Finding a new web host who offers the services and features you need at a price you can afford can be challenging. With so many web hosts saturating the market, where do you begin? Here’s our guide to finding a web host in three easy steps.
Step 1: Determine your needs
Don’t assume your hosting requirements are the same as everyone else. Your needs are unique. The single most important step to finding a web host is determining your needs and meeting them. Make a list of your must-haves, which may include these things:
Web space: How much space will your website take up on a hard drive? Most people pay for much more space than they really need. Unless you’re hosting video files or a photo gallery, you won’t need much web space.
Bandwidth: This is the amount of data that can be transmitted from your web hosting server to your viewers. How many visitors do you expect on your website daily? If you have a popular site or offer eBook downloads, you’ll need more bandwidth than the average person. Most small businesses and blogs will use less than one gigabyte of bandwidth per month.
Budget: How much can you afford to spend? Make a web hosting budget. Some hosts will offer monthly payment plans and with others, you’ll get a discounted rate if you pay quarterly or yearly.
Features: Not every web host offers the same set of features. Will you need a control panel that will allow you install Wordpress or a photo gallery on-the-fly or are you comfortable working with Linux using the command line?
Support: Some web hosts have toll-free phone support 24/7 and others only handle support during set business hours on weekdays. What level of support will you require?
Step 2: Do your research
Read reviews. Hosting reviews written by professionals and clients are your single greatest tool to finding a reliable host. Read all the reviews you can get your hands on and note which hosts go out of their way to please their customers.
Talk to others. If you have friends, family or co-workers who currently run a website, talk to them and find out about their web host is and if they’re a happy customer. Use our convenient ask your friends Facebook link in each review to expert advice from those closest to you.
Step 3: Interview
Just as you would interview for a job, you’ll want to spend some time interviewing hosts. Web hosts offer sales and support channels that range from toll-free numbers and live chat operators to help tickets and standard email communication. Use the tools available. Ask each host any questions you may have and make a note of how the host communicates with you. You’ll want a host that you like, but also one that is accessible and knowledgeable. Some questions you may want to ask are:
Do you have a 30-day money back guarantee?
Where can I read the Terms of Service?
Can I upgrade my account free of charge in the future?
What is your uptime guarantee and will I be refunded if my website goes down for long periods of time?
Now that you have some tools in place, it’s time to find the right web host for you. Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be a budding webmaster in no time!