Alright. Here’s a bit more of the down and dirty of your website: web hosting. It’s important. Imperative, really. But it doesn’t get talked about much. Well, today we’re going to take the leap with you and *cracks knuckles* dig into what you should be looking for in a hosting provider.
But what is a web host?
A web hosting provider is where your website’s files will be stored. When someone heads to your website, they’ll access those files from the host. As you can imagine, this is pretty important. Reliability is key. Uptime is essential. Details and options abound. And, of course, price varies. Let’s see what those look like.
How much server power do you need?
With web hosting, you’re utilizing the host’s server. Depending upon the package you choose and the needs of your website, you might have a shared server (where multiple websites sit on the same server which means if one site has a surge in traffic, it could affect the other sites on the server) or you might have VPS hosting (similar to a shared server, but another site’s traffic won’t affect your performance) or high level dedicated hosting (you get your server, clean and simple, but you’re also expected to deal with much of the backend technicalities of the server processes). Another popular option is a WordPress hosting package (where you build on what WordPress has provided and really don’t need to touch the backend stuff).
As you can imagine, with greater autonomy on the server comes greater cost for the hosted site (yourself). Decide with your developer how much server robustness you’re going to need. If it makes sense (and it usually does), start small and upgrade as needed.
What’s customer service and uptime look like?
We cannot stress this enough: if your site is down, you can’t be found. And your competitor likely can. So pick a web hosting service that rates highly for reliability and uptimes. There are companies out there like this one that monitors features like uptime, so check them out before diving in.
And when your site is down, make sure there’s a real human being on the other end of the line that’s knowledgeable, professional, and can make things happen when you need them to (24/7 availability is golden). Nothing’s more frustrating than trying to get a site issue resolved and having to work through a hundred and one prompts before actually getting anywhere.
What kind of features do you need?
Working in WordPress?
-Make sure your host is friendly to those plans. Some providers have special managed WordPress plans that make your hosting experience as seamless as it can possibly be.
Need an SSL certificate?
-Top-notch providers are offering free certificates. That’s a pretty neat feature.
Are regular backups important?
-Feature-rich hosts will back your site up regularly for you. This is an awesome feature, particularly if you’re prone to forgetting to back your site up or making changes on the fly in your coding.
Have an existing site you want to migrate over?
-A few providers will do this for free (what?!) while some will do it at an extra cost to you. If you’ve ever attempted to migrate a website or two, this is incredibly valuable.
-If your site is primarily (or partially) e-commerce focused, make sure your hosting provider offers support for that.
What about email hosting?
-If you’re going to have a website, an email with a matching domain is the best course of action. See if your host offers it.
How secure do you like your security?
-Varying levels of encryption are offered depending upon the hosting provider. Make sure the one you choose is up to par with your requirements.
If you want to dig a bit more (and we recommend that you do!) into specific hosting providers and what they’re offering in 2018, check this out. It’s chock full of great information on a ton of available hosts.
In the meantime, happy website building!