Compare and Choose the Best Web Hosting Service:
We put together a comprehensive guide to help you make your decision with the most confidence.
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MARKINGS NEXT TO THE TITLE OF EACH PARAGRAPH EXPLAINED:
Each factor has a mark indicating level of importance. Please take note that high priority to one individual may be viewed as low priority by another. However, in many cases most people would agree on what is the most important aspect when making the decision. The purpose of these marks is not to ignore SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT or NOT AS IMPORTANT , but to make sure that IMPORTANT is not ignored at the least. They were all important enough to list here
IMPORTANT – Important – will have most consequences on your wallet and/or performance and results.
SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT – Still an important aspect, but should not impact your buying decision as much. Treat it as a secondary factor, after you choose all of important ones.
NOT AS IMPORTANT – Just like it sounds. It may not be the most important factor to consider when choosing a web hosting provider.
Price is obviously the most important factor when it comes to deciding which web hosting provider to go with. Today’s consumer is getting the best bargain, since technology has improved and costs for very basic service went down. Still, consider contract length and sign up fees in your total budget cost.
CONTRACT LENGTHS SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT
Consider the price difference between month to month contract vs annual and so on. You have to decide if its worth saving money by signing up for a longer term and paying money upfront.
REFUND POLICY SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT
Refund policy shouldn’t matter much if you’re serious about web hosting, but it is good to know if there is a money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied or need to cancel a contract agreement.
CHOOSE THE TYPE OF HOSTING IMPORTANT
Choose the type of hosting to start with.
Virtual/Shared hosting is the most popular one for beginners. You will be sharing resources with other clients on the same server module. Depending on the type of website that you run, you may never need to upgrade from shared hosting. Once you start to consume too many more resources than are allowed per account, you may want to look into upgrading to a dedicated server.
Dedicated Server – With this option you have control over entire server. This is where you get to decide on CPU/RAM and upgrades. Unlike a virtual shared hosting account, you can configure just about everything, reboot whenever you like – it is basically a remote access computer.
Virtual Private Server or VPS – Think of this one as having controls similar to a dedicated server, except it is shared with other accounts just like a virtual shared account. This option can offer more flexibility and control over configuration and customization, but machine resources are still shared.
Managed Plans – Your web hosting provider will monitor your server to make sure it is up and running so you can focus on operating your websites. They take care of back up, maintenance, and upgrades.
Cloud Options – You data is spread among several physical servers so it doesn’t have to rely on one location to carry out a given set of tasks. Resources are scalable so it is easy to upgrade.
Reseller Hosting – This options allows you to become your own hosting provider and resell accounts under your own brand. Can be quite profitable if properly executed.
UPGRADES/ROOM TO GROW SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT
Importance of this part comes into play later down the line. You should ask your provider: “Will I be able to seamlessly move my content to a larger server?”. The answer to that question may depend on the type of server that you start with. Some providers can allow integration where you don’t have to do a thing. Others may require a back up of your data and fresh reinstallation onto the new server.
TOS – TERMS OF SERVICE NOT AS IMPORTANT
You may want to find out about what would happen if your content goes viral which may consume more resources. Find out if your server charges overage fees for going over the limit. And, if you do go over the limit on a server’s resources, do they suspend your account, or level with you, or offer upgrades?
HARDWARE / CONTROL PANEL IMPORTANT
SERVER UP TIME RECORD. IMPORTANT
This one pretty much speaks for itself. 0.5% may not seem like a lot of time lost. However, your site operates 24/7. Thus, 0.5% downtime in one month could equal approximately 218 minutes or 3+ hours! Most providers keep records of their uptime. Many hosting services may even offer a money back guarantee if your website is down past a certain percentage point.
NUMBER OF DOMAINS / IP ADDRESS / MySQL DATABASE SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT
Find out if you get a dedicated IP address assigned to your account. One IP should be enough, but as your website starts to grow, you may want to have an option to add more IP addressees.
See if there is a limit on domains that you can host with your type of account. Also, find out if there are limits or restrictions on MySQL databases.
EMAIL POLICY SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT
You might want to check with your providers newsletter policy before sending out newsletters. Your provider is likely to have a limit on the amount of emails that you can send via your server. This is one way to violate TOS and have your site shut down, since using your own server resources can overload the system. Instead, many opt for a 3rd party provider to run newsletters. We will soon publish a comprehensive guide on newsletter providers.
DISK SPACE AND BANDWIDTH SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT
Many providers will advertise unlimited traffic and disk space for low volume accounts, but prices increase for those requiring the use of more resources. What you want to know is the price per amount of data. The difference might mean hundreds of dollars over a period of time for large amount of data, so shop around.
READY TO INSTALL APPS & SCRIPTS IMPORTANT
For a beginner, automating tasks with the right app installation could save a lot of time. Apps such as Wordress and, Drupal are very popular website platforms. Make sure that your provider has these available so you can install/configure applications with ease. Find out if the type of scripts that you will be using are supported (for example: PHP, CGI-BIN, Perl, Python)
RESEARCH REVIEWS ON THIS HOST IMPORTANT
Research your provider. Find out what are the worst complaints about this provider. Did they resolve these issues?, It is good to know who you are dealing with and what sort of potential problems to expect.
CUSTOMER/TECH SUPPORT IMPORTANT
Do they offer free phone support, chat or ticket system? Or, do they charge for some of these services? A ticket system is a solid way to keep track of what is being done to resolve issues, but do they have a phone in case you want to speak to a live representative?
DYNAMIC COMPARISON CHART:
Entry Level Accounts are compared in this chart.
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