If you search online for “web hosting services,” you’ll get page upon page of results.
Some of the top results are reviews of “the best” hosting services. Although reviews are by nature subjective, make note of whether the publisher earns commission if you buy through their site, which is the case with U.S. News 360 Reviews, PCMag and others.
You’ll also see companies with tempting deals such as “four months free” or “$1.99 a month.” There are even “completely free” options.
The whole process of comparing and selecting a web hosting service can be overwhelming — especially if your tech expertise is closer to “novice” than “expert.”
To help simplify the process of choosing a web host, here are the basics of hosting and things to consider when selecting a host for your website.
Brush Up On Web Hosting Basics
Your website is your brand’s digital home. A web host is the storage space for the files that make up your website, along with the software, physical hardware and network infrastructure that makes your website available to others on the internet.
The type of hosting that will work best for you will depend largely on the size of your website. While budget will certainly come into play, it’s not worth it to compromise your site’s speed, security and reliability to save a few dollars. The “free” hosting offers may be tempting but aren’t usually a good option unless you’re a blogger or have an extremely small site.
As you explore hosting services, you’ll see four types of hosts. Here’s a quick overview of what they are and what they offer.
As the name implies, with shared hosting, your website shares a server with other websites. This is typically the lowest-priced option and can work well for blogs and small websites.
- Security features may be limited, increasing the chance of site hacks
- The speed of your site is impacted by other sites on the server, as well as the RAM and bandwidth of the server itself. That means slowdowns and freezes are possible.
You’ll find some recognizable names among cloud hosting services – Google Cloud, Amazon and GoDaddy, to name a few. Cloud hosting is a larger-scale shared hosting option. Your website shares a virtual server with other sites.
Scalability is the biggest advantage of cloud hosting. You’re less likely to experience noticeable slowdowns in site speed during periods that require increased bandwidth.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting offers your site its own server space. It’s like having a private office instead of a cubicle. VPS hosting typically offers greater security, scalability and more reliable speed and load times.
The drawback when compared to shared hosting: cost.
With dedicated hosting, your site is housed on its own server. It’s a pricey option, but worth it for extremely large sites since it offers speed, storage, scalability and control. You’ll need a tech-savvy staffer to manage it, though.
- What kind of security is offered? Is an SSL certificate for your site included in the hosting package?
- How frequently are backups performed
- How fast is the page load speed? (This is one of Google’s core web vitals that contribute to user experience and impacts your ranking in search.)
Do a Background Check
Choosing a web host is a pretty big deal. After all, the host is caring for your most valuable digital asset and is responsible for making sure your customers can access it.
Things to consider:
Service – What kind of service is included with the hosting package? Live chat? Telephone support? Are tech support reps in-house or outsourced? What is their response time? How do they prioritize service issues?
Reputation – As with anything you buy, take time to search online and identify issues customers have encountered, especially recurring ones. Read customer reviews. Ask the company for references.
It may take time and research to find the best fit for your website, but the process is worthwhile to ensure the host will deliver the speed, security, stability, scalability and service you need.
Contact us if you have questions about website hosting – or would like to learn about the hosting services at Fresh Creative. We’re here to help.