All web hosts aren’t created equal. But when it comes to you and your business or site, you deserve nothing but the best.
Unfortunately, navigating the deep, dark and deceitful labyrinth-like world of web hosting is often a challenging affair.
Many customers are lured by false promises, only to drown in the perils of disappointment and frustration. Others are paralyzed by confusing technical jargon and are even afraid to take another step towards their online ascension.
But, have no fear – at Yocale, we understand the struggle. Here are five things to keep in mind that will hopefully help illuminate the way towards choosing the best web host for your service or business!
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Big name web hosts often tempt customers with inexpensive hosting and generously flexible hosting plans. However, if you decide to go this route, it’s important that you ensure that you know what you’re actually getting.
Often, big-name web hosts keep monthly costs low by sacrificing the quality of their customer service and hosting speeds. The resulting sub-par service often masquerades itself as affordable, but in the end, it isn’t worth your dollar or your time.
A $10 monthly “unlimited” web hosting plan might sound good on paper, but there’s usually a bigger picture at play. Many web hosts are only concerned with accumulating as many clients as possible, and as a result, their servers are often unoptimized and overloaded.
Initially, it might seem as if they’re passing their savings on to you, but it often comes at the cost of slow site speeds and poor uptime for your site or business.
Your frustrations might tempt you to reach out to customer support, but disappointment might soon follow there, too. The CS agents of big-name web hosts often have a notorious reputation for being incompetent and unaccommodating, as well as living proof of further cost-cutting.
So what’s the solution?
While it’s not a dead-set rule that all big-name web hosts are of poor quality, we’d certainly recommend that you do some research once you have a web hosting candidate in mind. Which brings us to our next point…
Consult Real User Reviews And Advice
Let’s face it – everyone has unique needs when it comes to web hosting for their site or business.
Some may need more bandwidth in order to consistently provide online booking 24/7. Others might need dedicated hosting, while others smight be perfectly content with shared hosting.
No matter where you’re coming from, it’s essential that you do some research before pulling the trigger.
It might be tempting to expedite the process in anticipation of getting your site online as quickly as possible. But if you’re jumping in without a clue, you might sooner sink than swim.
Thankfully, there are thousands of user reports and reviews out there that can point your web hosting search in the right direction. The only stipulation is… be careful who you’re listening to.
A quick Google search for “best web host” results in thousands of tables and charts comparing and evaluating dozens of hosting options. While these sites might seem like a valuable resource at first – be wary.
Unfortunately, many of these sites and reviews are written or financed in part by web hosting companies with the intention of promoting their own services. This isn’t the case for all of them, but it is the case for many.
Instead, turn to democratic review sources like Reddit. The Webhosting subreddit is abuzz with many discussions all taking place within the web hosting world, driven by insightful and experienced users alike.
A quick search for a specific web host in r/Webhosting may uncover some valuable anecdotes regarding the host in question and may sway your decision one way or another.
Check Their Promises And Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Web hosting is a business, and businesses want you to sweet-talk you with all kinds of promises.
That’s why it’s absolutely essential that before you take another step into the wide world of web hosting, you know what terms like “unlimited” and “99.9% uptime” really mean. Because as it turns out, web hosts usually have a bit of a different definition than, say, you and I might have.
First and foremost, one of the biggest myths in web hosting is the idea of “unlimited” resources. Whether it’s unlimited bandwidth or unlimited storage, the idea of web hosts graciously allotting you anything in an “unlimited” capacity isn’t just incredibly generous – it’s completely unrealistic!
That said, many web hosts use this marketing strategy. They’ll advertise plans as low as $4/month and claim that you can upload as much content as you’d like without ever having to worry about exceeding your bandwidth.
As Webhosting Secret Revealed states in their blog post on this subject, unlimited hosting is like an all you can eat buffet. You can eat however much you want, as long as you don’t eat too much.
The same philosophy applies to web hosting.
Sure, a web host will keep their promise of “unlimited” storage as long as you’re not going overboard. But remember – typically, also they reserve the right to throttle or outright cancel your service at any time for any reason.
Evaluate The Long-Term
When choosing a web host, it’s definitely best to think in the long-term. Think of your relationship with a web host as a partnership, and not merely a subscription to a service.
If you’re anticipating that your site will be around for quite some time, invest in a sound digital future and ensure that you’re partnering with the right company. After all, if you find yourself later dissatisfied with your web host, the site migration process can be lengthy, and fees can quickly accumulate.
Aside from the quality of a web host’s service, here are a few things to look for:
Automatic Site Backups – The best web hosts usually offer automatic back-ups of your site for a reasonable additional monthly charge. This might not seem worth it at first, but accidents do happen – and when they do, your site might be gone for good if you’re not equipped with backups.
Site Security – Does the web host offer IPV6? HTTPS? These modern web protocols will keep your site secure and help to build trust with your users.
Site Uptime – If you’re looking to host a site for your business or company, site uptime should be of particular concern to you. Basically, this is the percentage of time that your site will be up-and-running rather than down or otherwise unavailable.
No web host can reasonably guarantee 100% uptime, so the best we can hope for is typically somewhere in the ball-park of 99%. From here, take a look at the trailing decimal value of each web host, as this will clue you in to just how much uptime you’ll likely be paying for.
Courtesy of HostingManual.net, here’s what those percentages mean when translated to a 30-day period:
|99%||Two Nines equals to 7 hours and 12 minutes downtime in 30 days|
|99.9%||Three Nines equals to 43 minutes and 12 seconds downtime|
|99.99%||Four Nines equals to 4 minutes 19 seconds downtime|
|99.999%||Five Nines equals to 26 seconds downtime|
|99.9999%||Six Nines equals to 3 seconds downtime|
Shared, Dedicated, Or Cloud?
This is a big one. Depending on the needs of your site or business, a particular server type will be either more cost-effective or more practical than another.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick breakdown:
Shared hosting is what you’ll usually get with a low-cost web host. This option is inexpensive, but your site will be hosted alongside many others on one server, potentially leading to poor site performance.
The easiest way to think about shared hosting is in terms of a shared highway. If another site on your server suddenly increases in traffic, this sudden spike might be enough to slow down your site as well.
Cloud/Virtual Private Server hosting is similar to shared, but each site is allotted its own resources. This eliminates the issues of shared site performance but is typically more expensive.
Dedicated hosting is what most big-name companies and businesses depend on in order to meet the demands of high site traffic and activity. With dedicated, you’ll get your own server entirely and generally won’t have to worry about inconsistent performance at all. If anything, the only thing you’ll have to worry about will be the price, which can amount to quite a hefty sum.
Some web hosts might offer only one of these options, or possibly all three. It’s best to work with them and identify your site’s needs up-front in order to get the plan that suits you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post! For more on business strategy, online and off – keep up with us here, five days a week at the Yocale blog!