Are you trying to decide which one is the best web hosting provider?
If the answer is yes, keep reading to find out what you will need from your hosting provider to consider it the best.
It can be a very tedious job to find out the best web hosting provider because there are so many of them.
Apart from that, you will need to learn a lot of jargons that apply to this web hosting world.
Once you learn that, you will need to come up with a checklist that must be met by any hosting provider to consider it as the best hosting provider.
After that part is finished you will have to go through a lot of web hosting providers and choose the right one that best suits you.
And if you choose the wrong one, you will have to suffer because your expectations won’t be met.
So, you will have to repeat the process again in search of a better one.
Well, I know these because I have gone through the same process while choosing my first web hosting service.
Today I will share with you all my learnings from all those hassles so that you don’t need to go through these phases.
So, you will know everything you need to know about web hosting as soon as you finish reading this blog.
Here are the checklists and why they are important:
1. SSL Certificate:
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a networking protocol that encrypts data between a website and a browser.
You can know when a site has SSL, by looking at the website URL.
If it starts with “https” then the site is secured with SSL certificate but if it starts with “http”, it isn’t secured with SSL certificate.
If a website isn’t secured with SSL certificate, web browsers will give a warning saying the site is risky.
So, to view the website you need to proceed by clicking on something that says I understand the risk.
Because web browsers make it look risky to visit a site without SSL, it becomes easy to lose visitors who have already tried to visit your site.
So, on my list, this comes first.
Most of the web hosting providers provide free SSL certificate.
But if a web hosting provider doesn’t include that in their package, start looking for another hosting provider.
Remember that some hosting provider may only provide SSL for the first year only where others may provide it for as long as you use their service.
One way or another you will realize that speed is something very important for your website.
Your website can be very optimized for faster website loading experience but if your hosting server doesn’t have a fast response time, your website loading time won’t be satisfactory.
So, why is website speed so important?
57 percent of all your visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. And the percentage increases as the load time increases.*
So, it is always better to reduce website loading time to retain your audience.
Search engines also punish your site by lowering search ranking for not having fast load speed.
You will be astonished to know that the average website load time is 15.3 seconds on mobile devices.
3. Customer Support:
Some might not think customer support as very important because they think there won’t be any problem with the hosting.
But in reality, you will at least face a few problems when customer support can be the only solution.
If you prefer to have someone hold your back at the time of crisis, good customer support is something you must have.
Website uptime is a very crucial element because it tells about the time your website is accessible on the internet.
If your site goes through a lot of downtimes or has an uptime of less than 99.95%, you may lose potential visitors.
A month with 99.95% uptime still means that your site was offline for more than 30 minutes in that month.
5. PCI Compliance:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a series of rules and standards that are set by major card brands like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover to ensure the security of online transactions.
These rules must be met by merchants to be able to accept online payments from these brands.
So, if your website is an e-commerce store or accepts online payments, PCI compliance is a must.
Different hosting providers offer different plans for their hosting services and not all plan comes with PCI compliance.
So, make sure to choose the one that has PCI compliance as long as you plan to accept online payments.
Also, remember some hosting providers don’t provide PCI compliance at all.
So, be sure to check for it if your website accepts online payments.
6. Number of Domains:
If you need to host only one domain or website, any web hosting provider will be enough.
But if you are planning to have more than one domain, you should consider having a hosting plan that provides you with the option to add multiple domains as per your need.
The cheapest hosting plan from most hosting providers generally supports having only one domain.
But the more expensive plans can support up to an unlimited number of addon domains.
So make sure to choose a plan that lets you add all the domains you want to use.
Remember: if you use a subdomain (i.g. blog.example.com is a subdomain of the example.com root domain) it may also be considered as a separate domain by many hosting providers.
No matter how many time you backup your site manually, there might be a time when something went wrong with your website and you need to go back to a previous version.
But then you realize that you didn’t keep a backup and you will need to start over.
To avoid scenarios like that, choose a hosting provider that offers automatic backup.
Automatic backups can save you a lot of time and make your life a lot relaxing.
Before going into a Virtual Private Server (VPS) we need to know about shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
Web hosting is generally referred to as shared hosting.
In a shared hosting plan, the hosting provider sells the same physical resources like the RAM, server storage and CPU to multiple clients where no client has control over the resources they are allocated.
