I can still remember back when I first thought about building websites, even getting past the “domain and hosting” phase seemed daunting.
I used to think that there were these hugely expensive costs and fees to having your own website, and judging by how many people search for “free website hosting” every day, I can assume a lot of people still do. Incidentally, web hosting can cost as little as $3.50 a month, so it's really not much of an expense at all.
The sheer volume of web hosting companies out there is what causes the difficulty in choosing. Too many decisions leads to indecision!
When I first got started out online, the place where I was learning web design and marketing actually hosted websites for me, so I didn't have to worry about all that. Since then, I've come to learn a few factors that are really important in choosing your hosts.
Price isn't necessarily the most important thing.
How To Choose Web Hosting – What To Look Out For
I've put together three steps for choosing your web hosts, so let's take a look at them now.
Step One – How Many Sites Do You Need?
This is quite important. Every web host offers different packages, and while one host might have the best single site deal, another will have the better multi-site deal. This also depends on whether or not they're running any particular promotion at the time as well.
You can usually upgrade or switch package at any time, so don't worry about restricting yourself too much. Go with what you KNOW you'll need, and update it later as necessary.
Step Two – Site Requirements
The thing that usually stumps most people is knowing how much bandwidth and/or hosting size they'll need. I hate those comparison charts you get showing all the different options. Who really understands them other than tech people who already have their own servers?
It's best to figure out what sort of demands your site might have though:
Is it going to have a lot of videos? images?
Are there going to be a lot of visitors coming?
Will you need a lot of things stored on the server?
In any case, you can upgrade your storage as you go, and it' unlikely that a new site is going to have high demands.
I'd advise you to check out some of the best hosting companies and then start out with their most basic packages. If you have any doubts, email them.
Step Three – Your Budget
The higher your budget, the better hosting you can afford. It's simple.
Now, while most newcomers are going to go for the cheapest hosting and upgrade as their budget increases, that's not always going to be the best move. As I said in step two, it really depends on your site requirements.
You can get “shared” hosting for a few dollars a month, but your site could load slowly on shared hosting, which will affect SEO as well.
On the other hand, you don't need to invest in your own dedicated server (even if it fits your budget), if your site doesn't require it.
The reason I tell you to identify your budget is because you can often get discounts for paying 6 months or 12 months at a time, so it's best to know how much you can afford to spend in one go.
I started out on shared hosting, then moved to a dedicated server when I got more experienced and wanted higher site speeds, you might like a similar strategy.
Other Important Tips
When checking out prospective companies, here are some other things you need to consider:
If you don't know what you're doing, the support team is going to become your new best friends. Choose a big company like Hostgator, so that you can lean on them more when you have questions.
While it's never good to have a website offline, it also contributes to SEO. If you want your site to command good search engine rankings and it's always offline (even for a short period), Google isn't going to be so cooperative.
Some companies are well known for offering you great “Foot-in-the-door” signup offers, but then hike the prices up in the second year. Make sure you check the long-term prices as well as the initial ones.
Got any questions? Let me know, I ALWAYS reply.