When it comes to websites, one of the most important choices you can make is regarding a web hosting plan. In fact, a web hosting plan is the backbone of your website, no matter what business you have.
Not only does it affect your website’s performance, but it also impacts your business’s success. And because there are so many web hosting options out there, picking the right one might seem overwhelming at first.
However, the key to selecting the right web hosting plan is understanding your website and business requirements. For instance, picking a cheaper hosting plan can slow down your website, depending on the amount of traffic it gets. And since every business must have an online presence nowadays, you have to make sure that the web hosting plan fits your needs perfectly.
Web Hosting Types
First of all, before you make a choice, you will need to understand the basic types of web hosting. And while they might seem quite similar at first, each has its pros and cons.
Shared hosting is a service where a number of websites reside on one web server connected to the internet. That works by splitting the server into thousands of smaller accounts, each sharing the server’s bandwidth and storage.
Generally speaking, shared hosting is the budget option, as the entry cost is much lower compared to other types of hosting. But as a result, there are some security concerns, such as DDoS attacks, which make the sharing of server resources a potential risk factor. You should consider shared hosting for:
- Static websites
- Startup or local businesses
- Low traffic websites
- Smaller budgets
VPS hosting uses virtualization to replicate a dedicated environment within a shared server. It works by creating multiple virtual instances, each with its own resources and limitations. But overall, all VPS instances are granted a portion of the parent server’s hardware, similar to shared hosting.
However, compared to shared hosting, VPS offers better performance and more freedom. It also allows for deeper customization and control over your server and website. As a result, VPS hosting is perfect for:
- High traffic websites
- E-commerce websites
- Medium to big-budget businesses
Dedicated hosting permits you to rent an entire server, giving you access to all its resources. And since dedicated servers are isolated from one another, users get full access to configure their server any way they want. As such, dedicated hosting provides the highest level of resource allocation, privacy, and control.
It’s important to note that dedicated servers are more suited for big corporations that require high uptimes and good speeds. That’s because dedicated servers are much more costly than any other similar hosting plan. But overall, dedicated hosting works best for:
- High budget businesses
- E-commerce websites
- High traffic websites
- Group of websites
How Can I Choose the Right Web Hosting Plan?
As previously mentioned, choosing the right web hosting plan boils down to knowledge. Because of that, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions before proceeding with any web hosting out there.
1. How Much Am I Willing To Invest In Web Hosting?
The first thing you must do is to determine a budget for web hosting. If you’re on a limited and strict budget, you can go for a cheaper option such as shared hosting. But if you can invest more, then you should consider VPS or even dedicated hosting.
However, while the upfront cost can seem affordable at first, you will need to think about renewal prices too. For example, a hosting company may allow you to sign up for as little as $5 but then ask for ten times that amount when renewing their service. And since switching web hosts can be hard, you will have no choice but to cave in to their demands.
2. How Much Traffic Am I Expecting?
The more web traffic your site receives, the more bandwidth it will require to keep running smoothly. As a result, you need to estimate the number of monthly visitors before you decide on a web hosting service. But predicting the right amount of traffic is hard, if not impossible.
On the one hand, you can choose a high bandwidth plan, paying for more than you could ever use. On the other hand, restricted bandwidth will result in a bad user experience if your website gets too popular. The best solution is to choose a web hosting plan that can scale on demand.
Our advice is to go for a VPS plan since it’s only a bit more expensive than shared hosting. Also, it offers more bandwidth and the option of increasing it depending on the growth of your website.
3. What Type Of Content Do I Plan To Use?
Any server has a limited number of resources, including bandwidth and, more importantly, space. As such, you should think about what type of content you plan to upload on the server. For instance, video content requires much more space and bandwidth than image or text content.
Additionally, some web hosting providers can up the costs once you go over a threshold. In fact, hosting providers that supposedly offer unlimited space will either make you pay more or close your website altogether once you use too many resources. That’s because you are actually sharing the disk space with other users, meaning that the more space you need, the less the others will have.
As a result, you should always read the terms of service before you try any type of hosting, especially unlimited ones.
4. Where Are The Web Hosting Servers Located?
Nowadays, privacy is not only an option, it’s a must — especially if your website handles sensitive information. And when it comes to data privacy and security, server location is extremely important.
Not only do you want your server to be in a secure location, but you want it to provide additional layers of defense in case of cyberattacks. And while most hosting servers should be secure, some offer better protection and security features.
Additionally, some countries block access to specific types of content. In other words, if the server is located in a country where your content is forbidden, the website will be taken down. As a result, you will want to carefully choose the location of your server depending on what type of content you want to upload.
If you want to avoid all that trouble, your best bet is to go for offshore hosting. That’s because it offers total data privacy, anonymity, and most importantly, a flexible content policy.
5. What Are The Server Uptime Records?
It doesn’t really matter what kind of website you own — uptime is important. Needless to say, you want a reliable host that can guarantee almost 100% uptime. However, some hosts define uptime differently, so you should look up the company’s policy before signing up.
And since downtime is almost inevitable, you must know how the hosting provider handles it. You need to understand that downtime is as much a technical issue as a PR issue. How a company responds to a downtime crisis says a lot about its commitment to customer satisfaction.
Our advice is to look for reviews that indicate the reliability and history of the web hosting service. For instance, European hosting providers are well-known for their high uptime. That is due to modern infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, which often surpasses that of the US.
6. Which Level Of Customization Do I Need?
Depending on what kind of website you want, customization is a key factor in deciding on a web hosting plan. If you plan to use custom apps or specialized software, you will need a comprehensive plan that gives you complete control. And as we previously brushed on, each type of hosting solution allows for different levels of customization.
Shared hosting is restrictive since any change is applied to all the websites operating on that server. However, VPS hosting allows users to customize their environment without disrupting others. And if you want full customization, you should always go for dedicated hosting, since it provides you with full control over the server.
7. Will I Be Collecting Sensitive Information?
If you are handling customer data, encryption and backups should be your highest priority. And while every hosting company provides a certain level of security, some are better at withstanding cyber-attacks than others.
Shared hosting comes short when talking about security since multiple websites share a single server. So one flaw can cripple all websites hosted on that particular server, leaving you vulnerable to potential attacks. That can be devastating if you are saving customer information such as passwords or credit card details.
On the opposite spectrum, dedicated servers offer the highest level of security. As a result, all of the resources go into protecting your website and your customer’s data. That’s exactly why most e-commerce websites go for dedicated servers instead of other cheaper options.
The Bottom Line
All in all, choosing the perfect web hosting plan depends entirely on your goal and budget. However, it’s important to understand that the success of your website is tied to your web host. As an example, web hosting can affect the SEO ranking of your website, reducing or increasing its popularity. Besides that, web hosting reliability can mean the difference between a simple visitor and a new customer.
Overall, we recommend that you pay close attention to all the features we previously discussed when picking a host. You should also research different companies and hosting plans before committing to any of them. But you won’t have anything to worry about as long as you follow our tips and pay attention to online reviews and feedback.