All successful websites use a reliable, constant, and unwavering hosting company and plan. Even if there is no shortage of hosting companies out there, sometimes is difficult to find the right one for you. Just keep in mind that a little bit of research goes a long way. The most important questions you need to ask before making a decision are: What does your website need? What are your hosting choices? What to look for in a hosting plan?
In this article we will try to answer these questions and a few more from the perspective of a beginner. In order to find a great hosting provider you will need to understand how it works and what do you need it for.
What is web hosting and why you need it?
All public websites need to be hosted on a web server in order to be reached by people worldwide. A web hosting provider is a company that offers people space on their web servers so they can be able to post and make a website available to the public on the Internet in exchange for money. This is the most common choice and solution for hosting websites, except for very large companies that need and have their own servers, like Google and Amazon just to mention a couple.
What does your website need?
This is a very important question before you start searching for web hosting companies and plans. You need to know from the start what you need so it’s easier to narrow it down.
Start by analyzing your traffic. How many visitors currently access your website on a daily basis? Do you expect it to grow heavier in the near future? If yes, by how much? Once you have an answer for this, ponder on how much support you will need. Do you want developer support or not? Your last question should focus on your budget. How much are you willing to spend if a hosting plan checks all your requirements? These questions will help you look for specific features and prevent you from getting lost in all the available options. You could also use a hosting ranking system, like HRank, to show you exactly which option is the best one for you and what you can get for your money’s worth.
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What to look for in a hosting plan?
The few most important features to look for in a hosting plan are speed and performance, support, security and recovery.
Speed and performance
A web host not only stores your website and makes it available to the public, but it also improves how your website performs overall. A great web host will make your website faster and more responsive giving you a boost. A quick loading website also does better SEO (Search Engine Optimization) wisely and is ranked higher. The more expensive hosting plans tend to have a better speed and handle heavier traffic – this is why it’s important to know from the start how much you are willing to invest in a hosting plan.
This is totally up to you. If you are a beginner I would recommend finding a hosting plan that offers support beyond just the basic hosting questions. Many hosting companies offer plans that contain a higher degree of support which includes WordPress installation, plugin updates, theme updates, back-ups, and more.
Security and recovery
Nobody wants to get hacked, but it happens more than often, so it’s best to be prepared. Despite keeping everything up to date, and taking extra care, some websites still get hacked through various security holes. Hosting plans offer security packs that will give you an extra layer of protection against ill-intended software. Recovery and back-up options are also to be taken into consideration because you need your data to be recoverable in case of a glitch, bug, or hack.
What are your hosting choices?
Shared hosting basically means to share a web server with multiple websites. All the resources are shared between those websites which may lead to a slower performance, dependent entirely on how the other websites are using the resources. This is a popular choice because it’s by far the most inexpensive option and it requires minimal maintenance. Shared hosting is a great place to start and the recommended option when you are unsure about your traffic and you have no previous experience.
VPS or Virtual Private Server Hosting
VPS hosting is a step above shared hosting. Your website is still hosted on a shared web server, but you are given a certain space based on your needs. You are also given access to it and responsible for your own maintenance. VPS hosting is a tad costlier than shared hosting, but look at it this way – you pay for the resources you need. Once you get going and learn more about your traffic you can upgrade to a VPS hosting from a shared hosting.
Cloud hosting is often mixed up with VPS hosting because they are fairly similar. Just as with VPS, you are given a certain space to use, but instead of having it on a web server you have it on multiple ones. This not only improves the performance, but also the reliability.
This is a higher priced option, and also harder to manage, because it’s all up to you. Dedicated hosting is, as the name suggests, having an exclusive server dedicated to you and your needs. This is not the best choice for beginners, as it requires previous knowledge in order to maintain it properly.
Managed hosting is almost the same as dedicated hosting, but with a few more perks. You are no longer responsible for your own maintenance, your host is. This is a pricier option because of the extra support and features.
If you are looking for a hosting plan make sure you do all your research before-hand. It’s always better to be prepared. Hopefully this article helped you get introduced to hosting, how it works, and what to choose. If you believe I missed something, please let me know in the comments below!