Choosing a hosting company that suits your needs can be a daunting task. Anyone who’s ever switched from one host to another knows that it can be a tedious process and it’s just plain annoying to do. So, choosing the right hosting company from the get go, one you will possibly stick with for years, is critical.
All hosting providers are not created equal, some are better than others, some have features better suited for your needs, and some even a better reputation than others. Depending on what you intend to do with your hosting account or server, there’s a lot of questions to ask yourself before you settle on one:
- How much traffic will you be getting?
- How much bandwidth and storage will you need?
- How many domains and/or sub-domains will you be hosting?
- Will you host only your own sites or your client’s sites as well?
- Ecommerce website? Do you need SSL?
- Will you be reselling hosting to your clients?
- Do you even need hosting? Would all-in-one solutions like SquareSpace, WordPress.com, Tumblr or Virb be enough for you?
- Does the host offer any type of discount if you purchase hosting for multiple months or a year?
- Do you need shell/ssh access?
- Do you need a domain? Some hosts offer a free domain name when you purchase a hosting plan.
- Do you need to be able to choose your OS? Linux or Windows?
- Do you know what runs the HTTP server? Nginx, Litespeed, Apache, Lighttpd?
- Does your website or project require you to deploy scripts like Ruby on Rails?
- How comfortable are you updating your server? Should you go with a fully managed or an unmanaged solution?
- Will you need to manage your hosting account on the go? Does the host offer a mobile app to manage your account?
- Are you comfortable installing a CMS like WordPress yourself? If not, does the hosting company provide one-click installation?
- Do they offer 24/7 support? Email, phone, support tickets, live chat?
- Where do you want your server to be located? Do you need a CDN?
- If you’re moving to a new host, will that new hosting provider help you move your files and databases over? Is there a fee?
- If you choose a small plan to start, will your hosting company let you upgrade to a bigger plan or server? What are the costs associated with this?
- Are there setup fees when you open a new account?
- Does the web host offer some guarantee when it comes to uptime? What’s their check interval?
You obviously don’t need to answer all of those questions. But try to answer as many as you can, it should help paint a clearer picture as to what you might need to look for in a provider. If you don’t know what Apache, Ruby or SSL is, chances are an unmanaged dedicated server is not for you and you should probably aim for a cloud hosting solution or a managed VPS. Don’t forget to get in touch with the hosting company you’re looking to signup with and ask any question you may have, and test their level of support and responsiveness.
There’s a million hosting companies out there, so selecting the one you will give your business to is no easy task. Thankfully we’ve selected some of the top ones that have a focus on designers, developers and creatives, and we have all this right here in a handy list. Check out the features of each provider and then make your choice. I hope this post helps you make the daunting task of finding a hosting company easier.