So you need a website for your blog, store, or another great idea that needs to see the light of day. But to get your website on the internet, you need a reliable web host behind you.
With so many options out there, how do you find the best web host for your site?
Deciding on a web host means looking for the right features for your needs. Uptime, bandwidth, and security measures are just as important as a web host’s reputation, price, and customer service.
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Before you close your eyes and choose the first web host your finger lands on, check out these 13 important features to look for in a web host.
The easiest way to find out if a web host is worth your time is by looking into the reputation they have in the industry. Not only on a grand scale but also with their everyday customers.
Do some digging to find third-party reviews in tech publications. Find out if they have been given any awards from reputable websites. What people have to say about them holds more weight than what they say about themselves
Take a look at customer reviews as well.
Reviews of a web host by the people that actually use that web host are going to provide you with important insight into what it’s like to be a customer. This can clue you in to the small things they do right or wrong that may change your mind about using them.
Uptime is the amount of time your website is up, running, and available to visitors. High uptime is absolutely essential for a professional website. If people come to your site and it’s down, they may not be back.
The standard uptime you want is 99% or higher.
Some web hosts will guarantee numbers like 99.5% or even 99.99%. The closer to 100% you can get, the better. A web host with a money-back guarantee if they don’t meet their quoted number is always a plus.
Bandwidth is the measure of how much data a server can transfer in a specific time frame — usually a month. Your web host plan will offer a certain amount of bandwidth for your site.
More bandwidth is always better because it allows your website to load and work faster.
A lot of web hosts now offer unlimited and unmetered bandwidth but it’s important to look at the free print of any of these contracts before signing up. You could still be getting a set amount of bandwidth before having to pay extra.
Storage goes hand in hand with bandwidth. Also called disk space, storage is the amount of data your website can hold according to your web host.
The more storage you have, the better.
Your website is made up of different pieces of data including text, photos, videos, etc. If you run out of storage space, you can’t put anything new on your website. So it’s essential to find a web host plan that suits your website’s storage needs.
5. Website Speed
How soon do you leave a website if it doesn’t load?
According to a study by Google, 53% of visitors leave if a website takes more than three seconds to load.
Website speed is vital to the functionality of your website. Beyond providing a good user experience, speed also factors into your website’s Search Engine Optimization.
Any web host you choose should guarantee fast load times. Check if your web host uses updated technology like SSDs, if they limit websites on shared servers, and you can even check their server speeds with online tools.
6. Packages and Pricing
Your budget will certainly dictate what web host you can use. That’s why you should be on the lookout for a web host that offers different packages at different price points.
While a lower-priced package may work for you now, you may want to upgrade later down the line without moving to a new hosting service.
Make sure you’re comfortable with the cost of the web host you choose. And don’t forget to look into renewal prices. Web hosts run on a subscription model, meaning you’ll have to pay for it on a recurring basis.
7. Refund Options
Just because you did your research doesn’t mean you’ll like a web host when you actually start using it. You might find that the features it offers aren’t worth the price you’re paying. Or maybe it’s just not well-suited to the kind of site you’re running.
A good web host will have a time period with a money-back guarantee where you can get a hassle-free refund.
Don’t be afraid to get your money back if you’re unsatisfied with the web host you initially choose. Making sure the refund process is easy will ensure you don’t have to deal with any headaches down the line.
8. Domain Name Management
Picking your perfect domain name is important, but so is having the tools to manage that domain as long as your website is active.
A good web hosting service will provide you with domain services that allow you to register and manage your domain name as well as any subdomains you wish to purchase.
You always have the option of using a different site to keep track of your domain names but it’s so much easier having it all in one place.
9. Website Builder
Building a website is easy these days with click and drag platforms eliminating the need for coding. Integrating a website builder into your web hosting service should be just as easy.
Many web hosts provide one-click installation of popular website builders in their hosting plans.
This is a must-have feature if you’re just getting started on building your website or if you’re migrating a website from another hosting service. You want the process to be as easy as possible.
If you’re still trying to decide what website builder is best for your site, take a look at this comparison of Wordflow vs WordPress by Interweb.
Your choice of web host might be harder than looking at the big things. In that case, turn to smaller features to help you make a decision.
Some things the best web hosts offer include:
- Free or unlimited email accounts
- cPanel availability
- CDN availability
- Free site transfers
- Data center location information
Website backups are essential. If something bad happens and your website goes down, you will have to rely on the most recent backup to get it up and functioning again.
Your web host should give you a way to easily backup your website or, even better, regularly back it up for you.
Security is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re looking for somewhere to host your website.
Always look at a web host’s default security features for each plan. They should include SSL certificates and firewall management to protect your website and any data you collect from your customers from cyberattacks.
There should also be extra security feature add-ons that you can choose if you want even more protection.
13. Customer Support
Getting issues with your website fixed in a timely manner is essential to a functioning site. You need a web hosting service that offers customer support when you need it, however you need it.
Look for a web host that offers 24/7 support through a multitude of channels such as phone, email, live chat, and chatbots.
Choosing the right web host for your website means evaluating your website’s needs and comparing all the different features each hosting service offers. Look for the web hosts that thrive in the areas that are most important to you even if they fall a little short in others.
Before you make your final decision, make sure you consider these 13 important features so you end up with the best web host on your side.