Written for Bluehost. View original post here. Web hosting is one of the most important decisions you make as you begin the process of building your website. But what is hosting exactly? And how do you decide which host to go with out of the hundreds available?
Think of hosting as your website’s home. Without web hosting, your website wouldn’t be online and available to users around the world. Hosting companies, like Bluehost, provide space on their servers for customers to store websites, thereby making them accessible through the internet 24/7.
But with the hundreds of different web hosting providers, how do you choose? How do you know you’re picking the right one? Here are a few factors to take into consideration.
Price This is where most people start when they’re deciding on a hosting provider. But while it’s a good place to start, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. It’s important to remember: you get what you pay for. More often than not, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Take a look at the fundamental needs of your site and compare hosting options that satisfy those needs first. Otherwise you will likely end up spending more in the long run in terms of money, time, and even frustration.
Technical Specifications Not all web hosts are created equal. Many hosts make similar claims, but there are often big differences “under the hood” that translate into significantly different hosting experiences. And as most websites these days feature a lot of content, it’s more important than ever to find hosting providers with the hardware to back up their claims. First off, find a hosting provider that builds and operates their own hardware. Find a host with enough RAM, processing power, and disk storage space for your website’s needs. Finally, look for information about reliability and server up time. This is important so as to ensure your website is always up and running when visitors come.
Support This is a big one. If your site ever experiences problems you can’t fix, the fastest way to get things up and running is usually to speak with a real person who knows what they’re doing. Make sure your host provides great customer service. See what contact options are available when you need help (i.e. toll-free phone number, email, chat, etc.) Also consider when are they available and whether their support is in-house or outsourced.
Interface (Control Panel) Make sure your hosting provider has an interface that is easy to understand and use. If you can’t figure out what you’re working with, it’ll make building a website much more confusing then it needs to be. Tasks such as installing WordPress, setting up email, configuring FTP accounts, etc… should be easy to find. Some hosting providers let you play with a demo hosting account, so take advantage of the opportunity to test their platform before you sign up.
Features Finally, consider what makes your top hosting choices special. Do they offer extra features if you decided to host with them such as regular backups, a free domain name, etc. Are their tools up to date and easy to use? Do they offer upgrades and add-ons in-house to make it easy to expand your hosting account when you need to?
These are just some of the important factors to consider when selecting your web host. As you outline your website, you’ll start to understand more about what should matter most to you. We hope you find these tips useful. Let us know if you have any additional questions in the comments below.