How to Choose The Best Web Hosting Service in 2023
With so many web hosting services available today, it can be hard to determine which is best for your needs.
From VPS hosting, which gives you complete control over your server, to managed hosting for WordPress sites that takes care of the technical aspects, there are many options to consider.
Web hosting services can also vary in price, from budget-friendly shared hosting to more expensive managed plans available.
As such, the question is, how do you choose a web hosting service that’s right for your needs?
In this article, I will discuss the main factors to consider when choosing a web hosting service based on my experience in the industry.
Let’s get right into it.
What Is Web Hosting?
A web host is a service that stores your website files on a server and makes them accessible to visitors online.
Said differently, you can rent space on a server to publish your website files online with the right web hosting provider.
This allows you to have a presence on the internet without having to own or manage your server.
While the above is a simplistic view of how it all works, having a general understanding of web hosting is essential because it can impact your website’s performance, security, and bottom line.
Essential Criteria To Consider
Here are the essential criteria to consider when choosing a hosting web service.
Know The Types Of Web Hosting Offered
From opting for a virtual private server to deciding on cloud hosting, knowing the types of web hosting offered is essential to making an informed decision.
A web hosting company generally offers various plans that cater to different needs, so it’s ideal to know the pros and cons of each.
There are two main reasons why having a web hosting provider that can offer fast loading times is essential.
The Core Web Vitals update emphasizes page loading speed, input response time, and other factors that impact how quickly a user can access and use web content.
A faster website can help you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs), leading to more traffic and, ultimately, more conversions.
It also provides a better user experience, keeping people on your site longer and decreasing your bounce rate.
When you choose web hosting, consider what percentage of time your website will be accessible by visitors.
This is one of the web hosting features that can make or break your website.
Downtime is one of the worst things that can happen to a website because it means that people trying to visit your site will be unable to do so.
With the potential loss in search engine rankings and loss of business, a great uptime guarantee is essential.
Most web hosts offer an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. This means that your site should only be down 0.1% of the time, or a bit less than an hour each month.
Depending on the business, this might still be unacceptable as even a minute of downtime can cost a company dearly.
Many web hosting services offer customer support on a 24/7 basis.
This is important because it means that if something goes wrong with your website, you can get help immediately.
A web presence that’s not secure opens itself up to various risks in today’s cutthroat business world.
Security features in a web hosting service can vary, but some of the most common ones are SSL certificates and firewalls.
This serves to encrypt information passed between your website and visitors, ensuring that sensitive data remains safe.
An SSL certificate is essential if you run an online store or require visitors to input any personal information on your site.
With server hosting, it’s also essential to consider intrusion detection and prevention.
This is because if your site is hacked, it can lead to loss of data and revenue, as well as damage to your reputation, so ideally, this is something that is prevented before it becomes a problem.
The right web hosting plan will be the one that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
From managed hosting to dedicated hosting, web hosts offer various pricing plans.
Be sure to compare the features and pricing of different hosts before deciding.
While you might not think you need a dedicated server or unlimited disk space when starting a website, having options that allow you to scale when your small business grows is essential.
To this end, many web hosting services offer different tiers that allow you to upgrade as your needs change.
As one scales, the storage space needs of a business website can grow exponentially.
Adding various functionality to your websites – such as starting a blog, adding a self-hosted ecommerce store, having a user forum, etc., can quickly use up any free web storage that comes with the hosting package.
If possible, go for an SSD host for your website, as this will provide faster loading times for your website visitors.
Similar to the storage stage, one might not realize how much bandwidth a website uses until the limit has been reached.
The more visitors you get to your site, the more likely you’ll need to upgrade your hosting plan to accommodate the increased traffic.
Finding a hosting plan with the appropriate bandwidth from the get-go is, therefore, a good idea.
Having hosting packages that include a domain name and email accounts can be a huge time-saver.
Your domain name is the face of your business, and thus, this is a step that deserves the time you invest in it.
It’s good to know that many hosting providers offer free domain names when you sign up for an annual plan.
That said, while getting a free domain name with hosting is possible, it’s not always the best option.
For starters, some might not need a new domain since they already have one they’re happy with.
Some of the best domain registrars also provide domains for multiple years, so you wouldn’t need to use the free domain name that some web hosts offer.
Finally, some web hosting services will give you a free domain name for the first year but then charge you an excessive amount when renewing.
Knowing these potential pitfalls will help you make the best decision for your domain name.
When it comes to email accounts, it’s often easier to use the same account for your website and email, which makes things simpler from a branding perspective.
It’s also much more professional to have an email account pertaining to your website (email@example.com) than a generic Gmail or Yahoo email account.
A web server that’s not user-friendly can be a significant headache for the business owner.
The user experience is essential for the person setting up a new website, so it’s good to check out what others say about the host’s interface before making a decision.
While more advanced web hosting servers will require coding to some extent, some offer user-friendly features such as site builders that can assist with the creation process.
