Web hosting is one of those parts of your website that doesn’t seem to be quite as important as others. Everyone places plenty of emphasis on colors, design, logos, and so on. But website hosting tends to be an afterthought, or at the least, glossed over pretty quickly.
But learning how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business can save you a whole lot of trouble from the very start. It’s all about figuring out your business’s website needs and finding the type of hosting that caters to those needs.
Here’s our advice on making the best decision for your company that will see you through many years without stress and struggle!
Assess Your Needs
There’s no such thing as a universal, one-size-fits-every-website hosting type. The best way to figure out the right hosting type for you is to carefully assess our own website’s needs and match that up to a hosting type.
Factors you’ll need to assess include:
- Your required storage space
- Functions and features your website needs
- An estimated traffic volume
- The level of security you’ll need
- Type of support you might require
Once you have an idea of your website’s needs, you’ll be able to quickly figure out which web hosting options will work for you and which won’t.
Web Hosting Services to Choose From
There are four main web hosting options to choose from. The right one for you depends on those factors you noted down when assessing your business needs. Your options are:
- Cloud Hosting: Stores your website across multiple servers in the cloud and offers enhanced scalability and layered security, the most expensive of the choices.
- Dedicated Hosting: Stores your site on its own private server, which gives you a good amount of control. Still quite expensive but worth it for high-traffic websites.
- VPS Hosting: Your site is hosted on a virtual server—a “private” section of a server with its own resources. A great compromise for those who don’t have the budget for a dedicated server.
- Shared Hosting: The most affordable of the choices but the least reliable. Your site is hosted on a server with multiple other sites, meaning it has to fight for available resources. Only recommended for very basic, low-traffic websites.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Web Hosting
Managed vs Unmanaged
What you select here depends on your level of technical expertise and the time you have available to dedicate to your website. Managed website hosting services offer a fully done-for-you service, so they’ll take care of things like updates, maintenance, and all your security needs.
On the other hand, unmanaged hosting means you’ll need to deal with all of that on your own, so you won’t be able to handle it unless your level of technical knowledge is high. Of course, even if you know your way around a website, you’ll need to be able to dedicate the time to checking, maintaining, and updating your site.
Naturally, managed hosting is somewhat more pricey than unmanaged because you’ll have access to 24/7 support when you need it. Factor this in when you choose!
Don’t just go with the first host you come across. Check out reviews on their customer server and reliability, so you know what sort of uptime to expect. Hosts that use weak, unstable servers will have more problems with downtime, so if you want your own business to run smoothly, you’ll probably want to avoid those ones.
We recommend choosing a host that offers an uptime score of 99.5% or more. Those with an annual uptime score of less than 99% should be avoided. Remember, every hour your website is down, you’re losing out on potential sales. Don’t neglect this factor!
Security is something you can’t compromise on. Make sure the web host you’re considering offers a reliable security protocol and has good reviews on this front. Things you may want to look for here include data backups and SSL encryption for your website.
Often, web hosts offer different security features on different pricing tiers. Double-check this beforehand, so you don’t get caught out.
Not enough storage space can slow your site down by a lot. Make sure you have a fairly accurate idea of how much storage space your site needs and choose a hosting provider that offers more than what you think you need.
The page loading speed can chase visitors off your site if it’s too slow. This relies on the network speed of your server, so ensure your chosen host offers a speedy network that’s also stable. You can check website loading speed on Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Don’t cut corners and choose a host that doesn’t offer regular site backups. This is something you always think you won’t need… Until you do. And if you don’t have it, you’ll be in quite a bit of trouble.
Check which hosts—and which plans—offer regular site backups, as well as reliable restoration services in the event of a crash.
Depending on your needs, you may be interested in some extra features that some web hosting providers offer. It’s worthwhile to ask web hosts about these features beforehand if any of them would be useful to you.
- Email accounts
- Site transfers
- Site builder access
- cPanel availability
Got a better idea of how to choose the right kind of web hosting for your business site? The key lies in knowing your own website requirements and matching those up with a web host that ticks all the boxes. When you look at it from that perspective, it’s a little less intimidating!
Even if you’ve been with the same web hosting provider for ages, it’s well worth looking at what they actually offer and if it’s really working for your site. If your website has grown or your traffic has increased, you may also have outgrown your web host.
We recommend doing a web host audit at least every two years or so to make sure the provider you’re with and the plan you’re on are still giving you everything you need to make sure your business is a success.
Web Hosting Word Cloud Featured Image by Kbuntu on Depositphotos.
About the Author:
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related on his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.