The 3 Most Critical Aspects to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

Choosing a good webhosting provider involves balancing a variety of different features with their respective costs. A startup business with very little traffic will need very different web hosting solutions than an established business running complicated software with hundreds of thousands of visitors. Here are some of the most important things you should consider when you’re choosing a web hosting service.


Service is aService Guaranteen extremely important component of web hosting. If your website goes down and you don’t have an in-house tech, the technical support department of your web hosting company becomes the people you rely on. The technical support department of your web host should be both responsive and knowledgeable. There are a couple ways to tell whether or not your web host fits these criteria.

First you can Google the web host for stories or reviews about their service. While this might not work for smaller hosts, larger hosts will have a deluge of user experiences online for all to read.

Testing responsiveness is easy: Just call their tech support department and see how long it takes to get someone to pick up. Ideally you should get someone within 3 rings. If it takes 30 minutes to get someone on the line, then you probably shouldn’t place your order.

If you really want to put their responsiveness to the test, try calling both during peak hours and in strange hours (E.g. 4am) to see if their 24 hour service truly is 24 hours.

Included PackagesIncluded Packages

You should check what comes included with your web host. Today’s web hosts usually offer unlimited domains and unlimited email addresses. However, beyond these two basics there are a lot of variations.

First thing to look for is cPanel. cPanel is what gives you an easy to user interface for managing your website. Many web hosts include cPanel for free, though some charge for it.

If you plan on running WordPress, PHPBB or other such common plugins you should also look for a one-click install system, such as Fantastico.

Finally, if you plan on writing your own code or running custom programs make sure the version of PHP, MySQL and/or Apache works with the software you plan on installing.

Your Processing Needs

The kind of hosting package you need to purchase depends in large part on how much processing power you need. Yes, it’s true that most hosting providers give you “unlimited bandwidth” even on a small shared hosting package. However, what’s not unlimited is the processing power you take up on the servers.

The primary limit of servers isn’t bandwidth but processing power. If you’re running an analytics system, custom software, dynamic websites and a variety of other programs that need to process every time a visitor lands on your site and you’re getting tens of thousands of visitors – Then you’re going to seriously tax the system.

Data Processing NeedsWith shared hosting, you’re usually sharing your processing power amongst 50 to 400 websites. With a Virtual Private Server (VPS) you’re usually sharing with between 5 to 25 people. With a dedicated server, you’re the only one with access to that computer’s processing power.

Keep in mind that if you’re on a shared server, you’re vulnerable to someone else using too much power causing your site to run slow. For example, if someone else’s site suddenly gets 20,000 people to their site in a day, maxing out the server’s capabilities, your own programs will run very slowly because you don’t have those resources anymore.

At the end of the day you need to make a decision about your own server processing needs, your need for stability and the price you’re willing to pay. Shared hosting is the cheapest option, followed by VPS then a dedicated server. Each gives you more power, but costs more money.

Making Your DecisionDeciding the best web hosting provider

Start by choosing whether you want a shared host, a VPS or a dedicated server. Keep in mind that you can always move up. Then look at the potential hosts and see which one(s) have the features you want. Make sure they have the capability to install any software that you might want to use in the future. Then test their technical support by placing a test call to see their response time.

Finally, compare the different levels of pricing between the hosts you’re considering. At this point you can make a fully informed decision as to which host to go with.

As for our recommendations, we’re hosted with LiquidWeb using a dedicated server provided by them and we’d highly recommend them for their super prompt service.  If you’re looking for a shared host, apart from LiquidWeb, we’ve also used HostGator who’ve been very good and they have some packages available in the lower price range for people looking to test things out.

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