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HOW TO CHOOSE WEB HOSTING

Looking for web hosting is like finding the right house for your wife. It must big and cozy, very modern, full of accessories and tech widgets and Rambo should be standing in front of the main door to ensure your security. The Rock would work two. Honey, what about a couple of Ferraris in the garage? We need them for speeding. Web hosting has a lot of requirements indeed.

Lucky us, nowadays there are many service providers who offer different infrastructures for anything you need. If you are starting a small business or searching for professional hosting for your large online store, most big web hosting companies can satisfy your demands over time. It’s always nice to know your options. Here are the three main ones:

  1. Shared hosting – This one is a crowded (and hopefully happy) family sharing a house not big enough. A better example is the classic first-boyfriend: simple, uncomplicated and disappointingly not resembling James Dean. Shared hosting tends to be the very first option when entering the web hosting world.  If you follow this path, you’ll later have to decide when it’s time to upgrade to VPS or a dedicated plan to meet your increasing needs. Shared hosting usually do not scale satisfactorily.
  2. VPS hosting – A virtual private server (VPS) feels like you’re living among townhouses. You still share a server with your community, but you can also enjoy larger portions and greater control of your surroundings than with a shared hosting plan.
  3. Dedicated hosting – You did it! After years of hard work (and bank loans) you have your own house with a big pool, a lovely garden and a gym you could use more. Dedicated hosting offers maximum server resources and security and allows you complete control over the doting architecture of your own server. This option is definitely not for beginners and you may need help from a professional geek.

Each website has its own specific needs different to the rest and that applies to hosting services as well. You could rent either a server resource only or one with pre-installed software. Most web hosting providers offer products with pre-defined software packages. You just need to choose the right one for your needs and jump in. Depending on your skills or needs there are mostly two ways to go:

  1. Traditional website builders - e.g Wix, Site123. Hosting is usually bundled.
  2. CMS website builders - e.g WordPress, Joomla. Allows you to choose hosting partner.

And yes, I consider CMS a website builder. At the end of a long, rainy and radioactive day, guess what will be used to assemble your site? That’s a right, website builders and CMSs.

To more conservative people: no hard feelings.

I consider the first option to be more suitable for beginners because it already includes a web hosting part. The second option works best for intermediates, though you may need to choose a web hosting service first, but that depends if the hosting supports your preferred website builder. In the latter case service providers offer improved product packages for your preferred website builder, and, trust me here, that one is definitely the option I suggest you go with.

Don’t forget to revise the pricing when you find technically suitable hosting solutions. Quite often, the longest deals come with better conditions and extra discounts, which are always nice and dandy. Keep in mind that the less you pay, the less you get. Yes? You could pay a bit more and spend your days with the satisfaction of knowing that you’re getting what you want and deserve.  Go get it!

Nevertheless, I suggest you to start low and upgrade as soon as you feel the need to do it. For example, when you go live and conquer the world with awesome content!

Take a look at these 3 issues I recommend you to keep in mind when choosing web hosting. Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support and security. Some say it’s 4 S’s, but I don’t tend to include sushi here.

SPEED

I’m talking about load time, which is crucial for your business revenue, not the Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock movie, which is crucial for pop culture and happiness. A critically high percentage of visitors leaves right after landing in a given page when the load time is too slow. Research indicates 53% of people will leave a website page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. 1, 2, 3…That’s it. For the most part, upgrading to more expensive plans helps with this particular issue, e.g. switching from shared hosting to VPS hosting. There are other ways you could take to speed up your website, like setting on a page caching or jogging with your computer. Okay, only the first one.

SECURITY

There is only one Rambo and, according to the latest news, he is retired, though nowadays who knows what Sylvester Stallone might come up with…so you better bet on your hosting service provider to guard your website’s security. You ought to regularly check key elements like automatic backups, availability of SSL certificates, firewall tools and monitoring.

Some hosting companies enjoy partnerships providing CDN service, which translate into secure and rapidly distributed server networks. Invest your money in security and it will guarantee you peaceful dreams.

SUPPORT

Last but not least, there is technical support. Even if you are accustomed to set up websites, there may be some unexpected surprises and differences in details with a new hosting company. Experience talking here, software doesn’t always work the way you intend it to and in such situations reaching out through online chat, phone or e-mail support is more than welcome.

The right support will save your nerves and your money. “The less you pay the less you get”, also applies here. If you don’t want to spend much money for support then head to official forums or FAQ pages. There are very helpful people in the forums that are more than happy to help you (avoid trolls though).

Take note of these quick hints on what to choose when you are setting up your website:

  • 1. Blog - Consider a WordPress host like A2 Hosting, Bluehost
  • 2. Online Store - Consider an eCommerce Hosting Service like Shopify
  • 3. Online Portfolio or Résumé - Consider a Website Builder like Wix
  • 4. Personal Site - Consider a Low-Cost, High-Value Host like A2 Hosting, Bluehost
  • 5. Business Site - Consider a Host With Which You Can Grow like A2 Hosting, Bluehost

Some of you are probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned a word about website uptime…I lost a bet. Just kidding, but you are right: accessibility in any time called “uptime” is also very decisive.

Today, the majority of hosting companies provide availability of 98-99%. This is actually pretty neat. Do not believe hosting providers who state that their uptime rate is 100%. Achieving that target is extremely expensive and virtually an impossible mission, which means you can’t do it unless you’re Tom Cruise.

Even if your servers are failover safe, network routing can still let you down. Shit happens everywhere, even happened with Amazon Web Service in early 2017. Yes, Jeff Bezos crapped his pants. The estimated cost for companies was $150 million for service outage of four hours. Not that bad…I mean, it was very bad, but don’t worry your website can survive with 99% of uptime. Larger businesses, however, might prefer to pay for a few extra nines.

My personal suggestion is to choose a host you can grow old with. Though I’m using A2 Hosting service myself and I can say I’m quite happy with what they offer. Therefore, I recommend it to other users too.

I have put together step-by-step A2 Hosting Installation Guide. Feel free to follow through if you decide to choose the same hosting service company.

I really hope it helps.