How to Choose a Web Host in 5 Steps & 9+ Factors to Consider

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how to choose web host

Every website needs a web host to go live on the internet. Choosing the right web host can influence your future business performance positively or negatively depending on the choice you make.

And picking the most suitable hosting provider can be tricky. You will need to base your decision solely on server spec sheets and online reviews, and you’ll have to be smart about weighing different factors like price and performance in your choice.

This is why we’ve put together this useful guide on how to choose the right web host in 5 easy steps, including 9+ important factors to consider. Let’s get started!

How to Choose a Web Host in 5 Easy Steps

researching how to choose a web host

#1. Become Familiar With Web Server Types

The first step to web hosting is understanding the different web server types. The most common types of servers used for hosting websites are:

Shared servers are the cheapest hosting solution available. One shared server is typically used by tens or hundreds of users simultaneously which limits the performance of your website. Shared hosting is made possible by using multiple virtual instances of a server on one physical device.

Virtual private servers (VPS) offer an improved hosting experience with better performance. You get a full virtual machine instance on a VPS, which provides more reliable hosting for your website.

Dedicated servers are the best hosting solution you can get on the market. They come with hardware dedicated to one host that can fully utilize all server resources. A dedicated server is the most powerful and reliable hosting solution you can use for your website.

You can host smaller and medium-sized websites like blogs, professional portfolios, or websites that have only a few pages on shared and VPS servers. But for hosting larger websites like e-commerce and streaming platforms, SaaS apps, or other websites receiving tons of visitors, you will need the power of a dedicated server.

#2. Define Your Hosting Requirements

Now that you are familiar with different web server types, it’s time to evaluate what resources your website needs. Recognizing what your business needs can help you narrow down your web hosting options:

  • Estimate the lowest and highest amount of traffic your website might receive over a period of time. If you anticipate having at least 50,000 monthly visitors, you should get a VPS or a dedicated server. If you expect less visitors, a shared server will be enough although you might lack some power. This will help you determine the amount of bandwidth you need.
  • Define whether you need a 1Gbps or 10Gbps uplink depending on the file sizes of your website. If you are working with larger files, they will upload and download faster over a 10Gbps connection.
  • Estimate the amount of storage you will need depending on the size of your website files, and whether you will be hosting media files.
  • Opt for a minimum of 8GB of RAM for most medium-sized websites or 16GB for larger ones.
  • Think about whether you will need a mid-range or high-end CPU based on the size of your website.

#3. Research Hosting Providers

It’s essential to research the services and market reputation of the web hosting companies that you are considering. It is usually better to play it safe, and partner with a renowned web hosting company that has a lot of expertise and experience.

Check out ratings and reviews posted by customers, read expert web hosting review guides, and make sure to read the providers’ Terms of Service thoroughly. Most people accept the Terms of Service without actually reading them.

This is a huge risk because the Terms of Service usually include the refund policy, which might be useful to know later.

Check out our guide to the top 10 dedicated hosting providers to help you narrow down your choices!

#4. Compare Hosting Plans & Prices

After narrowing down your list of web hosts, explore the hosting plans they offer. Compare them with your requirements and determine whether they have a hosting plan that fits your needs.

It’s important to consider the server pricing to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Compare the prices of similar hosting plans from different providers to make sure you’re not overpaying.

The hosting price will also differ depending on the web server type you are hosting on:

  • Shared servers usually cost between $5 and $30 a month.
  • VPS costs a bit more than shared servers, and the price can vary from $15 to $80 per month.
  • Dedicated servers pricing starts from $100/month and can even go up to $1,000/month for high-end servers.

#5. Buy a Hosting Plan

The final step is to buy a hosting plan. After going through all previous steps, you should be easily able to choose the best hosting provider for you.

All you need to do now is choose a hosting plan and publish your website!

9+ Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

how to choose web host

#1. Performance

Your website performance will depend on the hardware configuration of your server. When choosing a hosting provider, look for high-quality hardware and a variety of configurations you can choose from.

