Choosing a web host can be confusing especially when you are either getting established online or you’re moving to a new host. I have experienced the consequences of choosing a web host that didn’t match my needs. So I wanted to help you as much as I could to avoid the stress.
Before we dive in I want to make sure you understand what a web host is, I don’t think that is always very clear. A web host is where your website lives (think of it as where your content is stored). While your domain is your address.
There are a ton of web host companies out there, all with different services. Some have really great marketing that you may have discovered and signed up for. Others rarely market and so you may not see them as much but your web designer or web developer may recommend them. Like I am doing in this post.
From experience with some pretty popular web hosts, I can tell you which ones are top on my list. Which I’ll get to later, but I wanted to arm you with some information on what to look for when choosing a web host.
Here are some questions to consider when looking…
What is the Uptime?
This is the amount of time that the server is up and running. You want this number to be high because the last thing you want to happen if you send traffic to your website and it’s down. Siteground has an uptime of 99%.
What type of speed will you have?
This is how fast your site will load. A fast loading website increases user experience leading to more people sticking around on your website. You want to keep people on your site longer so you can convert them into loyal customers.
How is customer support?
A great experience especially during those times you may need to speak someone is very important. I started out with some cheap hosting years ago and when I had an issue it took me over an hour to finally speak to someone. You can only imagine my frustration and stress. Do some research and see what people are saying about the host your considering. Also, reach out to them before your even a customer and see how they handle your questions.
Choosing a web host based on security features
Some premium hosting companies like Flywheel and WPEngine have security features in place for their customers. The benefit of this is your host is really staying on top of making sure your site is secure. That coupled with your own security measures in place will lower your risk of site hacks, etc.
Tip: make sure you have a monthly maintenance plan in place to keep your site at optimal levels.
Be sure to ask questions regarding any security features that may be offered.
Ask about how backups work will they be daily, weekly, monthly? Backups are great for when you need to revert your site back to the previous state. Maybe a bad update from a plugin happened and you need to use a backup to get things up and running again.
Stands for standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser. This is important especially if you’re transmitting any personal information on your website. Such as name, phone numbers, addresses, credit card information, etc. This layer of encryption is important. I always check the site for SSL especially if I am going to be share sensitive information even if its an email address. Look for https when you are navigating sites, this will help you identify if SSL is active or not.
Find out how the hosting company you are considering handles SSL, is it free or paid, can you use it on subdomains etc.
At this point, you may be wondering which host do I go with? There are so many options! I am going to make this super simple as most businesses will be just fine with these highly recommended companies I am about to share.
For my more budget-friendly users or users that don’t necessarily need as many features, I recommend Siteground they have great service and fabulous uptime and their customer service is great also.
If you want to take it up a notch and get premium level hosting then you will want to check out Flywheel or WPEngine. These two hosting companies only focus on WordPress so you know they know their stuff. I am a bit partial to Flywheel because they have amazing branding and their customer service is also amazing.
So there you have it! I’ve armed you with some information to get you started. Hosting is very important to your user experience poor hosting can result in a slower site, more downtime. All resulting in lost sales and a major drop in user experience.