We at Top11Hosting understand that this process can be pretty confusing and time consuming, so we try to outline the most important and easy-to-understand factors that you need to consider when choosing your web hosting provider.
If you wonder how we came up with the winner of our Web Host of the Year award, here is the process we follow, which is the process we recommend you follow as well.
Before you start evaluating your web hosting option, one thing you need to confirm is:
What are your website requirements?
Do you need a simple website that you can build using an online website builder tool or using platform like WordPress? Most web hosting providers will provide you by default with an online website builder, or a click installer for the WordPress platform (20% of the internet sites use WordPress!)
If you have more complex requirements, check with your designer / developer on the details, such as platform: Linux or Windows, technolgies used for your website such as PHP / Java / ASP. NET, database requirements such as: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, etc.
Don’t worry if it gets confusing in our directory we include businesses that can help with any of your requirements
Packages and scalability:
Does the host offer more than 1 package? In addition to shared / WordPress hosting, does the host offer opportunities for growth such as VPS or dedicated or Cloud servers?
It is important for everyone to understand how important it is for a host to be able to offer scalable solutions with an easy upgrade option. If your site needs more resources later, you need a provider that can provide you with a more powerful solution such as VPS or Cloud Server, and offer you seamless migration to such a package as well.
We found that some of the companies in the company are limited to a single plan or specialize primarily in shared hosting, which at some point is out-grown by most hosting clients. Some providers will not offer much help if you need to migrate from one package to another.
In addition to your standard features such as disk space (most providers offer unlimited / metered disk space) and bandwidth, there are few features that we believe should be:
Website Builder or optimized for the WordPress hosting package – for those of you who plan to build their website from scratch through Website Builder or those who migrate from another WordPress based package. The good news is that 99% of all web hosting providers include these for free.
Free SSL Certificate – Google requires all websites to be secured via SSL and will be decreasing Google Search ranking for websites lacking SSL certificates. If you have more than 1 website hosted, make sure you get a package that offers you free SSL for all your websites. There are several providers offering free SSL for one or more websites, but its free for the first year or billing cycle only, after which you may be charged a hefty fee for each SSL installed.
Backup – It is important that your web hosting company offers a backup solution. Most providers will include backup as a free service, some will offer it as an additional paid service, some will not offer it to their lower end packages at all.
cPanel Control Panel — being the industry leader — goes to a company that offers cPanel allowing you to easily migrate from one cPanel based hosting provider to another. cPanel allows for easy account transfers with almost 0 downtime.
Assistance for migration – most cPanel based providers will offer free cPanel for cPanel migration assistance, or WordPress for WordPress using some of the more popular and readily available WordPress migration plugins. Please note that pairs of providers will charge for migration so you will have to either do it yourself or get professional help.
Malware / Anti-Virus Scanning – Make sure your hosting provider includes some form of online security scanner that protects or detects any infections within the website applications. Some providers will include these for free, some will charge extra.
Free tools – most hosting providers will offer 1 Click install solutions that will allow you to use for free some of the most popular open source scripts out there, including WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, Magento, etc. The rule of thumb is the more the better.
Speed- Check to see if the Web Host company provides additional speed related tools or optimizations such as caching, performance optimized WordPress, free CDN. These all make a difference especially for WordPress based websites
Develops friendly features (advanced) – these features are mostly important to the developer community, or your website designer / developer, and may not be in the interest of anyone. Some features to watch out for are: SSH access, SVN / git support, other technologies: Ruby, Python, Perl, Java, ASP.NET, NodeJS, Laravel, WP-CLI, databases: MySQL / MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MS SQL,
While you can find lots of offers from virtually all web hosting providers, you want to pay particular attention to the original special price offered vs. their renewal price. Most web hosting providers will offer their best deals for longer payment plans, such as 3 years.
If you go to the 3 year plan, make sure that the web host can offer you lower price renewal or keep the same price for the renewal. We’ve seen providers offer super aggressive discounts for their original price, such as 80% or more, and then the renewal price increases by 500%!
This completes our list of recommended features that you should review and discuss with your potential web hosting provider. Good luck!