You can have the most stunning website on the internet. And you can populate it with top-notch content and use the best tools out there to streamline your processes. But if you’re building it on a poor web host… You’ll never be as successful as you could be!
Choosing the right hosting plan for your website’s needs is more important than you think. If you’re planning on launching a new website, this should be your first step. If you’ve already got a website up and running, you might want to analyze your current host and see if they’re working for you or if you need to consider switching.
Assessing Your Website’s Needs
Every business, and every website is different. Understanding what your website needs is key to figuring out which web hosts will work for you and which to avoid from the start!
Estimate Your Expected Traffic Volume
The goal of just about any website is to get traffic… Preferably a high amount of it! Accurately estimating how much traffic your website is likely to receive is the first step to knowing what kind of web hosting plan would work for you.
A high-traffic website needs more bandwidth than a low-traffic one. Consider your current traffic levels (if your site is already published) and spend some time anticipating your future growth based on the projected numbers.
It’s also a good idea to look at traffic patterns and peak traffic times. Once you know this data, you’ve got a good foundation to help you choose a suitable plan (or at least cross the unsuitable ones off the list.)
Assessing Storage Needs
If your website uses plenty of images and videos, you’ll need more storage space than one with just text. Look at the resources on your website and come up with a rough estimate of the storage space you’ll need. Don’t forget to factor in how many web pages your site has!
Choose a web host that offers more storage than you estimate you’ll need. Don’t compromise on this—too little storage space will affect your site’s performance negatively.
Evaluating Bandwidth Requirements
Bandwidth is a measure of how much data can move from your website to a browser in a given amount of time. High-traffic sites with plenty of multimedia content need more bandwidth to keep performing smoothly.
Too little bandwidth can lead to slow loading times, and as a result, an unsatisfactory user experience. In turn, this can up your bounce rate and affect your SEO, so make sure you get a plan with enough bandwidth from the start.
Multimedia Content Handling
Got a website that’s heavy on multimedia content? Things like videos, podcasts, and image galleries need more resources than others. You’ll need a hosting plan that supports high-quality media playback in order to ensure a seamless experience for your users.
That means a plan with extra processing power, more than enough storage, and increased bandwidth to accommodate the rich multimedia content on your website. Some plans will explicitly state that they cater for video and other media, so double-check this upfront.
Understanding Hosting Types: From Shared To Dedicated
The type of hosting you choose is the first big decision. There’s no right or wrong—but there may be a more right option for you!
- Shared: Limited resources (shared with other sites), limited control. Affordable but best for small, static sites with mainly text-based content.
- Dedicated: Plenty of resources, plenty of control (if you want it). Ideal for high-traffic websites and those with a lot of resources, but more pricey.
- VPS: A good middle ground—limited resources but not shared with others. A more affordable option than dedicated, more stable, and reliable than shared.
- Cloud: The most flexible, reliable, scalable, and stable option. However, it’s also the most expensive. But if you want the best, cloud hosting is it.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Hosting Provider
Ready to find your perfect website host? Here are the boxes to tick to make sure you build your website on the firmest foundation possible from the start.
Prioritizing Uptime In Your Hosting Choice
Uptime is when your site is available to be viewed. Downtime is when it’s offline and unavailable for visitors. To stay visible and visitable, choose a host with an uptime guarantee of 99.99% or more.
Four nines is the industry standard. Three nines are okay for smaller sites that don’t get a lot of traffic, but don’t be stingy here—downtime can cost you traffic, sales, and reputation!
Website Speed Is A Key Factor For Online Success
A great web host will prioritize fast page loading speeds. Not only do faster loading speeds keep your visitors happy, but they also keep search engines happy, so make sure the host you choose is speedy.
Look for a plan that uses solid-state drives (SSDs) for speed and stability, and offers plenty of resources to help your site load fast. Do your own speed-boosting things in the background, but building on a solid foundation is key.
