How do i choose a web hosting service? 21 great Tips!

Summary:

How do i choose a web hosting service?

It is best to make sure that your provider meets the following requirements or has the following characteristics (random order):

  • Warning: most review sites are owned by web hosting affiliates or resellers! So the first tip is to be suspicious when you read a web hosting review!
  • Multiple data centers in different countries.
  • SSD (solid-state drive) and ZFS (Zettabyte File System), among others for optimal website speeds.
  • Instant account activation.
  • Money Back Guarantee.
  • Free daily backups of your website and its database.
  • Free website transfer in case you already have a site hosted elsewhere.
  • Linux web hosting is preferred over Windows hosting. By the way, this has nothing to do with the operating system of your own device. Linux is faster, more reliable and cheaper compared to Windows.
  • Cloud hosting so that downtime is zero or at least minimal.
  • Free Trial.
  • Full control over everything related to your domain names.
  • Unlimited web space.
  • At least 100 free e-mail accounts.
  • Unlimited traffic / data transfer.
  • At least 99.9% Uptime Guarantee.
  • Developer tools such as the latest PHP version, .htaccess, the option to set up cron jobs and the use of a free secure SSL (https) connection and at least 5 MySQL databases.
  • Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
  • Excellent and always available technical support.
  • A smooth billing system without any errors.
  • Pricing not lower than $4.95 a month. If the price is lower you arrive in the danger zone.
  • Big is not always good! Many large hosting providers practice overselling which means putting far too many websites on the same server. And some of them outsource technical support to incompetent employees in poor countries with very low salaries.

What is the best CLOUD shared hosting provider in 2021?

According to me (and many others!) the best CLOUD host is Linux Hosts Inc. based in the US and UK. It’s my own web host. The company has the LOWEST CANCELLATION RATE in the hosting industry.

Important Note. Most providers of shared hosting plans practice overselling. Overselling means putting too many customers on the same server. Linux Hosts Inc. is the only web host with a very strict NO OVERSELLING policy.

 

Long explanation.

How do i choose a web hosting service?

Before you go online with your new website or blog, you need to find out what makes a good web hosting service. A web host or “web hosting provider” offers online storage space with at least FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access to upload the data of your website or blog from your device at home to your web hosting account. The storage of files on a storage space (server) connected to the Internet is called “hosting”. And since the whole thing takes place on the “web”, most people call it “web hosting”. Depending on the complexity of your website, different demands should be made with regard to your web hosting. The costs vary greatly depending on the web host and scope of services. So, before you make a decision you should know what are the requirements for web hosting.

Beginners in particular benefit from shared (with others) web hosting. It’s cheap and, in many cases, one domain name and multiple allowed email addresses are included in the price.

Table of contents:

  • Web hosting is necessary for every website.
  • The type of website determines what to look for in a hosting provider.
  • The different website hosting options.
  • What to look for in a web hosting provider.
  • How do i choose a web hosting service? – a conclusion.

Web hosting is necessary for every website.

Nowadays, as a company, you can’t ignore the fact that having your own website is a necessity. Online usage has changed so much in recent years, that a lack of Internet presence is considered a major competitive disadvantage.

If you want to run your own website, you’ll have to find a provider who offers Internet presence so that anyone can access your site with an Internet-enabled device. However, dealing with web hosting requires basic technical knowledge. In the following, I’ll give you some guidelines that will help you how to choose hosting.

The type of website determines what to look for in a hosting provider.

There is a multitude of different web hosting solutions out there and this makes it difficult how to choose a hosting package. The choice of the right web hosting depends in particular on your own requirements.

For example, if you are the owner of a business or company who doesn’t need anything more than a simple online presentation, then shared hosting will do the job.

On the other hand, if you are, for example, planning to set up an online shop with many products, catalogs and images, your requirements will be higher. This means you might need your own web server that’s not shared with other websites. In such a case you can look at the more advanced types of hosting such as VPS, dedicated hosting or semi-dedicated web servers. So, depending on the functionality of the website, the complexity of the software used and the planned number of visitors, web hosting must be able to meet various criteria. In all scenarios, you’ll have to carry out a precise analysis of your needs in order to find out how to choose a web host.

The different website hosting options.