Money-Back Guarantee Or Trial Period
While every company can paint a great picture regarding its hosting options, getting an accurate picture comes down to using the service.
Most hosting providers will offer some money-back guarantee during a trial period so that new users can test the service before fully committing.
One-Click Installation Of Applications
Add-ons are a vital feature of many web hosting services.
These allow you to add functionality to your website without any coding knowledge.
While these might not be installed up front, various hosting providers offer one-click installation of popular applications such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
These content management systems can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run, and being able to install them quickly is a valuable feature.
cPanel Hosting Enabled
cPanel hosting provides a control panel to manage your web server and website.
From launching your email service to managing database software, cPanel makes it easy to get your website up and running.
Most hosting providers include cPanel as part of their services.
SEO Tools Included
If you want more visitors to visit your site, you need to ensure your site is optimized for search engines.
From bloggers to online store owners, SEO can make a big difference in terms of traffic and, by extent, a business’ bottom line.
Compatibility With Popular Programming Languages And Frameworks
If you want any custom work done on your website, you must ensure your web hosting service is compatible with the programming languages and frameworks available.
Configuring a system that isn’t compatible with such frameworks is a hassle and one you don’t want to deal with.
If you’re using any of the top content management systems, you’ll want a web hosting service compatible with PHP, as this is the language most of these systems are written in.
The more information you add to your website, the more critical it becomes to have a robust database system.
A content management system requires a database to store all your content.
Most hosting providers support popular database systems such as MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL.
Daily backups should be the norm of any hosting provider.
This ensures that if hackers manage to break into your website, you can quickly restore it to a previous state.
Some hosting providers even offer real-time backup, so you don’t have to worry about losing any data anytime.
Being environmentally conscious when choosing a web hosting service is becoming increasingly important.
Green hosting means that the company takes measures to offset its carbon footprint.
This can be done by investing in renewable energy or by planting a set number of trees when several people sign up for their services.
Going with a green web host can help you feel good knowing that your website isn’t harming the environment.
Web Hosting Solutions Vs. Website Builders
Site builders make creating a website much easier and faster than traditional web hosting solutions.
The right site builder might also come with its own hosting, making it a one-stop shop for everything you need to create a website.
Some even offer website building tools, including web design software that you can use to create a custom-looking website.
This means that choosing a website builder can be the right choice in various situations.
However, if you need more control over your website or want to be able to add custom features, you’ll need to use a hosting web service.
The right website builder will also come with its own hosting so you won’t have as much control over security and performance.
Tips For Maintaining Your Website And Keeping It Running Smoothly
While having a website up and running is the end goal, there’s always upkeep and maintenance that need to be done.
Here are some tips to help you keep your website running smoothly.
Keep Your Site Updated
Site updates are essential for security and performance.
Making sure your site is updated to the latest version of whatever content management system or software you’re using is crucial.
It’s also important to keep all plugins and themes up to date.
New updates often include security patches and bug fixes, so installing them as soon as possible is crucial.
Use A Reliable Web Host
While there are a lot of cheap web hosting providers available (and there is a time and place for these), reliability is the name of the game.
A website that’s down will frustrate your visitors and hurt your business.
Choosing a web host that’s been proven to be reliable is worth the extra cost.
Have A Responsive Design
Your target audience will visit your site on various devices, including their mobile phone, so it’s essential to have a responsive design.
This means that your site will automatically adjust to fit any screen size.
Making sure your site is mobile-friendly will also help you rank higher on search engine results pages.
Optimize Your Site For SEO
Speaking of search engine results, SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher when someone searches for specific keywords.
From knowing the foundations of SEO for bloggers to adapting the right ecommerce marketing strategies, you can use many methods to improve your rankings.
Consider Your Site’s Operating System
Just like a local computer, the operation system of your server will need to be considered, updated, and maintained.
The operating system is usually either Windows or Linux, with most web hosts running on the latter.
With most web hosting providers, you won’t have to maintain the operating system, so going with the default options usually works out well.
Consider A CDN
Data centers that are found closer to your target audience’s location can help improve loading times.
Contact the site’s support team first if the load times are still slow.
However, you might consider looking into a CDN, as this can help improve loading times.
The main benefit of using a content delivery network (CDN) is that it can help improve loading times by caching your content and delivering it from a server closer to the user’s location.
It can also help reduce bandwidth usage and protect your site from DDoS attacks and other security threats.
Choosing the right web hosting server for your site can make the difference between a successful online presence and one that isn’t.
There are many factors to consider in this situation, but by keeping the above tips in mind, you can be sure to choose the best possible option for your needs.
When choosing a web hosting service, remember that you generally get what you pay for – so don’t be afraid to spend a little extra if it means getting a better, more reliable service.
What factors do you look for when choosing a web hosting server?
Which web host do you currently use?
Let me know in the comments below!
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Here are some web hosting reviews for you to consider when making a final decision:
Also, here are some direct web hosting comparisons for you to review:
Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by Adam Enfroy