Choosing your web hosting can be one of the most important decisions you make for your website or your blog. A poor host can have a serious impact on your site, with slow loading and performance, the frustration of dealing with poor customer service, and it can have an adverse effect on your performance in the search engine rankings.
There are many things to consider when considering a new web host, including:
Is the potential host responsive when you ask questions? Does the support team have the level of technical knowledge you need? If you’re stuck with setting something up, will they be able to talk you through it, or even do it for you?
Check when the support is available and what format is offered. Your host really should offer 24/7 support, via email, telephone and online chat. Problems can occur at any time, and your host should be ready to deal with them, no matter what time of day or night it is.
Why not test each potential host’s support before you buy and see how they do?
Google is increasingly looking at site speed and loading times to rank websites in the SERPS, so your host must offer features to ensure your site loads as quickly as possible, such as caching and CDN.
Anything can, and often does, go wrong with websites and your host should be providing daily backups of both the site and the database. Look for a host that offers this and a quick and easy way to restore your site should anything happen.
Don’t even consider a host where the uptime is listed as less than 99%. You can’t afford for your website to be unavailable for long periods of time. 99.5% or above is recommended for uptime.
Your site and your business may grow in ways you don’t expect in the future, and your web host should be able to grow with you. Is there a limit on how many sub domains you can have or on space or bandwidth? Does your host offer dedicated servers should you need one?
Don’t just think about where you are now, think about where you want to be and what features you might need to make that happen.
WordPress is an incredibly versatile platform, powering around a fifth of the world’s websites. It has been around since 2003 and is open-source, easy to install and has a massive array of plug-ins and both paid and free themes available to customise it however you please. If you have a WordPress site, however, you might also want to consider using managed WordPress hosting, rather than standard hosting.
This gives you the extra security of having technical experts who can help you if you don’t know how to do something, or if something goes wrong. Although it can be more expensive than standard hosting, it is well worth it, compared to paying for extra technical help in a crisis. Even so, cheap WordPress hosting can be found, so do shop around.
There are many more things to consider when buying cheap web hosting, including security, SSL encryption if you’re running an e-commerce site, control panel ease of use, and any specialist software you might need like PHP or Ruby on Rails.
Your best bet is to make a list of exactly what you need, before you start searching, depending on your knowledge, your ability to handle the technical side of your website, and even whether you actually want to. You might be a technical guru of the highest order, but you’ve got to consider whether your time is better spent on working on your business and paying someone else to do the set up.
Take your time and look at independent third party reviews and testimonials. This way you’ll be sure to find the perfect host.