The above means that, at the beginning, you should ask yourself what type of web hosting is best for you or your company. The most common web hosting systems and the respective target groups are described below:

Free web hosting.

Not recommended for anyone, beginner or not. With free hosting, ads appear on your website so that the web hosting provider can earn some money to cover costs and make a profit. Furthermore, this hosting system is very slow, limited in options and often there is very limited technical support. Last but not least, you will never be able to rank high in Google because the search giant assumes that a free hosted website doesn’t represent a serious business. This implies that no one will ever be able to find you in Google unless they type in the exact web address or exact name of your company.

Applicable site: https://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/best-free-website-hosting-compared/

Website builders.

If you’re on a tight budget you could try web hosting providers offering a website builder. This is a cheap and ready made website without content so the big advantage is that the only thing you need to do is add text, images, videos, or audio. No design skills are required. However, unfortunately there are many disadvantages. Here they are:

  • In general website builders are more expensive than shared hosting solutions.
  • The cheapest (or free) plan offered by website builders often places ads on your site.
  • Mostly no unlimited traffic and no unlimited web space.
  • When you need customization in your design you may get into trouble.
  • You are going to need plugins. With website builders these are nothing compared to WordPress.
  • Implementing the correct search engine optimization technique is quite difficult with website builders. You will probably never reach a high rank in Google.

However, despite all the above mentioned disadvantages, a website builder still is an acceptable solution for starters who really know nothing about web design or for starters not able or not willing to learn about WordPress or other, easy to learn and easy to manage content management systems (CMS).

By the way, actually a CMS such as WordPress is also a website builder which is considered many times better than the website builder hosting offers we are talking about in this section! This means that it’s much better to go for shared hosting (see below) and then choose WordPress as your website builder!

Now, going back to the bad website builders that are NOT a CMS, please keep in mind that, if you opt for the free domain name option, you’ll get a domain with the name of the web hosting provider in it. So, that would be, for example, your-name-or-keywords.name-of-the-hosting-service.com. This has two significant disadvantages: The name is difficult to remember and Google discriminates these domain names so you’ll never rank high in the search engine. You can take a look at this website if all the mentioned disadvantages didn’t deter you: https://www.wix.com/

Shared web hosting.

In my opinion the best solution for starters is the shared hosting option, preferably combined with the WordPress CMS which, as I said before, is actually also a simple and easy to understand website builder that is 10 times better. With shared hosting, the web server is shared with many other customers. This can keep pricing as low as possible. However, unfortunately, most shared hosting providers oversell. And that especially applies to the ones offering shared web hosting at a lower price than $5. Overselling means that they put way too many customers on one and the same web server. This way they can make much more profit. The consequences of this are quite serious. Think of slow loading sites and security risks. For example, one of the clients on your server is misbehaving. This can be, for example, spamming, hacking, malware injections or phishing. If Google discovers this (and believe me, they are good at that), you will, despite your innocence, also receive a ranking penalty since you are on the same server with the same IP address. It can also happen that one or more of the websites on your server are hacked by someone else or there is a Dos attack. This can also bring your site down. So be careful before you make your choice by checking how many customers (websites) use the same server. For this purpose you can, for example, use this website: https://viewdns.info/reverseip/ Note: please keep in mind that you can only use this tool if you already have a hosted domain name whether or not on a free hosting trial. You can also check if the company in question has implemented a no overselling policy. As far as I know there’s at the moment only one web host in the world that has done this and that is my own provider. The name of this company is Linux Hosts Inc. (see the beginning of this article). I have been using them for over 10 years and will never leave them! The website is https://linux-hosts-inc.com/hosting

Your own server: VPS, semi-dedicated hosting, dedicated hosting and private cloud services.

For starters there is seldom a reason to use their own private server instead of shared web hosting. So there’s no reason to go into too much detail here. The only thing I say about this is, that if you plan to operate a website with several thousand of visits a day, the technical resources of a shared server are often no longer sufficient. In this case a VPS, semi-dedicated hosting, a dedicated server or a private cloud may be required for your web hosting. The same applies to high software requirements, which a shared server usually cannot keep up with. Very strict security aspects and important data protection requirements can be other reasons for companies to want their own private web server. But, remember this: even if you are optimistic at the beginning and expect a large number of visitors to your website – just start small with web hosting! Most providers make it easy for you to upgrade later on, if needed and, for example, switch from a shared server to a VPS or a dedicated server.

