When it comes to choosing a web host for your websites, there’s a few things to look out for. Web hosting should be feature rich in that it includes all of the components you need to make your websites succeed.
First and foremost, look at the cost. Like anything, the more you pay the better quality you should expect.
You can pick up a web hosting account anywhere from £1. But, there’s a couple of things to consider when looking at price and this comes down to the type of web hosting package you are looking at.
Shared Hosting – This is where a number of people have their websites hosted on the same server. All of the hosting accounts share the server’s resources.
What you need to think about here is how low is the cost? A cheap web hosting account can be feature rich, but that doesn’t mean anything.
The host has to cover the overhead of the server, staff etc. and make a profit. Even the server alone can be around £200 a month plus the software licences etc.
So, let’s say £300. Taking a web hosting package that costs £3 a month, that means there needs to be at least 100 accounts on that server. Now, let’s work in a profit margin – for arguments sake double the cost. That means 200 accounts (not just websites) on the server – all fighting for the same resource.
What you’re going to find is that when you pay more for hosting, the host is probably hosting less accounts per server. This means you’ll get performance.
We’ve got a range of web hosting packages from £3 up to £30 – the higher the package the less accounts there are on the server.
One other thing to consider is when it’s too cheap, the host may just be a reseller for another hosting company. You can pick up a reseller account for around £30 a month. Most of these are unlimited to.
This is risky as the host then can’t work out how many websites will eventually land on the server and it can severely impact on performance. Even more worrisome, reseller accounts can also create reseller accounts that can also create reseller accounts – you get the picture. It’s a really difficult task then for the main host to understand just how many accounts will end up on the server.
This is why we don’t offer reseller accounts. We want constant control of the number of accounts on each server.
What’s the support like for the host you’re looking at? What methods do they have for you to get in touch? If they have live chat, jump on and have a conversation and see how responsive they are.
Have a look at whether they have a knowledgebase and are there lots of articles on there that can help you manage your hosting account.
What are the support hours – will they be there when you need them?
Uptime and Availability
What promises and service level agreements do they advertise? You want something that’s 99%.
Security and Backup
You want to be sure your websites are going to be secure. Carefully read into how your webhost takes care of security. Look past the big ‘Secure Hosting’ titles and deep dive into what information they have that tells you how they will secure your web hosting accounts.
For example, all of our hosting accounts have multiple firewalls and we use Imunify360 on all of our servers to secure your web hosting accounts.
What about backups? Does the host offer them? If so, do you have to pay extra for them? If so, your £3 suddenly becomes more expensive.
Take a look at how often they backup and more importantly, how do you get access to the restore function. Can you do this yourself or do you have to submit a ticket.
Make sure your host isn’t just saying they do backup, but actually all they do is backup the server for disaster recovery. You want to make sure they are backing up for your benefit as well as their own.
Our Premium Web Hosting Accounts come with hourly offsite backups that you can restore from immediately in your web hosting control panel. Our standard web hosting packages range from daily to hourly, again with instant restore.
Server and Equipment
Deep dive into the type of server set up your host has. Is it simple LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) or are they using something else for performance. For example, our standard web hosting accounts use LAMP with Nginx Reverse Proxy and our Premium web hosting accounts use LiteSpeed webserver for outstanding performance.
How do they manage performance. Many hosts use CloudLinux as a way of keeping control of resource usage and security. If this is the case, do they openly communicate their limits and if so what are they? will it be enough for your websites.
Take a look at whether the host is talking about Cloud Based. This means that their servers are held on Cloud Based infrastructure and not physical machines. There are benefits to both so it’s worth digging into this before you decide.
We use the RevCloud platform for our hosting accounts. It means we can harness the power and security of the Google Platform as well as being able to scale quickly.
If you don’t want the faff of moving your accounts, is there a migration service that the host offers? This can be useful.
Check whether the host offers anything else such as free SSL’s, Content Delivery Network or other integrations. Once you know that everything else stacks up, you can begin to look at features.
Remember, don’t just dive in and but the cheapest. Take some time to look deeper into each host. Pay a decent amount for your hosting. If you pay around £15 a month, you’re getting somewhere near a really decent, high performing web hosting account.