How to choose a web hosting service?
- Know your hosting needs.
- Investigate on host reliability and uptime guarantees.
- Study web host upgrading options.
- Check all hosting features (such as number of addon domains allowed) based on your needs.
- Check prices on both sign up and renewal.
- Check hosting control panel.
- Read hosting company’s ToS to find out more about account suspension and server usage policy.
- Other supporting features (ie. site backup, environmental friendliness, etc)
Knowing Your Hosting Needs
You can never get the right web host without knowing what you need. So before you go any further – put everything aside (including this guide you are reading) and think thoroughly on your own needs.
- What kind of website are you building?
- Do you want something common (a WordPress blog, for example)?
- Do you need Windows applications?
- Do you need a special version of software (ie. PHP)?
- Does your website need special software?
- How big (or small) can the web traffic volume go?
These are some of the basic questions you need to answer for yourself.
Have a quick picture of what you want to do with your website now. Figure what happens next for the next 12 months.
What to look for in a web host?
1. Server Reliability / Uptime Scores
Nothing is more important than having a 24×7 operating web host. You need a web host is operating on a powerful server and stable network connections. 99.5% and above is the recommended uptime score; anything below 99% is unacceptable.
2. Server Upgrading Options
Shared web hosts are pretty powerful these days. On rough guestimation, a shared hosting account should be sufficient to support a proper-optimized WordPress blog with 30,000 – 40,000 monthly unique visitors. You should be doing alright on a shared host if you manage to limit your concurrent database connections below 20 (this is why I said it’s always best to start with a shared hosting if you are new).
3. Multiple Addon Domains
Domain names are cheap – so cheap that it is hard to resist not owning more than one. Personally I own more than 50 domain names in my GoDaddy and NameCheap accounts. And I’m not alone. according to this Web Hosting Talk’s survey – 80% of the voters own more than 5 domains and more than 20% of the voters own more than 50!
To accommodate these extra domains, we need extra hosting space. And this is why it is important to have a web hosting account that allows adding multiple domains.
Generally speaking, most budget shared hosting companies allow at least 25 addon domains* in one account nowadays but you can never be sure. Some years ago I was careless and signed up on a web host that allows only one domain. And, I was holding more than 10 parked domains at that time. Do not repeat my mistake – be sure to check the domain capacity before you make a purchase.
4. Prices: Hosting Signup vs Renewal Cost
Hosting deals, shared hosting especially, are normally selling very cheap on signup prices but charge much higher on renewals. It is an industry norm.
Unless you are willing to hoop between two or three web hosts every two years, there is no way to avoid the pricey renewal costs.
In general, any shared hosting priced below $10/mo is acceptable but you might have a lower tolerance. So, to avoid any unpleasant surprise, you should check the TOS and make sure you are okay with the renewal prices before signup.
5. Refund Policy
- Should you choose to cancel your host within the trial period, does the company provide full money return?
- What is the hosting company’s refund policy after the trial session?
- Is there any cancellation charges?
These are some basic questions to ask before signing up.
It’s important to know your hosting provider handle customer refunds so that you don’t have to lose too much money when things go wrong.
6. Cron Jobs, Auto Script Installer, .htaccess, and SSI
I am always surprise that some web hosts out there still do not offer these basic hosting features nowadays. You need Cron for day-in-day-out operations, Auto Script Installer (like Fantastico, Simple Scripts, Quick Installer, Softaculous, Installatron, and so on) for easy web apps installations and updates, .htaccess access for security/page redirects/etc purposes, Server Side Include (SSI) for easier site maintenance (especially when you are building a static site), and FTP access for easy file transfer.
Unless you are signing up on a specialty web host like WP Engine and Pressidium, else these basic features are must-have. You SHOULD NOT settle with hosting providers that do not supply them.
7. e-Commerce Features
- Are you running an e-commerce website?
- Are you using any specific shopping cart software?
- Do you need to process business transactions on your website?
- Do you need special technical support (ie. PrestaShop guide, or so on)?
If yes, then it is important for you to pick a web host with sufficient e-commerce features support. SSL certification, dedicated IP, and one-click shopping cart software installation are some of the essential features/supports you will need.
8. An Easy-to-use Hosting Control Panel
A user-friendly and functional hosting control panel is very, very important.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a cPanel or a Plesk or a third party control panels (like what we have at GoDaddy) – we are okay as long as it is user-friendly and come with all the necessary functions. Without an adequate control panel, you will be left at the mercy of the hosting tech support staff – even if all you need is some basic server changes.
Buy Web Hosting at $10 yearly
- 5GB Space
- 5 Addon Domains
- 5 Email Accounts
- 5 MySQL Databases
- 5 FTP Accounts
- Full cPanel Controls
- 20GB Monthly Bandwidth