These are the main components that will determine your website performance:

  • CPU: look for CPUs with high-frequency clocks and high core counts for better performance.
  • RAM memory: having more RAM memory helps handle all applications running on your server.
  • Storage: having a choice between storage sizes and SSD, HDD, and NVMe storage options gives you higher flexibility for data management.
  • Network Connection: a choice of 1/10/100GE is commonly offered by web hosts with faster uplinks providing a faster internet connection.
  • Bandwidth: high bandwidth or unmetered bandwidth plans are necessary for websites with large amounts of visitors. These plans will save you from paying high additional fees.

#2. Scalability

Scalability is an important factor to consider when choosing a hosting provider for businesses that:

  • Plan to grow their website in the future,
  • Are expecting a growing number of website users, or
  • Receive increasing traffic seasonally.

Web hosts that offer scalable hosting plans can accommodate for any of these needs your website might have.

#3. Server Location

Web hosts typically have several data center locations in the country or around the globe.

Server location can affect the loading speed of your website. If, for example, you are hosting a website in Germany, choosing a web host with a data center in Germany will help it load faster.

Server location can also affect your SEO because Google prioritizes websites with fast loading speeds.

#4. Security

When researching hosting providers, look for key security features that can help you determine if their hosting solutions are secure. These features can include:

  • Providing anti-virus software and proactive server monitoring
  • Including DDoS protection with all hosting plans
  • Securing their data center premises
  • Offering redundancy with Tier III data centers for data loss protection
  • Complying with GDPR or other data protection laws

#5. Network Uptime

Network uptime defines how long of a period your server might be down in a year. Network downtime costs industries $5,600 per minute causing serious financial loss.

Consider the uptime that the web host guarantees for their servers. The industry standard is 99.9%, but ideally, a reliable web host will guarantee 99.99% or 100% uptime.

#6. Customer Support

It’s essential to choose a web host that provides excellent customer support. Whether you encounter technical issues with your web server or need advice for your website, you should be able to rely on your host for support.

It’s important that a web host has customer support with:

  • Technical expertise. Ensure the host has highly trained experts that can resolve technical issues.
  • Omni-channel availability. Look for a hosting provider that you can reach via various communication channels, including email, phone, live chat, instant messengers, and support tickets.
  • 24/7/365 availability. You cannot anticipate when an issue with your server might arise. It could be the weekend or even a holiday. Ensure you can get support at any time.
  • Fast resolution time. The last thing you want is to wait for hours or days for technical issues to be resolved. Choose a host with fast ticket resolution times.

#7. Pricing

The prices for web hosting vary depending on the type of web server you are renting. Shared hosting can cost as little as $5/month, while dedicated hosting plans start at $100/month. VPS prices come in between and can set you back $15-30/month.

There are also two main methods web hosts charge for hosting plans. When choosing a web host, carefully check whether they bill their plans hourly, or by the month. Choose a web host that offers your preferred pricing model for your business, and check whether they have discounts if you pay quarterly or annually.

#8. Payment Methods

When researching web hosting providers, check which payment forms they accept and whether you can pay using your local currency. This will help you avoid additional currency conversion fees.

You’d be disappointed to choose a web host and later find out they don’t accept your payment method.

Some hosting providers even accept payments using Bitcoin.

#9. Content Management System

Content management systems help you host your website on a server. There are many content management systems on the market ranging from open-source to highly advanced platforms. WordPress, for example, is a popular CMS used for hosting websites.

When choosing a web hosting provider, make sure you can use your preferred content management system on their web servers. And if you’re already hosting your website and you’re looking for a new hosting provider, it’s crucial to make sure you can continue using your current CMS.

#10. Additional Services

Finally, look for any additional services web hosts offer that differentiates them from the crowd. Some examples include:

  • Managed hosting services
  • Website migration
  • Email platform
  • Domain name
  • SSL certificate
  • A choice of operating systems
  • Root access
  • Newest technology stacks

Not all hosting providers offer these services, so look for one that offers all essential features for your website.

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