How to Choose a Web Hosting Provider
Choosing the best hosting provider can be a complicated task. A majority of hosting providers excel in one or two areas, such as shared hosting or private server management, however few are excellent at everything. However, as long as you know what your needs currently are, as well as what they will be in the near future, making this decision can be fairly straightforward. Once you know what your needs are, it is time to start doing your research and creating a short list of hosting providers that you would be happy with. It is important to make sure that while researching you use credible sources to ensure that information you gather is correct. Once you have your short list, it is simply a matter of making a final decision.
Assessing Your Needs
If you already have a website, or a number of websites hosted with a company, then it is easy to find out what your needs are. All you need to do is look at what resources you are currently consuming on a monthly basis and doing some simple projections to determine what your needs are going to be in the future. However, if you are just starting out, this can be a little more difficult.
Fortunately, as long you have an idea of what the goals of your website are and how you plan on achieving them, choosing a web hosting provider will be much easier. Here is a closer look at some specific aspects that you should keep in mind.
There are several things that are often discussed when choosing a web hosting provider including: bandwidth and disk space. While these physical resources are incredibly important to take note of, there is a good chance that they will not be an issue until you have already developed several small websites, or a single high-traffic website. In general, a majority of hosting providers will be able to meet your initial needs.
Because there is a good chance that all of your prospective hosting providers will offer enough resources for your average website, more emphasis is usually put on some additional factors based upon what your plans are. For example, if you plan on self-hosting all of your videos, then you want to make sure that your hosting provider is capable of doing this and offers streaming and multi media support. Videos can also take up a lot of space and a lot of bandwidth, which is why many people will get a separate video hosting account. You may also want to take note of the software that you plan on using and make sure that the hosting provider offers it or at least will allow you installation of those. This is particularly an issue for people who want to use software that will require shell access in order to install and maintain.
Where to Gather Information About Prospective Hosting Providers
It can be difficult to find quality resources that will allow you to gain the vital information that you need to decide which hosting provider is going to be the best for your specific needs. Fortunately, there are several types of resources that are proven to be an excellent source of information.
There are specific websites that are well known in the hosting community for providing excellent, unbiased information about hosting providers. For example, WebHostingGeeks does independent analysis based upon a variety of criteria and rate the best hosting providers in a variety of areas. Additionally, they not only rank the best overall providers, but also providers that excel in one area or another.
Another great resource are social websites. This because you will have an opportunity to see what people are saying about a particular web hosting company at any given time. Additionally, there are sites that will be able to give a snapshot of what the community thinks. For example, we have an ongoing poll at WebmasterFormat about best web hosting companies that will tell you which hosting providers are the most popular among our readers. Another great social resource are forums. The WebHostingTalk forum is well known for being an excellent way to get opinions, customer stories, and reviews on hosting providers both in general, and in terms of specific needs. Of course, you can always use more popular social outlets like Facebook and Twitter to see what people are saying right now about a particular web host.
When doing your research, there are several things to keep in mind that will help you determine what comments and reviews are valid and which ones might be a little biased.
- Remember that angry or dissatisfied customers are more likely to comment on a hosting provider than a happy customer – with this in mind, more popular companies are popular for a reason.
- If you are on a review site, make sure that the reviews are consistent. If there is one or two in-depth reviews about the “top hosting” providers and very basic reviews about others, then there is a good chance that there might be some bias.
- Always do research with your current and future needs in mind. There is no point in finding a great web host if they do not meet your needs or over-meet your needs. If you aren’t going to use or need a certain function, then don’t pay extra to get it.
In almost every case, there will be more than one quality hosting provider that will meet your needs. While this can make your decision more difficult, it also means that if you choose a provider and end up dissatisfied, you can always try out another provider on your already compiled and well researched list.
This article is written by Roko Nastic, writer and editor at Webmaster Format, place where webmasters learn, explore and master the ever changing web…