When starting a new website, most content creators have a clear plan for the content they create, but before any of that happens, you need to pick a web host. Web hosting is crucial to the success of your website and without it, you do not have a website.
Unfortunately, picking a web host is much more complicated than most people assume. Beginners tend to pick the cheapest plan available without understanding what they are missing and end up paying more overall when they switch or upgrade. Here are some of the things you should avoid when selecting a web hosting company.
Picking the Wrong Package
All web hosting companies offer their services through a selection of plans. Each one offers different services and features that you can take advantage of, but not all of them are for you. Carefully examine what each package offers to make the best selection.
For example, if a website plans to have a lot of video content, they will need more features than a traditional text/image-based website. On the opposite end, selecting a plan with features you do not use will be a waste of money.
If you pick the wrong plan, your entire website will feel the consequences.
Uptime is King
The amount of time your website is running normally is the most important aspect of any web host. Make sure that your web host offers at least 99% uptime but aim for higher levels of uptime like 99.5% or 99.9%. The more reliable the offer, the better.
While that extra percent may not sound like a lot, it really is. The difference between 99% and 99.9% is more than three days of downtime. That is a huge amount of time to lose if your website runs an e-commerce shop. Always seek the highest uptime percentage and never agree to below 99%.
Strong Security Features
Cyber security is one of the most important issues a website will face going forward. Thousands of websites are hacked every day and the support you receive from your web host will be crucial to keeping your websites information safe.
Make sure you ask a representative about their security procedures. Listen for backups, SSL, firewalls, DDoS measures and much more. Your web host will be your best friend when disaster strikes, so make sure they are equipped to help in any situation.
Leave Room for Growth
While many websites might not expect a large amount of traffic when they start, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for growth. While factors like server bandwidth, RAM, and CPU limits are inconsequential when starting out, they won’t be forever.
As your website grows, so do the needs of the servers hosting that website. Examine similarly structured websites and try to determine what you will need for the future. Ask the web hosting company about how their plans and services can be upgraded to meet your needs.
Unlimited Never Really Means Unlimited
Many web hosting plans will try to justify their price by selling unlimited services or features. A very common one is unlimited bandwidth, which sounds amazing to larger websites, but if you look a little closer you will find out that unlimited has an actual value.
Once you cross that value, you are paying extra. Make sure to clarify exactly what unlimited means to help pick the best plan for your website. No web host will ever actually offer unlimited anything because those resources cost money.
Be Careful with New Web Hosting Companies
Many new web hosting companies are eager to sign up customers and offer competitive prices to accomplish this, but these new web hosts are not properly equipped to handle large websites. Selecting the new web host on the market is a risky business that is often not worth the risk.
By choosing an inexperienced web host, you risk extended down time or longer maintenance. Choosing a web hosting company that has experience and the resources to properly host and maintain a website of any size is always worth the price.
VPS and Shared Hosting
While you may find that these services can be appealing when starting out, they can have a negative impact on your website’s SEO performance. If your website is hosted with other websites that serve malicious content to visitors, your website will quickly fall in rankings.
The big appeal is to save a few dollars, but if it is at the cost of SEO ranking, it is not worth it if you are serious about the future of your website. Avoiding shared packages is in the best interest of every website, even if you spend a little more.
Signup Prices Vs. Renewal Prices
Signup prices are designed to be as cheap as possible to entice new customers to sign up, but they are often quite different from the renewal prices. Make sure to get a clear date if the prices do change and compare renewal prices as well as sign up prices.
You will find that plenty of web hosts with cheaper signup prices, have more expensive renewal prices that make the higher initial costs a better deal in the long term.
Read the Terms of Service
If you cannot remember the last time you read a terms of service agreement, you are not alone. Almost everyone just accepts the Terms of Service, but they shouldn’t and in web hosting, they typically contain vital information.
For example, most refund policies are in the Terms of Service and properly understanding them is crucial for any decision. Many important pieces of information are in this agreement, so spend the time to read it.
The Most Important Takeaway
The most important thing to take away from this is to understand what you need to start, plans for growth, and to read everything. Web hosting is a business and they are trying to make money by selling their services. Buy what you need and leave room for growth and remember, you can always switch your web host.