Looking to set up a new website?
The first and most important step is choosing the best web hosting company.
Web hosting is your website’s foundation. A bad host can stop you from reaching your audience online, and even make you look bad and frustrate your audience with slow loading speeds and downtime.
The right web host will give you all the tools you need for your website to look great and be a success.
New to web hosting? No need to worry – you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best web host that fits your needs, and help you get started with some exclusive web hosting discounts.
Let’s get started!
Why Do You Need Web Hosting?
The first step in creating any website is to buy web hosting.
If you own a business, your customers are searching for you online. If you don’t have a website and your competitors do, guess where those potential customers are more likely to visit?
If you want to start your own blog, you do have the option to start with a free blogging service. But those services place a lot of restrictions on you, and you don’t really have ownership over your blog. If you’re planning to build a big audience and make money off your blog someday, you should start with your own website, built on your own web hosting account.
Buying web hosting is like renting storage space online. Your web hosting account is where your website lives on the internet. In other words, it’s where your website files and databases are located so that your visitors around the world can access the site.
Just like with renting, web hosting is often billed on a monthly basis. But usually you can get a better deal if you pay for a year or more in advance.
But there are hundreds of web hosting companies out there, and most of them offer many different types of hosting plans. Which is right for you?
Let’s take a look at the main types of web hosting plans available, so you can decide which one best fits your needs.
What Type of Hosting Should You Choose?
There are various different types of web hosting options available, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each, and who they’re best suited for.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting is the most popular choice for first-time website owners.
A shared host is like living in an apartment building. In an apartment, all residents are in the same location and must share the available resources with everyone. Similarly, websites in a shared hosting will have to share resources with other websites hosted on the same server.
Shared hosting usually includes the basic tools you need when you’re starting out, like web builders, one-click WordPress installation, and more.
Shared hosts are the most affordable hosting plans. Though they often boast “unlimited” resources, in reality there are still usage restrictions. If you get a large amount of traffic, shared hosting won’t be able to accommodate all your visitors without slowing down, or bringing down your website altogether.
Shared web hosting is typically the best solution for small businesses and starting bloggers.
Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is a popular software application for creating and managing websites. It’s used to run a third of all websites on the internet.
Due to the popularity of WordPress, most hosting providers offer specialized WordPress hosting plans.
The main difference between shared hosting and WordPress hosting is that WordPress hosting is optimized for running the WordPress software. With managed hosting, your hosting provider takes care of the technical details such as updating your website software and creating regular backups.
With WordPress hosting, not only can you experience faster loading time, but it also offers tools and features to make managing your website easy. You also get a higher level of security against WordPress specific cyber attacks.
Managed WordPress hosting costs more than standard shared web hosting. The price can range quite a bit depending on the features included, anywhere from $29/month to $99/month or more.
Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for established bloggers and businesses with a growing audience, who don’t want to deal with the technical side of hosting.
To continue the renting analogy, hosting your site on Virtual Private Servers (VPS) is a bit like living in a condo. You’re still sharing resources, but you get more control than with shared hosting accounts.
Virtual Private Servers are when one server runs multiple virtual servers. Each virtual server can be treated as a separate server with its own configuration. While not as powerful as a real physical server, it’s a step up from shared hosting.
Hosting on a VPS can be a great choice for websites that consumes considerably more resources than a shared hosting provider offers, but can’t justify having their own server.
With VPS, while portions of resources are dedicated to each account, the overall CPU time and memory are shared across all websites.
It is more expensive than shared hosting but it gives you considerably more power and flexibility.
VPS hosting is best for medium-sized businesses, high traffic blogs, and aspiring designers/developers.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Hosting on a dedicated server can be compared to living in an owned house. A dedicated server is a physical server that you can lease from a hosting provider. Using a dedicated server for your site gives you full control over the server.
It is a no-brainer that you don’t need a dedicated server if you’re just starting out. You can upgrade to a dedicated server if your website is receiving a significant amount of traffic. With a dedicated server, you’ll see no bandwidth issues, configuration limits, or shared IP addresses. However, you are completely responsible for maintaining your server.
Dedicated servers are best suited for extremely high-traffic websites that are looking for the ultimate in control, flexibility, and security.
How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Provider
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all hosting plan. You’ll need to choose the hosting plan that best fits your unique needs in order to get the best results.
When choosing a web host, here are the most important factors you need to consider:
- Speed: Page speed has a significant impact in providing better user experience to your visitors. It also plays a lead role in getting your website indexed and ranked in search engines. When choosing a web host, you’ll need to look for its average loading time to ensure that it doesn’t slow down your site.
- Downtime: It’s important to choose a web host that’s reliable so your website is always available to visitors. When choosing a host, you’ll need to consider the one that has minimum downtime.
- Security: Security is one of the biggest concerns you’ll need to look for when choosing a web host, since small business websites are a favorite target of hackers. Your host must have a secure system in place to keep your site safe.
- Features: You’ll need to carefully analyze the different features your hosting provider offers. Besides features, you’ll also need to review how easy it is to use the tools on the admin side.
- Support: Your hosting provider must offer excellent support. Typically, many hosting companies offer 24/7 support via email, chat and phone, but some offer more limited support.
- Pricing: Of course, you’ll also need to evaluate your needs and ask yourself if the hosting you’re about to purchase fits your budget and is worth the price.
But it’s hard to judge the quality of a web hosting company just by looking at their websites. They all boast great uptime and fast speeds. How do you know which ones live up to their promises?
In our hosting reviews, we didn’t just take their word for it. We actually set up a testing account with each hosting company to see how they measured up, so we could find the top 5 web hosting companies in the industry.