If you want to create a website, you have to have a web hosting service so it is accessible on the internet. This concept isn’t all that complicated on the surface, but as is the case with most things, it is made more complicated because you have so many choices!

With so many hosts to choose from that offer a variety of different services, you can find one that’s perfect for your needs, but only if you know exactly what your needs are and exactly what every host offers.

Whether you’re starting a blog or your new business is in the process of building a website, these are things you need to know before you choose a web hosting service.

Cost

It doesn’t matter what kind of product or service you are buying, you should always consider how much it costs. That’s especially the case with web hosting. Although you want to pay for quality service, you also don’t want to spend more than you should on a service that is essentially invisible.

There’s no harm in searching the internet for cheap web hosting. With just a little digging, you can find hosting services for just a few dollars. For example, Hostinger has plans that start at just $0.99 per month!

Just make sure you weigh the services that are available against how much they cost. The cheapest plans have restrictions that may make it difficult for you to scale up in the future. In addition, some cheap plans require long-term commitments or they require hefty payment upfront, both of which may be things you want to avoid.

Hosting Types

Not all web hosting is created equal. There are actually many different types of web hosting services.

One of the most important things to consider is whether or not you want shared hosting or private hosting. Shared hosting is a great option for small, beginning websites, as sites are stored on a server with other sites, which means they use the same resources. Costs are relatively low, but surges in the use of other websites can cause your site to slow down.

A virtual private server costs a little bit more, but it gives your website a dedicated server, providing you with more customization and storage space options.

That’s not all! There are even more hosting types that include:

  • Dedicated server hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Managed hosting
  • Colocation

Bandwidth Versus Data Transfer

A lot of people like to talk about bandwidth, but it probably isn’t what you think it is. It’s true that bandwidth affects your internet connection, which in turn can affect the download speeds the visitors to your website experience, but they aren’t exactly the same thing.

Bandwidth involves all the data that can be transferred at one time. Data transfer involves the amount of data that can be used over time. That distinction has the possibility to cause problems if your site suddenly sees more traffic than usual. If traffic exceeds your data transfer limits, even if it doesn’t exceed your bandwidth limits, you may be charged a penalty or upgraded to a higher, and more costly, web hosting tier.

Nothing is Unlimited

Many plans advertise unlimited storage or unlimited monthly data transfers. In most cases, that’s exactly what they offer. However, you should always take their claim of unlimited service with a grain of salt.

Chances are, there are terms of service that you must comply with in order to enjoy unlimited service. For example, you may find that it only applies to the normal operation of your website, but if your host determines that your website isn’t operating in a way that they consider “normal” you may find that their service isn’t as unlimited as you thought. The moral of the story is to always read the details of the plan you’re interested in before signing up.

Solid-State Versus Hard Disk

Solid-state drives are all the rage and for good reason. They offer lightning-fast storage because they aren’t limited by moving parts. At some point in the future, it will become the standard, but as is the case with all relatively new technology, solid-state drives are still pretty pricey.

Take the time to compare the benefits of solid-state drives to traditional hard disk drives before you decide. You may choose a hard disk drive simply because it offers massive amounts of storage for cheap, even if it’s technically a little slower.

Control Panel and Tech Support

It’s possible to build your own website and have it hosted, but it is always going to take way more time than you think. Because it’s a lot easier to have someone else take care of all the details, many companies offer a variety of web building and hosting services. Whether you create your website on your own or have it created and hosted by the same company, you should take a close look at their control panel offerings.

You don’t want to have to call tech support every time you want to make a small change, but you do want to know there’s someone you can call if you need help. Finding a hosting service with a balance of both is important.

Have an Exit Strategy

After doing so much research, you expect that your choice will be the perfect one for you. However, you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you actually start using the service. That’s why it’s a good idea to know how you can switch to a different service if you decide the one you initially chose isn’t right for you. Choose a web host that doesn’t charge outrageous cancellation fees, find one that offers a trial period, or opt to pay month-by-month before choosing a more long-term plan.

Choosing a web host isn’t quite as simple as you think, especially if you have a big, busy website. Follow the guidance on this list and you can increase your chances of finding a web host that will serve your needs well.