What to look for in a web hosting provider? (random order):

Now that you have decided which type of web hosting you want and need, it is a matter of finding a provider who covers all your needs. But what to look for in web hosting? I have broken down the most important criteria below in random order:

  1. Reviews. Once you’ve found some names of web hosts, you can search Google for any reviews of the web hosts you like best. The problem is that there are a lot of fake reviews online while owners of most review sites are either affiliates or resellers. In other words they make a lot of money selling web hosting. Can you still trust them, I wonder? I don’t think so, to be honest. That’s why I can’t recommend a review site here, unfortunately.
  2. Data centers. It is wise to choose a company that has data centers in multiple countries. This proves that it is an established company. Another advantage is that you can choose a data center that is as close as possible to your customers, visitors or prospects. It will make your site load faster for them. And an added advantage is that it is good for SEO.
  3. SSD (solid-state drive) and ZFS (Zettabyte File System). Give preference to those utilizing SSD and ZFS. SSDs deliver significantly faster load times for your website while ZFS is an advanced open source file system that allows for additional features such as permissions for files and folders contained within a data set folder. This makes the storage of folders and files much more reliable than the old file system.
  4. Instant account activation. Avoid companies that force you to wait for the activation of your hosting account. Activation should be instant after signing up.
  5. Money Back Guarantee. A hosting company with enough confidence in its own products will always offer a MBG. So, see to it that this is the case.
  6. Backups. The web hosting company should make at least one automatic daily backup of your site and your database. There should be no extra charge for this service.
  7. Free website transfer. If you have an existing website then it’s best to choose a provider that can migrate your site to your new hosting account at no charge.
  8. Windows or Linux web hosting? Unfortunately Windows website hosting has many drawbacks so it’s best to choose a hosting company that offers Linux hosting. It’s faster, cheaper, easier and more secure than Windows. By the way, please understand that this is in no way related to the operating system that you have on your own device at home so no need to worry about that.
  9. The Cloud. Your preference should be shared cloud hosting. Cloud hosting means that there are not just one but several web servers that keep your website online. The big advantage of this is that the chance that you will go offline is very small. However, a disadvantage is that cloud hosting is often charged by the minute or by the hour and that can be expensive. I only know of one cloud web host that charges a low flat fee per month and that is Linux Hosts Inc., my own provider. For more information about Linux Hosts Inc. you can scroll up to the start of this article.
  10. Free Trial. You should only accept web hosts offering a free trial. A free trial proves that the company has enough confidence in its own services.
  11. Domains. Is a domain name included in the hosting price or do you have to pay extra for it? If the latter is the case, how much does the provider charge for a domain? For example, a .com domain should not cost more than $10 per year. You also have to make sure that you get full control over your domain. By this I mean that you should have access to all possible settings such as DNS, and your WHOIS information, among others. You should also have access to your EPP code so that later it won’t be too difficult to transfer your domain to another provider, if needed. After all, you never know if you’ll stay with them forever. Under any circumstances you should avoid offers whereby full control is not included in the package. Last but not least, check how many sub domains are included. It would be best if this number is unlimited. For sure you didn’t think of that but, believe me, once you’re an advanced user you are going to need sub-domains.
  12. Storage space or web space. With web hosting, the maximum storage space determines the amount of files available to you for your website and your e-mail content. Since storage space is very cheap, shared web hosting packages are usually more than sufficient for most beginners. It can only become problematic if you use memory-intensive files such as videos in large quantities for your web hosting. But, I would say don’t take any risk and require unlimited disk space which is being offered by most providers.
  13. E-mail. Fortunately, almost all web hosts now offer to set up your own e-mail addresses in connection with your domain. For your web hosting, you should check the number of allowed e-mail addresses, whether both POP3 and IMAP transmission protocols are available and to what extent additional features such as spam filters, auto responders or mailing lists are offered. I would go for at least 100 allowed email addresses.
  14. Available data transfer or traffic. One point that is neglected by some when searching for web hosting is the amount of data transfer allowed. If you only have a few visitors a day who visit your website, you don’t need to worry about that. However, if the daily traffic continues to increase or you offer large files, such as videos, for download or streaming, the data transfer quickly skyrockets. If you expect high traffic for your website, it is best to go for unlimited allowed traffic. Providers that impose limits on the amount of data transfer allowed should be skipped.
