Choosing the right web host for your website is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you select the wrong host and end up tied into a contract for a long period with a website that isn’t able to perform how you would like it to, you are going to kick yourself. You will be especially frustrated if you have spent huge amounts of your time building up your traffic through well-planned marketing campaigns and have developed lots of compelling content.
So picking the right web host the first time round is going to save you lots of time in the long run. But if you are not experienced in this area then where do you start?
- Draw up an online marketing plan
Before you do anything, you need to have an idea of what your hosting needs will be for now and for in the future. Thinking six months down the line is good but thinking even further in advance is better. So will you be starting with a basic blog with mostly static content? Or will you be publishing regular blogs and uploading new video content on a frequent basis? Will you be spending money on email campaigns that will be driving traffic to your website?
Have an online marketing plan for your first few years of website development. Even if you have to update it along the way, having an idea of your longer term requirements will help you to decide what you need from your web host, rather than going for the cheapest offer at the time.
- Read reviews
A great way to make a decision on any product or service is to read web hosting reviews from previous customers or experts. People use reviews to make all kinds of purchase decisions, whether it is a hotel or restaurant rating on TripAdvisor or a review published by a recognised expert in the relevant industry. For web hosting reviews, always try to find an impartial source i.e. one that doesn’t get anything out of promoting a particular host. Look to technology websites for unbiased reviews and advice on which ones to choose. Experts will provide free advice on which hosts work best with WordPress, which have the best storage options, which are the best for startup businesses etc.
- Understand the different types of hosting packages
There are a number of different types of hosting options out there for you to choose from. There is free hosting, shared hosting, VPS, dedicated, managed and more. Understanding the difference between each one is really important before you make your decision. Free hosting might be ideal for you if you have to keep your costs down but what about the drawbacks like limited storage? Shared hosting will give you better performance and storage but dedicated is the next level again but costs more, so which one do you need?
- Do you need support?
Often an afterthought, customer support is a critical aspect of web hosting. If you are a complete novice to getting a website set up then you will probably want a host that will provide great support and will be available 24/7 in case you have a crisis. There is nothing worse than having a technical issue and having nowhere to turn to for help. You can spend hours trying to decipher complicated online guides or even resort in paying a web developer to help you out, which will cost a lot more than if you had paid a little bit more as a monthly hosting fee.