Web hosting doesn’t need to be complicated. After all, you are just choosing a company’s computers to host your website on.
It sounds simple.
What makes it difficult is the stress of avoiding a bad buy and all the horror stories you read.
Making Web Hosting Simple
Buying web hosting is like buying a car.
If you choose a car by going through ads, searching for anything under $300, you expect a few compromises. You know all you get is an old banger for that price, that you will give you endless problems.
If you choose your web hosting by searching for the cheapest (possibly as low as $0.99 per month), you can’t seriously expect much. You may not know much about the technicalities, but you could reasonably expect that you will be less happy than if you paid $7.99 per month.
All web hosting is NOT the same. Forget price as your prime filter. WordPress hosting will make WordPress sites perform better than they would on simple shared hosting plans. Small Business hosting is optimised to help small businesses sell more products or services.
Just as with a car:
- Make a list of things you need before you start looking
- Decide what compromises you are happy to make
- Then look in the right places
Don’t be tempted by the ads you see: They hardly give an unbiased picture.
1. Make a list of things you need before you start looking
When you choose a car, you draw up a list of ‘Must Haves,’ things like the number of seats, manual or automatic, and will it fit in your four Newfoundland dogs, six children and a granny or two.
When you choose web hosting, you should draw up a similar list of essentials. Here’s a recommended list to start with:
- 24/7/365 chat support
- Over 90% customer satisfaction rating
- One-click WordPress installation
- The ability to host three domains
- Enough bandwidth and disk space to handle your expected users
- Upgradeability for when you outgrow your initial plan
Ask the hosting company salesperson about these options before you commit.
2. Decide what price compromises you are happy to make
Finance is always a compromise when you choose web hosting, just as with a car. We all want the best, but we don’t all need $200 a month hosting plans any more than we all need a Mercedes 600.
Decide the maximum you are happy to pay for your online platform. Spending more may get you a faster site, but you must be making more sales to pay for the extra costs.
3. Then look in the right places
As an entrepreneur you may have decided to look at specialist hosting:
Q. Every company offers small business hosting, but how do you find a deal you will be happy with?
A. You use others’ experience.
Look for a site that offers reviews of small business web hosting.
The Host Advice screenshot above should convince you of the need to use a comparison review site that collects user ratings. It would be hard to argue 474 out of 485 positive ratings (FastComet Hosting review on HostAdvice.com).
It is essential to understand why you will find hosting reviews on so many of the websites you visit: Every one of the links you see is an affiliate link that earns the site-owner around $100 if you click his link and then buy hosting. You don’t pay any more by buying through an affiliate link, but you don’t get independent reviews either. Many websites do not have the obvious affiliate disclosure statement that they are required by law to display clearly.
The Short Version
You get what you pay for. You need to avoid the cheapest hosting plans because they are not fit for purpose in many cases. Use a site like HostAdvice.com that collects user reviews to get a better idea of how hosting companies perform. If a company has hundreds of customers rating it highly, the chances are your experience will be stellar.
Check out this Noobpreneur article for a more detailed technical explanation of the different types of hosting available to you.