These days, every web host there is, boldly claims to be the best value, best speed, best extras… and generally the cream of the crop.
But how do you really know which web host is telling the truth, and more importantly, which really IS the best host to go for?
At the beginning of your decision making, you need to break down what you actually want, and what best web hosting providers you need… which is either three types of web hosting: Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, or Dedicated Hosting.
You are most likely after shared hosting, which is the entry and medium level hosting for personal and small business websites. VPS Hosting and Dedicated server hosting web hosting are both more expensive but can handle the resource demands of popular sites. You will be able to tell when it’s time to upgrade later on… but that’s out of the scope of this article.
Onwards then… to learn how to pick the best web host for you.
The Best Web Host’s Control Panel:
This is the interface that will let you tweak your site settings and even view your visitor statistics, such as which web site they came from, which country they are in and some other details. Without a good control panel, basic tasks become 10 times as hard. Instead of the act of creating an email account taking 2 minutes, it will suddenly need almost programmer level skills. Just accept and trust me on that.
But a Control Panel makes all this easy for absolutely anyone and removes any technical ability requirements needed from the person. Only go with hosts offering “cPanel” (or secondly, “DirectAdmin”) Control Panels. If they don’t offer these, don’t go forward with them.
So note that down: cPanel or DirectAdmin.
The Best Web Host’s Support:
Everyone wants fantastic web hosting support that will answer all our questions. But if you are paying $4 per MONTH, you can’t expect support that’s going to be that great. Some support should be available, but it will either take days for responses or generally the responses won’t be as useful as they could be. Check if the host you are looking at have a phone number to call (most won’t – which isn’t necessary a bad thing). Even if they have a “Live Support” chat button, that’s a Big, and very useful thing to have available to you in case you need to contact them fast.
The Best Web Host’s Reliability and Uptime
If they aren’t offering a 99.9% Uptime guarantee, go elsewhere. Downtime is annoying and costly for anyone advertising their websites. Visitors that visit your site when it’s down will become very turned off coming back. Just think about what you do when a site you’ve barely seen doesn’t load. You hit the back button and don’t give that site a second thought. Don’t let this happen to you!
Here’s a tip when guesstimating a web host’s reliability and speed… please note that often this is not totally true… but checking how fast the web host’s own page loads can give you an indication of what kind of speed your site will load with.
The Best Web Host’s free scripts
If the web host provider you want to choose is running cPanel they will very often provide you with over 50+ free easy-to-install scripts through something known as “Fantastico”. This is very useful, as it contains entire e-commerce shopping carts, blogging software, forum software and heaps of extras all installable with one mouse click. Not necessary, but certainly comes in handy.
The Best Web Host’s Per Month Pricing
Now if you are like most people. You want good value, and don’t want to blow your bank. Web Hosting has become a “commodity” item with plenty of competition. You can find hosts offering hosting for $2 a month. However expect downtime and slowness and emotional distress. End result, not worth saving a couple of bucks with these cheaper than chips web hosts. Go for something around the $8-12 mark. Yes that’s over 4 times the amount of the $2 counterparts. But this means the host can afford to give you good support and put your account on a server that will always be up, and fast.
Believe it or not, you WILL pay far more with a super-cheap web host because of downtime, unusual slowness, lost visitors and lost revenue, poor support, and your own frustration when you check and see your website is down and your host is out of reach to help – or don’t offer any. Web hosting is really something that will bite you in the behind if you go with the cheapest is best mentality and that’s the truth.