Alternatively, in a dedicated server, totally separated physical resources are sold to separate clients.
So, in dedicated hosting, the clients usually have all the control over the resources without having access to the physical hardware.
A VPS hosting is kind of the middle ground where a specific part of physical resources are allocated to the client and the client has all the controls over those allocated parts of resources.
One of the main features of a VPS hosting is that it usually comes with a dedicated IP.
A dedicated IP means that all of your resources are stored in a separate IP address that isn’t shared with anyone else.
Why should you care about getting a dedicated IP?
In the case of shared hosting, a lot of users are allocated to the same resources and the same IP address.
Because so many users are using the same resources, one user’s activities can have a significant impact on the other users on the same resources.
For example, if someone’s website is having a lot of traffic, the server will go under load and the server response time will increase.
So, if you are one of the users on the same server, your website will take longer to load because of the overuse by someone else.
This will eventually hamper your visitors’ experience and harm your business.
Also, if someone on the same resources is using their website for spamming or for other unethical activities, Google may find that out and punish by not showing any websites on the same IP address on search results.
So, you will also suffer from the activities of someone else if you are on a shared hosting plan.
Now you can understand that this one isn’t a must in the checklist but your hosting provider should provide the option to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server when you need it.
You may start small but when you grow big, what happens?
You need to be prepared by choosing a hosting provider that doesn’t limit your growth by their limited scalability options.
There should always be some options to upgrade the resources you are allowed to use.
The scalability of resources generally means to have the option to add more storage, RAM, bandwidth, processing power, number of files, etc.
Sometimes, you can see an immediate spike in your website traffic and if your hosting plan isn’t ready for it, your website may slow down or even go through downtime.
So, choose a site that doesn’t let you down at your most precious time.
Some hosting provider can even ban your account for having an overload on their resources.
10. Account Limitations:
Even if you buy the most expensive plan form a hosting provider, you will have some limitations to deal with.
So, don’t take the word “unlimited” as an absolute thing when it comes to web hosting.
Hosting packages are separated by the limitations that they come with.
Be sure to check for the limitations before buying a plan.
Here are some of the things you should check for limitations before buying a hosting service.
- Inode Limitation (limitation in the total number of files)
Remember, though some web hosting providers use the word unlimited hosting, they will have their terms of services providing limitations on a lot of things.
For example, they may say that you can’t use more than 25 percent of the CPU or can’t store more than 100,000 files in a hosting plan though they market their hosting plan as unlimited.
Control Panel is commonly known as Cpanel when it comes to web hosting.
Cpanel is the standard of web hosting control panels that lets you control everything on your hosting account.
You can manage your files, add or remove domains, install applications, and do a lot more if you have access to the Cpanel.
Because Cpanel is widely used and so popular, you will get lots of tutorials on how to use it.
Also, most of the hosting providers use Cpanel so you will even find it easier to switch to a new hosting provider if you have previous experience with it.
So, if you want to manage everything on your hosting plan by yourself and don’t want to have limitations on control, consider choosing a hosting provider that comes with Cpanel.
Well, your chosen website hosting provider excels at everything listed above.
But maybe they have come to the market very recently and you don’t know if they will hold their promises for long enough.
That’s why I suggest you going with a hosting provider that has already proved itself in the market.
Cost is a deal-breaker for most of the people but you should really have a balance between what you need and what you pay.
Most of the web hosting providers will give you a huge discount for the first term that is generally between a month to three years.
But when the first term ends you will be charged with the full price.
When choosing a hosting plan, you will typically see two prices one with bigger and bold fonts and the other one with small fonts and strikethrough texts below the bold one.
The price with the bigger font is for the first term but the price may also vary based on the time period you are buying.
The price with the small font is the price that you will be charged after the first term ends.
Also, remember to check whether the price stated is for a month or a year.
Web hosting is a must if you want to have a website.
But choosing the right one is always the most crucial one.
To make your web hosting experience hassle-free, make sure to through the above checklist before you buy a hosting plan.
Then look at the hosting providers and match against the checklist.
Once you have done that it is time to choose the right one.
Don’t forget that there are a lot of options out there and you will get the right one for you if you look enough.
Which option do you think is most important? Let me know in the comments and I will reply to you.