So you have determined you need web hosting and you may have even picked out who you want your provider to be, but now you have to pick a hosting package and you don’t know where to start.
When it comes to web hosting, choosing a provider is one of the most important decisions you can make, but once you’ve decided on a provider, figuring out which web hosting package is best for you can be quite the challenge.
Before we cover which web hosting package is best suited for your needs, let’s quickly review what web hosting is.
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is essentially a place for your website to live. A hosting service stores your website and all its important files and data on a server it provides, which enables the connection needed so visitors can access your website via the internet.
Without the server provided by your hosting service, or the address used to get there, no one would ever be able to find or view your website on the Internet.
Different Types of Web Hosting Packages
The first step for anyone choosing a web hosting package is to become familiar with the different types of hosting packages available, as well as what the advantages or disadvantages of each might be.
While all hosting packages provide the server and connection you need to house your website, they are not all made the same.
Shared hosting has its benefits and is the perfect hosting package for new users and those who don’t need a vast amount of resources. Typically the most affordable of all hosting options, a shared web hosting account exists on one physical server that can house as many as hundreds of other websites, all which share the same limited resources like disk space, bandwidth, and data.
Affordable and good for beginners, shared hosting is a good option to get your website off the ground, but could be problematic for several reasons.
One reason is that shared resources mean that your site might not have the resources it needs to quickly load for visitors when another site on your shared server is experiencing heavy traffic.
Another reason is website security and potential downtime. If any of the other sites on your shared server abuse shared resources, your site may be affected.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
VPS hosting is the next step up from shared hosting, and like shared hosting, a VPS server houses several sites on the same machine. The big difference with VPS hosting is that all the websites on the server are allocated a set amount of resources. So while you’re still sharing resources on a VPS plan, there’s no threat of another website or someone else’s traffic causing performance issues for your site.
Dedicated Server Hosting
Dedicated hosting is a great option for when VPS is no longer cutting it. With a server space that is entirely your own, dedicated hosting means that your website is the only one on the machine, and all of the server’s resources are completely dedicated to your site. Dedicated servers are easy to customize and can even be set up to host multiple sites on the same server for users managing several projects.
WordPress hosting is similar to shared hosting. The main difference, however, is that your WordPress website will share a server exclusively with other WordPress installs. Both your service and support are tailored to the specific features of WordPress, and solutions are optimized to maximize WordPress performance.
Once you’ve had a chance to review the different types of hosting packages available, the next step is to identify and establish your needs.
Establishing Your Web Hosting Needs
Which web hosting package is best for you is largely decided based on the level of resources you believe you’ll need to effectively run your website.
When establishing your website’s hosting needs, there are several factors you’ll want to consider. Below are a few of the most important items you’ll want to evaluate as you begin to do so.
Amount of visitors/traffic
Possibly the most important thing you’ll want to take into account is the amount of traffic you anticipate your website will receive. High traffic without the right resources can lead to extremely slow load times for visitors, and slow load times are proven to deter customers.
How many users visit your site per day? Per month? Answering these questions is the first step in determining the resources needed to effectively host your website.
By definition, scalability is the capacity to be changed in size or scale. Does your web hosting plan allow for scalability as your business grows? Do you need quick access to more resources if you get bigger, or will your package accommodate for growth? If you plan on growing your company or business, scalability is an extremely important factor to consider as you choose a hosting package.
Money is almost always a factor in business decisions, and choosing a hosting package is no exception. You might love the idea of the dedicated resources but only have a budget for shared hosting. Are you more concerned with price or performance?
When considering price, it is wise to look at what hosting package gives you the best bang for your buck.
Hosting Plan Features
Disk space, bandwidth, support options. These are just a few of the features to explore when looking at hosting plans. Deciding which features matter to you and choosing a plan that has the features you want and know you’ll use will make for a better hosting experience.
Almost all hosting plans will have limitations in one way or another, and surpassing limitations can get expensive in a hurry. What limits are a concern? Which are not? It is important to understand the limits of your hosting plan, and if you think you may surpass them, a scalable hosting package may be right for you.
Company reputation / satisfaction guarantee
Does the company providing your hosting plan stand behind their product? Is there a satisfaction or money-back guarantee? Not all packages are made the same as far as making sure you’re happy with your purchase. Some companies may have a “what you pay for is what you get” attitude, while others — like InMotion Hosting — offer a 90-day guarantee on its hosting products to ensure once you’ve purchased a product, you don’t experience any buyers’ remorse.
At some point in your hosting experience, you’ll probably need help with something. When you do need help, what level of support can you expect from your hosting plan? Should you only expect a response during normal business hours? Or can you expect an answer 24/7/365, as you can with the InMotion Hosting support team?
You might not know this, but server locations can largely affect your website’s performance. Finding out where a company’s server locations are may help you foresee any issues with performance or speed down the line. It may be wise to look into a company that stores its servers on Internet Exchange Points (IXP), such as InMotion Hosting. This ensures your site will have some of the fastest response times in the industry.
When looking into web hosting services, another thing you may want to consider is whether or not they have a website builder. If you’re just starting to get your online business off the ground, you might also still need to build a website, so a built-in website creator may be a huge perk.
Once you’ve become familiar with the factors you’ll want to take into consideration, spend some time determining what your hosting requirements are.
Choosing a Hosting Plan
After nailing down your hosting requirements, pick a plan that matches your needs, and try it out. There might not be an exact right answer, but most companies will be happy to help you upgrade your hosting package if you think you need more resources.
If you’re stuck between packages and still not sure which is best for you, there are some additional materials on the IMH Blog that may help with your decision.
Picking the right web hosting package is a critical part of your website’s online presence and performance, and there are many factors to take into consideration when making your decision.
Your best bet is to educate yourself on the different types of hosting, establish what your hosting needs are, and find a plan you think best suits your current needs while allowing you some extra space for when you inevitably begin to grow.
Ultimately, your web hosting package should not matter as much as who you chose to host your website with. If you pick a good web hosting provider, they will work with you to find the perfect solution for your individual hosting needs. InMotion Hosting was awarded by Digital.com with Best Web Hosting Provider of 2020.
If you need help finding your perfect solution, we’re here 24/7/365 with U.S.-based support to ensure you find a custom-tailored plan that gives you the best chance at online success.