07 Apr How to Choose a Web Hosting Provider
So you’ve got a website. You’ve also got products and services to distinguish, prospects to convert and customers to engage, plus a brand reputation to nurture online along the way.
Now you just need a reliable web hosting provider — a company to play that essential gatekeeping role in getting your website live on the internet.
In this guide, we’ll discuss your business’ choices in today’s provider marketplace, plus what to look for when vetting potential hosting companies once.
Which Web Hosting Features Does Your Website Require?
When it comes to finding the right web hosting provider, try not to put the cart before the horse — meaning don’t rush out to find a host before understanding the design, usage and nature of your website. First, you need to consider:
1. Website Capabilities and Features
Consider the full state of your website. What activities, media and content does it currently support — and which features are you hoping to build new pages for?
For example, your website may currently have architecture dedicated to:
- Sales pages, from one central sales page to endless aisle-mirroring scrolling
- A secure payment portals
- Personalized customer accounts, profiles or portals
- Multimedia content
- Blogs or vlogs
- Real-time online chat options
Before picking a web hosting provider, you must first understand the functional nature of your website plus how you intend to build and expand it. Some hosts have a suite of infrastructure tools dedicated to supporting certain types of websites, while others offer broader hosting and support styles.
2. Bandwidth and Storage
Be honest about your bandwidth and storage realities. Small businesses or new startups beginning to gain traction will likely have fewer people visiting their sites simultaneously, as well as fewer pages to manage, files to upload and less strenuous network activity. As a result, a modest bandwidth amount — also known as your byte upload and download speeds — from your internet provider can be more prudent without sacrificing functionality.
Many hosting providers build contracts around bandwidth and storage amounts. For that reason, it’s important to understand your website’s traffic patterns and bandwidth usage to find that Goldilocks provider.
3. Technical Support and Website Updates
Who performs the bulk of your website’s current design and management, like editing product descriptions, A/B testing a strategic landing page or uploading a new blog post?
For many small businesses, the brunt of that website maintenance work falls on your shoulders. It doesn’t have to, though. Some hosting companies offer website maintenance services, including page-building, traffic monitoring and even cybersecurity defense layers. If these features sound attractive to partially or fully outsource, you can filter providers even further to only those offering site maintenance and ongoing support.
What Are Your Web Hosting Options?
Your website will be hosted on a unique piece of storage hardware known as a hosting server. Not all servers are made equal, though. There are four main types of servers available on the market today for web-hosting options:
1. Shared Servers
Shared servers are the most basic and cost-effective of all hosting solutions. As their name suggests, shared servers store hundreds of client websites on a single server device. Given that shared storage space, though, this kind of web hosting platform works best for low-traffic websites with minimum features.
2. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS is a step up from basic shared servers. In this hosting arrangement, your website is programmed into what’s called an instance and placed on a virtual computing platform.
Like shared servers, hosting companies will store many website instances on a single VPS. However, VPS frameworks are much speedier and include far more storage and data retrieval capabilities than completely shared servers. VPS servers can also work with other managed IT services, particularly cybersecurity defenses.
3. Dedicated Servers
For fast-growing websites as well as businesses prioritizing network security, a dedicated server option may be particularly attractive. With a dedicated server, your website and only your website sits on its own physical device that’s stored off-premise in your host company’s data center.
Dedicated servers afford the most privacy, customizations and configurations. They allow you to tailor your security features, support architecture, operating system, load and traffic balancers and more.
4. Cloud Servers
The fourth type of web hosting system is the cloud server. Run on a public cloud platform and managed by cloud providers, this choice comes with a suite of configuration affordances typically unavailable with other storage solutions. When comparing servers, keep in mind:
- Cloud servers are ideal for large organizations or businesses gearing up to scale for high volumes of traffic.
- Cloud servers allow clients to simply pay the hosting provider more money based on traffic usage and surges and tend to have massive amounts of bandwidth and storage readily available when growth situations arise.
What Are the Top Web-Hosting Provider Considerations for Your Small Business?
Have confidence in your managed web hosting partner by prioritizing these three features during your search:
The best hosting providers deliver robust defense systems on its platforms, guarding your website — and your brand’s reputation.
Be vigilant in your security inquiries with potential web hosts. Don’t be afraid to ask what types of attacks their defenses aim to prevent as well as the updates and configuration schedules made to those defenses, including:
- Clustered firewalls with deep-level packet inspections.
- Around-the-clock inbound and outbound traffic monitoring for suspicious packet patterns.
- Additional firewall and antivirus security layers deployed across various computer control panels and levels.
- Distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack defenses and spam filters.
- System reports summarizing traffic history and blocked malicious activity.
Hosting company prices vary widely, from a few dollars a month for mega-shared servers without any special amenities to a few thousand dollars for all the web-hosting premium add-ons. The main variables affecting a managed web host’s pricing, will be your bandwidth and storage requirements, as well as any additional services you request.
Other price considerations to look for when picking a web host include:
- Sign-up fees
- Contract renewal rates
- Cancellation fees
- Expedited set-up charges to get your website “live” faster
Website hosting performance metrics are the third and final essential feature to test before picking your website host.
Again, use your website’s true nature and realistic traffic amounts to gauge best-fit hosting performance. A blog — even a large one published daily — demands far less from a server than a high-volume, endless-aisle configured online store.
Pay attention to the following performance parameters with your provider, as these metrics are some of the most revealing about your host’s true service deliverables:
- Peak traffic load timelines.
- Frequency of server overloads and lag times.
- Scalability of storage and bandwidth.
- Customer support when issues arise, as well as the medium for that support.
Choose Netrepid as Your Web Hosting Provider
Get in touch with the web-hosting experts at Netrepid to see how we do web hosting different, including providing next-generation server firewalls, redundant servers and truly around-the-clock customer support, lending you peace of mind your website’s in the right hands.