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Web hosting is one of those things that most people roll their eyes at. It’s just a “holding company” for your website’s digital space, so why does it matter? Well, your web hosting company may just be a digital landlord, but you’re running off of their resources so… In the end, they can make or break your business success. 

Choosing the right hosting provider for your website doesn’t have to be hard, but it’s something you should definitely put some thought into before simply picking the cheapest or easiest one. Here’s our quick guide on web hosting essentials to look for. 

The Backbone of Your Digital Presence: Why Hosting Matters 

You can design a beautiful site that’s aesthetically pleasing, but… If your hosting is playing up, the user experience isn’t going to be great. And no amount of prettiness can salvage things when a visitor gets annoyed and leaves. 

Poor web hosting can lead to slow load times (a big bounce-contributor), more downtime than you should have, and even let cyber thieves in. All things you really don’t want… So finding a good web host is much more important than you might initially think. 

Understanding Your Options 

Knowing your web hosting options is a good place to start. Here are the types of web hosting you’ll have to choose from. 

Shared Hosting 

With this kind of hosting, your website will share a server with a bunch of others. This is convenient and usually pretty affordable. But if another site living on the server gets extra traffic, it takes resources away from yours, so it’s a constant resource-fight. Good for personal sites that aren’t resource-heavy. 

Virtual Private Server (VPS) 

Here, a single server is split into sections, each with a certain number of resources. You won’t be fighting for them, but typically there’s not a heck of a lot to go around. It’s a happy medium at a decent price, and a more stable choice for less resource-heavy websites. 

Dedicated Hosting

Here, your website will enjoy its own server, with abundant resources just for you. It’s a more pricey option, but you won’t have to share with anyone else. It’s a good way to go for websites that use a lot of resources and need to load fast. 

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is the latest trend, and while it’s expensive, it’s well worth it. You pay only for what you use, so there’s no wasted pennies. It’s impressively stable, extremely reliable, and super-protected against cyber nasties, so if you have the means, this should be your go-to. 

WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting is tailored very specifically to WordPress websites. It comes in all 3 above varieties, but if you’re a WordPress user, you might want to consider choosing something WordPress-specific. 

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Hosting Provider 

Decided which one seems right for you? Here’s what to deep-dive into to find the right web hosting provider for your business. 

Uptime Guarantee 

The latest industry standards for uptime is an astounding 99.999% uptime. That’s 5 nines, and equals less than 6 minutes of downtime every year. But many hosting providers are still offering less than this. Double-check this before signing up, and don’t accept anything less than 99.99%. 

Speed and Performance 

Web hosts make use of multiple features to help speed up your website page loading time. It’s worth checking up what features they offer to keep your site speedy, because slow loading times can quickly chase off visitors. 

Security Measures 

Every host offers security features, like malware scanning, built-in firewalls, SSL certificates, and a whole lot more. Double-check what your host offers so you can rest assured your site will be safe. 

Backup Solutions 

Nobody wants to think about being hacked or their website crashing, but it happens. Your host needs to be backing your site up very regularly, so that if the unthinkable happens, it’s easy and quick to get it up and running again. 

Scalability

Can the web host grow with your website as you get more traffic? Opt for hosts with upgrade options or add-ons to help keep your website covered as business booms. 

Customer Support 

A good web host offers 24/7 support for their customers. They may not offer phone support at all times, but they should be contactable by phone, email, or chat at all times, so you’re covered whenever you need help. 

Eco-Friendly Hosting 

If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll be interested to know that some hosts have made an effort to become “green”. An eco-friendly web host will take steps like using renewable energy sources (wind, hydro, solar) to run their data centers, offsetting their carbon footprint by planting trees or other actions, and opting for energy-saving appliances. 

Many well-known web hosting providers are leaning towards being eco-friendly, like Siteground, A2 Hosting, Ionos, and GoDaddy, amongst others. To find out if the host you’re looking at is eco-friendly, check their site for “green hosting certificates”, which will certify them as being environmentally friendly. 

Compare Hosting Plans 

It’s in your best interest to compare multiple web hosts before you make your final decision. Don’t just pick the first one you find with decent prices—you need to make sure the host will be able to offer you exactly what your website needs to thrive. 

It’s a good idea to assess your website’s needs first and then match hosts to those needs. From there, carefully compare web hosting companies and their features, packages, and options. 

There’s much more to this comparison than simply pricing—compare contract terms, bandwidth and storage offerings, extra features like email, and any other additional features that can be added on later. 

Conclusion 

Your web hosting can be your site’s best bud or it can drag it down and ruin anything good that you may have created. Choose wisely… Nobody wants a perfectly good website to go down in flames because it was built upon the wrong web host. 

Do your research, take a little bit of time, and you’ll find the right hosting provider for your website. And if anything changes, it’s not the end of the world—you can change it later, but it’ll cost you valuable time and potentially sales. Get it right from the start with these tips! 

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 at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting. 

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