Choosing a hosting provider from dozens of well reviewed ones is quite the tedious task.
A lot of hosting companies offer a plethora of packages or plans, ranging from basic domain and website hosting, to plans that offer additional security features, dedicated hosting, support and integrations to other web tools or services. Prices vary amongst these providers, especially for packages that offer similar features, so choosing the correct one that suits your needs may be tricky.
Two words, REALIBILITY and SUPPORT.
A good hosting provider should be reliable (must not have frequent maintenance or downtimes) and fast when responding to support inquiries.
A shared hosting plan may be cheap and most hosting providers offer tons of tools like a control panel, backup capabilities and security features, but just as the name implies, your website is sharing the same server and resources with hundreds or even thousands of other websites. During peak hours, you may find that navigating your website is slow or the control panel page is unresponsive. If you’re concern with your shared hosting plan affecting performance, then it is in your best interest to opt for a dedicated hosting plan.
The reliability of your website being fast and accessible shouldn’t be neglected, and picking the correct plan that balances your needs from your expenses should be handled with utmost consideration.
To add, often times you may come across problems with your website, server or both, having a fast support turnaround time helps a lot. One way to check if whether your hosting provider’s support is top notch is to look around their support forums or around social media and message boards like reddit or relevant Facebook groups.
Popular hosting providers have been known to be plagued with complaints and unsatisfactory reviews for their alleged slow support. It’s up to your discretion and research whether you believe them or not, they may help you discern which hosting provider to choose.
Decide how much hand-holding you’ll need. Basic customer service provides access to email, ticket and phone support. Turnaround time on requests, however, will vary. Some service providers even offer 24-hour phone support. The limiting factor to non-managed service is that while a vendor may answer questions about basic configuration, it won’t be your systems manager.
Lastly, be wary about the limitations of your hosting plan.
These are the limitations that you should wary about:
- Storage Limit – Hard limit on the amount of data you can store on your server. Different providers have different policies regarding the files/data that can be stored on the servers, they may suspend your plan or even your account if you’re caught storing data that goes against them.
- CPU Resource Usage – CPU usage is the amount of tasks and processes that are running on a server at any given time.
- Processes Limit – Processes are a series of actions or functions occurring on a server at any one time.
- Inodes Limit – An inode stores basic information about a regular file, directory or other file system object. The number of inodes indicates the number of files and folders you have.
- Bandwidth Limit – Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred to and from your account in one month. Every time someone downloads a 10 kB file from your website, they use 10 kB of bandwidth from your account. Also, every time someone visits your site, they are downloading the home page and use that much bandwidth. Estimate the amount of traffic you expect. Hosting providers generally charge based on storage and bandwidth usage. Bandwidth is a measure of how many bytes you serve over a given period. If you expect only a few folks to visit your site, bandwidth will be low. But if you’re suddenly featured at the top of Google or your product goes viral you can expect bandwidth requirements to surge.
- Backup Limit – The specific backup policy depends on what type of account/plan you have. Choose a portable content management system to avoid lock-in. Most hosts are pretty good, but times change. Management changes, acquisitions and technology shifts can alter your web hosting plans. Make sure your site isn’t locked to any one host — and that you have a backup practice in place.