above uptime is considered good.
It’s also important that support is available 24×7 in case of issues with the site. The internet is a shop window for your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It should be maintained at all times.
Is data transfer and disk space important in web hosting?
If you’re working with a new site, then no, you can largely ignore this for now. For large sites, then you may need to pay attention. However, it’s generally only small websites or new websites that will be using shared web hosting and most providers now market their disk space and data transfer as “unlimited”. It never is totally unlimited by the way, so always check. However, with small amount of traffic and a small website, you should not be concerned by disk space and transfer at this point. There are other factors that will impact on server performance, the likes of which you don’t need to concern yourself with too much with this now.
Web hosting costs
Okay then, so we know what your needs are, which type of hosting you’re after and you’ve shortlisted some of the best web hosting packages for uptime and support. So it comes down to price.
You’re still not in the clear though. Very often web hosting companies will offer some great introductory rates for new hosting accounts, with further discounts available when purchasing for 12, 24 or 36 months at a time. Make sure you identify the normal rate once the introductory period has ended, as well as identifying how you can cancel your plan should it not be working out.
Reviews of the web hosting packages
Last and by no means least, reviews. There are some great websites out there now that will not only write written reviews about web hosting companies and the packages that they offer, but there are also some great web hosting user review sites on which real buyers of web hosting packages, such as yourself, will have scored the companies. These reviews are vital and it’s well worth spending some time analysing.
If a certain company has a few mentions of poor customer support or downtime, then that is usually enough to tell you to steer clear of them.
One final note is to be aware of websites reviewing certain hosting packages favourably who also provide links out. They’re not always bad news, but often these sites are using affiliate schemes which means they will profit from users signing up to certain companies’ hosting deals. The more customers who by hosting packages having come from their website/article, the more money they make.