Web Hosting for Dummies: How to Choose the Best Hosting Plan

Types of Web Hosting Services

Shared hosting and dedicated hosting are two common types of web hosting services available to host your website.

Shared Hosting

In shared hosting, several customers and websites share the same server. It is the most affordable option because the cost to operate the server is shared between you and these other owners. However, there are a number of down sides, such as being slower.

Dedicated Hosting

In dedicated hosting, you have the entire web server to yourself. It gives you full access to server resources (CPU, Memory, Disk Space), provides maximum security, and comes with a number of luxury features, including automatic backups, dedicated IP addresses, and choice of operating system. The cost is much higher than shared hosting. This is a good choice for websites that require a lot of system resources, or need a higher level of security.

Before signing up for web hosting services, it is important to understand what kind of service your website needs, the kind of server you or your business needs, your budget, and what type of services the web host offers.

Understand What Your Website Needs

Ask yourself the following questions and think about what you really need when you choose a web hosting services.

  • What type of website are you building?

Different types of websites such as WordPress, Ecommerce or static HTML come along with different technical requirements in a web host. It is crucial to know how your website is going to be built before you begin.

  • What are the technical requirements of your website?

Once you know what type of website you are going to build, you need to find out the full list of technical requirements it will have, such as coding languages (PHP, Node.js or Ruby on Rails) or types of databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite).

  • What volume of traffic do you expect?

Realistically, most new websites will have low levels of traffic. If your website receives a lot of daily traffic, it will unlikely function well on a shared server because these servers are designed to accommodate a lot of small websites that have limited demands. It is suggested to go for dedicated hosting in this case.

  • How large is the data you will be storing and serving?

The capacity you require includes both traffic and the file size of whatever you are showing to that traffic. The bigger the file size, the more storage and bandwidth you will need. For example, a predominantly text oriented site will need a smaller amount of storage and bandwidth, while a site serving lots of high quality images will need larger amounts.

  • Will you set up more than one site?

If you are setting up multiple websites, will they each be on subdomains like myothersite.mydomain.com or will they need their own top level domain like myothersite.com? And are there other requirements for your extra websites, such as additional databases?

If you are a newbie, it is recommended to start small with a good shared hosting account. A shared hosting account is cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new sites. It also lets you focus on building your site without having to worry about other server-side tasks such as database maintenance and server security. When your site grows bigger, you can scale up and upgrade to dedicated hosting at a later stage.

How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Plan

We have come up a list of essential features in a web hosting plan. Make sure your web host can provide these to you when you sign up a plan.

  • 99.9% or better uptime

High uptime makes sure your visitors can always reach you by your website, thus not losing any opportunity to make sales. Most web hosts guarantee a certain amount of uptime and will reimburse you for any unplanned outages beyond the service-level agreement. Most shared hosting customers will find themselves perfectly happy with the ultra-common 99.9% uptime threshold. Anything below 99% is unacceptable.

  • 24/7 technical support

You should look for web hosts that offer 24/7 support through multiple channels. Their customer service should be responsive and ready to assist no matter if you have a billing question or need technical help getting unhacked. Reading reviews of the company should give you some ideas on their customer services.

  • Security

A website’s security is largely dependent on an administrator’s behavior and password strength. But sometimes, websites are compromised because of a host’s vulnerability. So, be sure to look for the providers that include firewalls, monitoring services, and other security add-ons.

  • Flexibility

When your online business grows bigger, you might need a better hosting plan to support your website. Always ask these questions while choosing a hosting plan:

  • Can the hosting plan be upgraded easily to a better plan in the future?
  • How much is the cost for upgrading the plan to a better one?
  • And, in case if you want to transfer the hosting service to another company, how easy is that?
  • Storage

Solid-state drives (SSD) and traditional hard-disk drives are two types of web hosting storage. Solid-state drives are much faster and more reliable, but they come at a higher price. Traditional hard-disk drives, on the other hand, are cheaper and typically come with higher capacities.

  • Bandwidth

Bandwidth accounts for the amount of data downloaded or uploaded from a website. The higher the bandwidth, the higher number of people who can view your site at the same time. It will impact your website performance. Many times, most hosting customers will receive much more bandwidth than they will use in a given month.

  • Domain

Look for web host that provides free migration if your domain is registered and hosted with a different company. Some web hosts even offer free domains for the first year of newly registered addresses when you subscribe their hosting plans.

  • Email hosting

If you wish to host email accounts together with your website, then you should look at the email features before signup. Most hosting companies will come with the ability to host your own email (something like email@yourdomain.com).

  • e-Commerce features

If you are running an ecommerce website, it is important for you to pick a web host with sufficient e-commerce features support, including SSL certification, dedicated IP, and one-click shopping cart software installation.

  • An easy-to-use hosting control panel

Most hosts provide a control panel for you to interact with your hosting account. You can install sites, manage databases, make backups, setup security, manage email accounts and plenty more through the control panel. cPanel is one of the user-friendly control panels that you should look for.
If you have any questions about our web hosting or SSD hosting plans, contact us by phone +852 3959 1888 or email sales@dataplugs.com.