Join Carrie Dils for an in-depth discussion in this video Which hosting company should I use?, part of WordPress and Genesis DIY: Setting Up Genesis.
- Finding a hosting company is a bit like finding the perfect pair of jeans. It takes a lot of looking and there's no one size fits all solution. You'll want to do some research to determine the best hosting company to fit your needs. Now, this is a little bit tricky because there are so many hosting companies offering what look like similar services and they can range from $5 a month up to $150 a month or more. To help you select the best hosting company for your site you'll want to ask yourself these following questions. For starters, is your website for personal or business use? Secondly, does the host provide the services you need? And lastly, what type of support and customer service is available? Let's look at each of these in a little more detail.
If your website is for personal use, say a blog, and you don't expect too much traffic, and you're not selling anything, then a shared host solution is probably the best for you. It also happens to be the least expensive option. Now, if you're running a business site and expect medium to higher traffic and if you're running an Ecommnerce store you might wanna look at either a mnaged host or a VPS solution. Those cost more but they do offer a lot more services than what you find on a shared host.
So, speaking of services, here's some ones you'll wanna look for. First, does your web host offer any sort of backup and maintenance plans? Now, I wanna stop real quick and talk about backups. When it comes to WordPress, you've got your files and then you've also got your database. So, a backup solution needs to incorporate both of those to be complete. Most shared host at least will backup your database for you and some managed WordPress host will keep a complete backup for you. Regardless of which one and it is important that your host has a backup, I still recommend using a third party plugin to make an additional backup of your site.
It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your data. Another service to look for is security and protection. If you're running an Ecommerce site then you'll need SSL or what's called a secure socket layer on your site. Some host offer this option and some don't. So, if you're running Ecommerce, that's something you'll specifically want to look for. When it comes to protection, some host will offer additional features that are really nice like a limit log in attempts on your hosting account. They might also offer a way to blacklist certain IP addresses if it looks like they're doing a brute force attack on your account.
Again, depending on the nature of your site and how critical it is that your information be safe and up for users to see you'll pay more or less for those sorts of services. Next, you're gonna wanna look for performance features. Shared hosting solutions are notoriously slower because they're running more sites off the same server. Now, it's not necessarily bad. It's just means they're not usually as blazing fast as some other host. So, on those blazing fast host you may have something called a CDN or content delivery network or maybe they're using some sort of super caching.
Now, even if you're on a shared host there may be some add-ons for performance that you can add to your account. Just expect to pay a little more for them. Also, be sure to check out any useful add-ons that look good to you. Things like a free site restoration or maybe priority tech support. Usually, each host will have a series of plans at different price points so you can check those against each other and see which one looks like the best fit for you. Lastly, you're gonna wanna check out the customer service of a potential host and see what their reputation is as well as their available support options.
For instance, phone or chat options are a must. You wanna be able to know that you can get in touch with your host quickly if need be. Also, sometimes talking to a human either via phone or chat is simpler than trying to email. Another good indicator is to look on the web and social media for reviews. People are not shy about sharing their opinions on web host so no doubt you can find plenty of reviews out there. Next, get in touch via one of the available support channels, ask some questions, and see how you're treated.
This is a great way to vet a potential host. And since you'll be paying for that support with whatever host you choose, be sure to use it. Finally, remember that you're not locked in for life. You can always switch to another host in the future. So, go ahead, pick a host, and see if it fits. One thing to beware of all hosts do have intermittent issues. Now, obviously being down for days at a time is horrible and you shouldn't choose a web host that has that sort of reputation but know that even the best of hosts may occasionally go down for a few seconds.
If it turns out that you're not happy with your host ask for help from customer service or maybe even a free account upgrade. You never know what they'll give you. Finally, if you're still not happy go ahead and move to a new host. There's no magic bullet for selecting a web host but do your research, ask your peers for opinions, and go with your gut.
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