Most companies today know they want to have a website for their business, but many don’t know much else. One of the most important things you should do is pick a web host, or web hosting service provider. In simple terms, if you use a web host, you are renting space on a large server in order to house your website. But how do you choose the best web hosting provider?
Know your business needs
The first thing to consider when you choose the best web hosting provider for you is the needs of your website. If you are using your website to blog, you would want to choose a web host that specializes in blogging, and provides all your blogging needs. You might decide you need Windows applications, and thus you need a web host that can provide them. Do you need any special software for your website? If so, you need to make sure your web host offers that. Once you know what your website requires, you can start comparing different web hosting companies.
Server reliability and speed
Another important factor to think about when you choose the best web hosting provider for your website is server reliability and speed of access to your website. A server is “a computer program or a device that provides functionality for other programs or devices.” Your website will be stored on a server, and you need to know that that server will be working 24/7. If the server fails, people will not be able to access your website. A 99.5% reliability rating is recommended. Anything under 99% is unacceptable. In rare cases, web hosting companies like GlowHost offer a 100% uptime guarantee and SLA to back it up.
You also want to make sure that the server speed is fast. When someone wants to visit your website, you don’t want them to have to wait forever while it loads. Often times, people will get tired of waiting longer than a few seconds and abandon attempts to reach that particular site. Compare server reliability and speed and determine what your website needs. Keep in mind dedicated servers are always going to be faster and more reliable than a shared hosting package, but they also cost more. Dedicated servers are recommended for businesses who are serious about speed, uptime and email availability.
Another critical component of a web hosting service is bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data any digital communication medium can carry. For example, if one person is trying to access a website at a given time, very little data is being communicated across a web hosting service. When 5,000 people are trying to access the same website at the same time, your web hosting service requires much more bandwidth to transmit much more data at the same time. If your web host does not offer enough bandwidth, your website could crash or stop working. Often times, you see websites crash due to lack of bandwidth when they are offering big sales or new, exclusive products that are in high demand. The best web hosting provider will offer enough bandwidth to account for your website’s needs.
It is important to not confuse bandwidth with data transfer. Most hosts advertise “bandwidth” but what they are really offering is data transfer. Bandwidth is the speed at which data can be transferred. Data transfer is how much data is allowed to be transferred. Decide how much traffic you think your website will receive, and work from there. Some web hosting services offer “unlimited bandwidth,” while many other web hosting services have limited bandwidth. GlowHost provides both types of packages. Unlimited transfer hosting plans should typically not be used for business sites as unlimited servers usually have the most web sites sharing the same physical machine. This means more web sites competing for the same resources. Limited plans usually cost more than unlimited plans and the higher price point allows a host to make the same profit on a server, but with less sites on that physical machine. This means better performance for each site because less sites are competing for the same resources.
A final important thing to consider when you choose the best web hosting provider for your website is how good the web hosting service’s tech support is. When someone else is in charge of keeping your website up and running, you need to have access to tech support in case something goes wrong, and you want to be able to reach them 24/7. Some companies only offer tech support via phone, and that may not work when your website is having problems at 3 a.m. The more ways you can get in touch with someone for technical support, the better chance you can always keep your website functional. GlowHost offers 24/7/365 technical support via phone, live chat and helpdesk.
There are several things to go over when you choose a web hosting provider. Ultimately, there is no one right web host for every company. Find what your website needs, and choose the best web hosting provider for you.