When you look at the amount of hosting providers on the internet, you might be taken aback – the options are indeed a bit overwhelming.
This article will help you choose the hosting provider you need without having to overpay.
The Importance of a Good Hosting Provider
Before we go further, we need to know what a hosting provider is. Hosting providers are the ones who will store your website’s data for you. Their storage is needed so that you can display your website on the internet 24/7. You should try Hostinger to see how a real hosting provider looks like.
With so many providers available, of course, there are tons of plans too, which may be confusing for freshly baked webmasters. One wrong move and it could lead to the purchase of the wrong plan ‒ a plan which features you won’t use.
Seeing the nature of the pricing system (monthly, three months, annual or more than one year, etc.), you might even end up overpaying for the plans.
That is why you need to pick the right plan for you. For this, you need to understand the features offered, making sure they are what your website needs.
Know Your Website
Before diving into plans, you need to know your website first.
Will it be a regular blog which mostly consists of articles, or will it have lots of pictures? Are you going to focus on traveling, which might need lots of videos?
It is necessary to know the approximate amount of things that will be on your website. Those things will be stored in the provider’s server taking up your allocated disk space.
The second thing is your traffic. Whether you are new or not, you still need to predict the number of visitors you will have.
The number of visitors is related to your bandwidth and the speed of your site. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred from your website’s server to the followers’ device.
If the traffic is not too large, the speed of the site won’t suffer despite the limited bandwidth. However, if the traffic is overwhelming, it might even take a minute to load the website. New websites might not use lots of bandwidth, but it is better to prepare for the future.
After predicting your disk space and bandwidth usage, it’s time to move on to other things you might get with the hosting plan.
Essential Features You Need
Besides bandwidth and disk space, there are some extra features you will get with a web hosting plan. I will list some additional important features you might get as well.
The first mandatory item is domain registration. A domain is the address of your website. Without your domain, users won’t know how to reach your site.
You can register your domain in two ways – through a domain registrar or your hosting provider. Fortunately, most hosting providers are also domain registrars, and sometimes they offer free registration. So if the plan you want to buy happens to offer free domain registration, I say take the chance and save some money.
The second feature is an SSL certificate – extra security for your website. If you’re planning to use an online shop, an SSL certificate is a must. An SSL certificate prevents your client’s personal data from being accessed by others. Moreover, an SSL certificate gives extra assurance of website security and marks your site with a green padlock by the address bar.
The third feature is daily backups. Backups allow you to take a snapshot of your website, and later restore it to that state if something is compromised. When you look for a plan, make sure the hosting provider offers a backup service, whether it’s weekly or daily.*
Last but not least is email. Not all hosting plans offer free emails. If you run a website where clients need to send you emails (such as a portfolio website), you should get one.
That’s not all of course, but these are the essential options to look out for. When you come across other features, make sure you go through them and ask yourself: “Do I need this?”
Support does play a significant role when choosing a hosting provider. When your website is in trouble, you turn to the support for help.
Moreover, support is trained to know the provider’s products best. So when you have a question about plans, you can always ask the support.
Most providers offer three types of support: live phone support, live chat, or through the ticketing system.
Some providers have timed support, while some work 24/7/365 support.
Before you decide on the right provider, make sure to check the reviews. Reviews claim that some providers’ support would leave them on hold for ages, while others leave questions unanswered.
You don’t want to regret paying for terrible support, do you?
This article covered the absolute basics a beginner webmaster should know before getting a hosting plan: bandwidth, domains, storage space, and some other additional features.
Remember to always ask the question: “Does my website need this?”
If you can predict what your website requires and how it will scale, then you’ve done it right. You will be able to screen all the hosting providers’ plans until you find the perfect one for you. Good luck!
Mary is a passionate blogger and the chief editor at her own content marketing company PRable.com. Since college, she’s been interested in break-through technology and technical writing about innovative products and services that change our everyday lives for the better. She’s also interested in web design and photography.