When you start shopping for a good web hosting service, you probably know you need to look for certain factors- things like speed and reliability, and maybe you have an idea about the server space you need. But it doesn’t end there, leaving many potential website owners with little idea what to look for beyond that point.
With this in mind, here are 5 critical things you need to know when you’re looking for great web hosting.
Is shared hosting going to be good enough?
Shared hosting is actually the industry standard for hosting, the ‘normal’ plans you see advertised on a website. Of course, these plans do cater to the vast majority of websites needed, from family sites to personal blogs right through to businesses large and small. But it doesn’t suit everyone, and many people don’t even realize that alternatives are out there.
Shared hosting plans mean your server is shared between your website and several others. You won’t know who your ‘digital neighbours’ are, and for the most part won’t ever need to. However, issues can arise with traffic-heavy websites, as well as sites that have periodic traffic highs. If you need a shared solution, look for a host who guarantees you speeds and good traffic, as well as the resources to ensure you aren’t affected by your neighbour’s needs. If all else fails, or your business needs more support, you should consider using VPS plans.
Unlimited hosting that really is.
Not all unlimited plans are created equal. If you read the fine print, you may be missing out in other important areas (think speed, ease of use, and other convenience features). You are better off looking for a site that gives you specifics of how it runs its unlimited plans, and where the drawbacks lie in their “perfect plan”. Alternatively, if you are looking for a specific type of hosting- the classic example being WordPress– then look for a hosting type that’s specifically tailored to this for added ease of use. These may give your website preferential hosting, or optimize the environment for the plugins and backend you are using, or even provide content-specific backups.
Speed issues you need to be aware of.
The speed specs you look at when choosing your plan are a very simplified overview of what a host can actually guarantee. They have to be, of course- but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer on a hidden catch. There are variables that affect speed. Look for a good amount of bandwidth so you don’t become throttled, preferably unlimited. Your host should be running good modern hardware to ensure good uptime. Your server should have great processing power and adequate RAM, so your backend of the site never runs frustratingly slow.
Are your servers eco-friendly?
It’s a novel arena in web hosting, but one that’s likely to rise as the ‘green’ trend takes root. We’re all beginning to get more concerned about resource usage worldwide. Green hosting won’t cost you more- it can actually be a cost saver over time. It means your host is optimized to guard against waste, and this includes in arenas like electricity usage, recycling and the type and quality of equipment used. This will often pass savings on down the line to you, as it enables them to keep their own costs low and not pass escalated costs on to you.
Is ‘free’ hosting really the best value?
Free hosting is very tempting, especially for startups and other uses. However, it’s rarely a great idea for any professional website. Traffic is often throttled, and you don’t receive the sort of uptime that will help you look professional to clients. Opt for a free host only if you’re just looking to develop a family site or get a little experience with creating websites. A non-profit, depending on its size, might do ok on free hosting. It’s also an okay choice if you want to see how much traffic a site can generate for a while before committing to it.
Now you know these 5 critical points, you’re in a better place to truly make a good evaluation of your hosting needs and ensure you get the perfect web hosting for you.