How to Find the Best Web Hosting Provider
From personal experience, I know that switching to a new hosting provider is not the best thing you want to do in your free time, especially if you are running multiple websites. Moving a simple website is easy, however if your website is running on WordPress, Joomla or other system that requires database, it can take couple of hours to move and set up everything again. I have friends, who have moved to a new hosting provider at least ones since I know them.
Finding a good hosting provider is difficulty, especially if you don’t have experience or you don’t know anyone who to ask. Reading reviews or seeking info on webmaster forums can help you make a good decision when picking a web host. It is important to choose a good hosting service, because your website and emails will rely entirely on the hosting company. If you are running a business, and your potential customers cannot access your website or their emails do not arrive into your inbox, due to continuous technical problems of your host, you will lose them. Afterwards you can blame the hosting service, but your customers will not return.
While searching online for reviews of different hosting companies, you will find lots of websites and blogs documenting, reviewing and showing test results of these services. Some may recommend certain providers while others may guide you in different directions. Even if you find a hosting service that fits your budget and needs, it is important though to do your own quick research. The best and quickest way to test a hosting firm is to browse their website, read their terms of service, call their customer support, test their live chat, ask about different technical things such as supported PHP and MySQL versions, support for software such as WordPress or other. Make sure that the customer and tech support is not outsourced, so the person who you are talking to actually works at the company and knows web hosting.
Beside all the techy things, price is also a factor to consider when choosing a hosting plan. Remember, that expensive hosting is not always the best hosting. Also, do not let extremely cheap price fool you: very cheap or free hosting is a big sign of scam or bad service. If you find a hosting with a good price, compare their signup and renewal rates to the competition. So, to get to the point, here is a checklist to help you out choosing the best host for your website.
What features you should look for?
- Unlimited space and bandwidth is good to have, however this is mostly a marketing trick, which has some limitations. Find out under what terms will you get countless web space and data transfer
- Does the hosting provider offer 24/7 phone support? What about live chat or email support? A tutorial database is also a good way to find answers to your hosting questions. Choose a company that offers various support channels and tutorials.
- Benefit of free marketing credits and discounts of different third party services. Some companies will offer free domain if you buy hosting. Go for it!
- Find out which control panel is used by the company. The most popular and feature full hosting control panel is cPanel. Using other software is not a sign of bad service, just make sure that it is still easy to use and has the features you need. Ask for a live demo of their control panel.
- If you use heavy emailing, ask your potential host, about the hourly limit of outgoing emails. Make sure that you will fit into their limits even in the busiest business day.
- If you are planning to create multiple websites, it is a benefit to have the option to add new domains to your account for free and host multiple website on the same hosting account.
- Ask about server locations. If your site will target a specific region, and your visitors will be from specific area, it is beneficial for your business to have your website hosted in a nearby datacenter.
- While you cannot test a hosting account for free, you actually have to purchase one, it is important to have a money back guarantee. Check their money back policy to find for what services you can claim a refund. Usually domain registration fees are not refundable.
The above list will guide you in the direction to choose a good and reliable hosting company and start or transfer your website to. Be picky with every hosting firm, and remember, no company can be perfect, but there are few who are willing to do their best to provide a top notch service and the best customer experience. Make sure you check out my hosting reviews to find out what my personal experience are with various hosting firms.