Hosting is nothing else than a place where one or more websites are kept. You can consider it as a store with everything that matters to your business. Think of billboards, desks, inventory, cash register, and so on. In the case of hosting, the files of your website are saved. Files such as HTML, CSS, photos and videos. The biggest difference is that you do not have a real space for all your documents, but a virtual space. This virtual space, better known as a server, is connected to the internet. A server is similar to a regular computer that is switched on and connected to the internet day and night. Your hosting provider is the company that owns several such servers. You pay this party, as it were, the rent to put your documents online on one of their servers. Not all servers are equally good. To continue our analogy to this issue: not all store locations are the same. The rent depends on the quality of the store (location, location, surface, etc.). The quality of the hosting providers also differs. In the case of hosting, the price depends on the storage, the bandwidth and the speed. Do you want to spend less? Then you take for example a smaller storage.
What do you pay attention to when choosing web hosting?
We have hopefully given you a better picture of what web hosting is. We have briefly told you which forms of web hosting occur. But of course this is only the first step if you are looking for the best host provider. Below are the factors to consider when you are choosing a web hosting:
- Server uptime
A server is nothing but a computer that is on 24 hours a day. The server is always accessible to the users. You pay to use this server and for the accessibility of this server. But what if something goes wrong at the host? Every hosting provider that we researched has at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This means that they guarantee that your website is accessible 99.9% of the time. Well, you think: This sound great, 99.9% is still sufficient!
In principle there is nothing wrong with this line of thought, but reality is that very few providers comply with this. Why is this so bad? It is clear that your customers or reader will go wrong if your website is down. However, there is more to it. A website today is very much dependent on our big friend Google. For Google it is very important that your website is not offline. This makes sense, since Google wants to promote the user experience.
- Data traffic
Data traffic, also known as “bandwidth” or “bandwidth”, is the transfer of your website to the user. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be sent or received via a connection. There are many host providers that claim to offer unlimited data traffic. But there is nothing of that! Usually you just get an invoice or an increase in your costs if you are over your “unlimited” use.
But what is sufficient data traffic? If you are new to the hosting world, I would not pay attention to data traffic that is unlimited. A new website does not need more than 3 GB. They also offer the option to expand as needed!
- Disk space
The Disk space is an important aspect for you if you are going to have a website for videos or pictures. In the case where you need a lot of gigabytes in space. Here too, the word unlimited is not really unlimited. How much disk space is sufficient for a new website? Websites are very small and usually 20 MB is sufficient. In other words, in most cases this is not a part where you have to pay a lot of attention as a beginner. Start nice and small. You can always expand if you need more disk space later.
- Upgrade possibility
You can upgrade simplicity with most web hosting providers if necessary. Usually within a few seconds or minutes! This applies to data traffic and disk space, but there are also other upgrade options that you could look into. Imagine starting with a simple shared hosting package. After a year you notice that the website has grown to such an extent that you go over to a VPS package. Some providers take this into account and have a special service to arrange this for you. You see it right! You do not have to worry about your website being temporarily unavailable. Moving or upgrading from one package to another is a better option than moving to another provider. Moving to another provider always involves a little more hassle.
Nobody wants to pay too much for a product if it can also be cheaper. Personally, I think hosting is really very cheap when I compare it with other things in the world. If you are just starting out and want to opt for shared hosting, you soon have an excellent provider for less than € 10 per month. VPS hosting is a bit more expensive if you do not have knowledge about servers. Managed VPS hosting will cost you € 50 to € 60 per month. If you want to set up a commercial website, then start with shared hosting. Switch to VPS hosting as soon as possible; once your website has enough revenue for a more expensive hosting. As a rule of thumb: every second delay in loading time of your website leads to 7% in loss of users. In other words, literally every second in the online world counts!
User-friendliness is always nice. Whether or not you have knowledge about how servers work. The best web hosting providers always have a clear control panel. A control panel can be used to arrange all kinds of chores of your website. The control panel is there for simple chores, such as setting up e-mail for your website. Or some more complicated chores (eg controlling DNS). This is all possible in a control panel. You have multiple types of control panels. DirectAdmin and Cpanel are well-known control panels. A web host with one of these two options is good. DirectAdmin and Cpanel are extremely popular and therefore you can find a lot of information about these panels online. Make it easy for yourself and choose a host with DirectAdmin or Cpanel!
- FTP, PHP, SSL, MySQL, SQL
A lot of unknown names, but do not be shocked! I explain them all.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is a method that makes the exchange of files between computers (including servers) easier. It is a way to upload documents to your website. You do this with a FTP client.
PHP is a programming language that works on the server-side of the website. So it only works if you put the document in a server. Coincidentally, PHP is also the language that CMS WordPress uses to function. It is important that your server can handle the correct version of the program language, because it works on a server. This is usually the case with the CMS that you want to install.
Are you planning to start a webshop? Or do you deal with personal data in a different way? Then an SSL connection is required. You have probably seen an SSL connection once during online surfing. Or perhaps while online banking. The usual “http: //” then changes to “https: //” and usually a lock is added. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and is a way to secure the connection to the server. Do you work with payment options? Then it is certainly wise to check whether the host offers SSL.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a special program language for the MySQL database. SQL is used for querying, maintaining and modifying data in a database. A database comes in many forms and ultimately carries out a task for your website. You can store data that your website needs. This makes it a very important feature of a website.
- Customer service
This is such an aspect that you do not really think about until you need it. Most hosting companies have excellent customer service. The customer service is not only available almost every day, but can also be reached via several communication tools. You can think of live chat, by e-mail and by phone! But a double-check is always handy.
Related article : Inmotion Hosting Review
Does the host promise 99.9% uptime?
Can you scale up easily with this host?
Does this host have the control panel Cpanel or DirectAdmin?
Does this host have support for PHP and a MySQL database?
Does the host have an (accessible) customer service?