  15. Uptime and speed. If you run an online business, high server availability is important. Because every minute that your website is down, you can’t make any money. Moreover, being offline is not just about losing money, it’s also about losing the trust of your clients and prospects alike. As soon as you move into a professional online business, you should therefore make sure that the provider guarantees an availability (uptime) of at least 99.9% for your site. This corresponds to a yearly inaccessibility of your website of up to 8 hours, 45 minutes, and 36 seconds. This service can monitor your uptime and it’s free: https://montastic.io/ In addition to website availability, your web site’s speed also plays an important role, because slow loading websites alienate customers. A free test account with the web host lets you easily check your site’s speed before you upgrade to a paid hosting account. For free speed tests you can use https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  16. Developer tools. Now it becomes a bit more technical. Depending on the software and programming language used, there may be different requirements for developer tools in web hosting. The standard features that you may expect is a current PHP version in connection with at least 5 MySQL databases. Other popular features that should be included without paying extra are .htaccess, setting up cron jobs and the use of a free secure SSL (https) connection. So note that the features mentioned are offered by the provider and, if not, look further. You can check in Google what the latest PHP version is.
  17. Content management system (CMS). Most web hosts offer the installation of content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal or shop systems such as Magento at the push of a button. Actually it are super easy to learn site or blog builders. Avoid dealing with web hosts not offering the mentioned website builders or not offering one click installation! The best CMS is from WordPress.org (NOT .com!) so be sure that your host offers this! By the way, the site you are reading just now, is hosted on the WordPress CMS.
  18. Customer service. Especially for start-ups, an excellent and, above all, fast service is the alpha and omega of web hosting. If the server is not available or there is another technical problem, quick and competent help from IT specialists is very important. And don’t forget to skip all the web hosts that are not available for technical support 24 hours a day and 365 days a year!
  19. A smooth billing system without any errors. It goes without saying that a flexible billing system is required with as many different payment options as possible and, of course, without any errors.
  20. Web hosting costs. The costs for hosting your website depend on the range of functions and hardware shown above and are usually well below $10 a month for simple shared hosting. For start-ups with higher requirements for their web hosting, there are more expensive packages up to having your own web server, costs which start at around $30 and, depending on the hardware equipment, can go up to several hundreds of dollars a month. Note: never deal with a shared hosting provider charging less than $4.95 a month because they are probably overselling!
  21. Big is not always good! If you focus solely on large companies, when you are trying to find out what to look for when buying web hosting, you might want to think about the following: How did that company manage to acquire millions of customers? Well, that can only be achieved in 3 different ways: 1) Advertise a lot. 2) Hire many expensive SEO specialists and online writers so that you rank high in Google. 3) Pay very low salaries to your own employees to keep expenses down so you can advertise even more! An example is the biggest web hosting company outsourcing technical support to third world countries. Of course this has negative consequences for the web hosting customers. Now, here comes the common sense: how can they afford 1 and 2 because advertising and SEO specialists are very expensive. There can only be one answer and that is that they have been overselling from the very start. I’ve personally checked several major hosting companies myself and most of them put thousands of customers on one and the same shared web server so they can get as much money out of it as possible. Lesson learned: avoid very large providers!

How do i choose a web hosting service? – a conclusion.

I think the easiest thing you can do now is to copy the summary at the top of this article and save it in a file that you can have at hand when you are busy with the question what to look for in a web hosting service. Now that you’ve come to the end of this long article, I can only say one thing: apparently you’re really interested in the question what to look for when choosing a web hosting company. And it’s also clear that you have a lot of patience. I hope I was able to explain what you need to do to put your website or blog in the hands of a really good web hosting company. A web host that you’ll never leave anymore which would mean a lifetime relationship, the same as what I have with my own excellent provider Linux Hosts Inc. Thanks for reading and good luck!