Strong Website Security
Security can’t be understated. Your web hosting plan should include multiple layers of security for optimal protection, like SSL certificates, firewalls, malware scanning, access authentication, and automatic backups.
This is a non-negotiable. It’s even more important if your site handles sensitive data, but even if it doesn’t, a security breach can ruin your reputation and kill your website… So choose your web hosting plan carefully based on what security features they offer.
Scalability refers to how easily your web host can adapt to your new needs when your website grows and expands. The more traffic you get, the more resources you’ll need, and your web host needs to be able to scale you up easily.
Choose a host and a plan that gives your website room to grow. Look for flexible plans that are easy to upgrade and can handle increased traffic.
Regular Backups: Your Safety Net Against Data Loss
Regular backups are your lifeline. They’re the kind of thing you hope you never need, but you’re incredibly grateful for when you need them! Don’t make the mistake of choosing a web hosting plan that doesn’t offer regular, automatic backups.
Data Centers: The Heart Of Web Hosting
The location of a hosting provider’s data centers can make a huge difference to your website’s performance. The data centers hold the servers on which websites are hosted, so select a host that has a data center close to where your target audience is.
Close means quicker data transfer from the server to the user’s computer. It’s vital for streamlined, fast user experiences! A web host with a CDN is your best bet, as it leaves cached copies of your website on various servers around the world.
SEO: Boosting Your Online Visibility
A good host can have a positive impact on your website’s SEO. When your host is boosting your page loading speed, keeping your site secure, and making sure you’re online the majority of the time, search engines nudge you up the rankings.
The importance of choosing a stable, reliable, fast, secure web host can’t be overstated! If you’re built on a lousy web host, your SEO will suffer, no matter how hard you try. But pick a stable one, and all your SEO efforts will be rewarded.
24/7 Assistance For Seamless Website Operation
Reliable customer support is essential. If you have an issue with your website, you can’t afford to wait hours to get it resolved. Choose a host with immediate, on-demand customer service: email, phone, and chatbot, so they’re always available to resolve problems.
The best way to get an idea of a web host’s customer service is to check user reviews. Don’t just settle for what the host tells you—do your own research on the side.
Ease Of Setup And Use
Check user reviews to figure out how user-friendly each hosting service is, especially if you’re not very technically minded. Find one that has intuitive control panels, one-click installations, and easy-to-navigate layouts.
There’s no need to choose something super technical if you’re not technical yourself. Find a web host that suits your level of expertise as well as your website’s needs.
CMS vs. Website Builder: Tailoring Your Website’s Foundation
Based on your website’s needs and your own tech skills, you might prefer either a content management system (CMS) or a website builder. CMSs are more flexible and allow for customization, but they might need a higher level of technical knowledge.
Website builders are much more beginner-friendly and usually use templates. However, they’re less flexible and might be difficult to tailor to your website if you want it to be interactive or if you have unusual custom ideas for its design.
How To Choose A Web Hosting Provider
Ready to pick the right hosting plan for your website’s needs? Here’s a quick guide to what to look for.
User Reviews And Reputation
User reviews are a valuable source of information. Check review sites, forums, and even video reviews on YouTube or Instagram. You can also check the web host for any awards or recognition they’ve received in the industry.
Pricing And Value For Money
Consider the pricing tiers of the different hosting plans. This can help you to evaluate their value. Double-check for hidden fees or price increases after promotions! Flexible plans tend to be the best value for money, allowing you to increase or decrease your resources as you need. A money-back guarantee is always a win for peace of mind.
Additional Services And Features
Some web hosts offer extras, like email hosting, domain management, ecommerce features, and more. Make sure the host you choose offers what you need.
Choosing the right hosting plan for your website’s needs isn’t hard… As long as you know what your website’s needs really are! Once you’ve nailed those down, picking a web host becomes a whole lot easier.
About the Author
Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related, at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.
Image by Storyset on Freepik.com