When building a website or planning a redesign, one always asks oneself the question of web hosting choice. Indeed, there are many actors on the market, and it is often difficult to find oneself in the various offers and the technical criteria posted by the providers. Moreover, the choice of a host is far from being insignificant because it will determine your website’s efficiency criteria, especially the speed of your pages display, which will play a role on the general performance and referencing of your site. So do you have the right host for your site? We give you ten tips to select the best option for your business.
1. Choose a Type of Hosting
The first thing to do to select a hosting provider is first to understand the types of hosting for your website. There are 4 of them to date:
- Shared hosting: The principle of this hosting is that you share a server with other customers. This allows you to reduce costs, especially if your storage needs are not very important (if you have a company showcase site, a blog, etc.).
- Dedicated hosting: As its name suggests, dedicated hosting allows you to take advantage of a specific server reserved for your company with its operating system, which can be particularly interesting in terms of security. It is a solution somewhat adapted to high-traffic sites or e-commerce, for example. It is a more expensive solution, so the investment must be consistent with the need.
- VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server): This hosting works in the same way as dedicated hosting except that you have a virtual machine installed on a dedicated server. The VPS allows you to benefit from more flexible possibilities of evolution than in the case of a more static dedicated hosting while saving on the total cost of hosting because the resources are shared. Therefore, this type of hosting is particularly suitable for companies destined to increase with needs that are likely to develop in the medium term.
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting is very close to the principle of shared hosting with the difference that it does not depend on a single physical server but several virtual servers. The main advantage is to offer very flexible possibilities in terms of availability and flexibility since the hosting adapts to your needs in real-time by allocating more or less bandwidth according to your traffic, for example.
Each type of hosting, therefore has its advantages and limitations. The objective is to find the right compromise and the best quality/price ratio according to your particular needs. The above graphic shows the advantages and disadvantages of each hosting.
2. Have a Long-Term Vision
Apart from making savings on its hosting, the main objective for a company is to have a solution capable of evolving with the development of your business. Let’s take the example of a website with few needs to date because the daily traffic remains limited but that you have estimated a strong progression in the medium or long term thanks to significant web marketing efforts. In this situation, it will be better to move towards a solution capable of adapting to these future needs, without technical difficulties and additional cost.
Generally speaking, it is, therefore, better to choose a limited and inexpensive introductory offer when starting, even if it means moving on to a more robust request later on if necessary. So make sure to check that your hosting provider offers several formulas adapted to your current and future needs.
3. Take Stock of Your Needs
When choosing your hosting provider, you must ask yourself various questions, including questions to determine your technical needs in terms of hosting :
- What type of website do you want to set up? Is it a showcase site intended for a geographically limited catchment area or e-commerce with international scope? Do you want to develop several sites or a single site?
- What is the daily traffic you have estimated? Don’t also forget to consider your future marketing and SEO efforts to anticipate future needs.
- How much storage capacity will you need to host your site, visuals and files? The more images your site will have to host, the more your needs will be critical. Also, you will undoubtedly need an FTP server for your company.
- Are you going to use any particular software or applications? Are you going to use a turnkey solution such as WordPress for example? You should know that some service providers offer very easy to use solutions to create your site on this type of platform.
- Do you plan to develop e-commerce in the more or less long term? In this case, you will have to opt for a solution that will allow you to create new functionalities of this kind easily and without limitation.
- How many domain names do you want to buy? Don’t forget to count all the extensions that are interesting for your activity.
- How many email addresses linked to your website will you need?
- What level of security will you require for your visitors and the security of your site? This is especially important if you manage an online store with credit card payment, for example.
This general reflection will allow you to have a more precise notion of the hosting adapted to your needs and ensure that your website’s chosen solution includes all the essential services. Moreover, it will also help you establish a budget for your hosting that will be consistent with your ambitions.
4. Check the Possibility of Hosting Your Email Addresses
Most of today’s hosting solutions offer to host of your dedicated email addresses. These addresses are generally in the following format firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure that the chosen hosting solution includes this service in the cost of the selected package, and that you will have a sufficient number of addresses to support your internal organization adequately.
5. Choose a Host in Your Target Country
Generally, companies are advised to use a hosting provider with physical servers located in the hosted website’s target country. And this is for one main reason: to allow your site to better position itself in your target Internet users’ search results. The servers’ location is a proven SEO criterion, even if of course, it is not the essential criterion for your SEO. But in the context of a reflection on the best choice of host, it is still better to put all the chances on your side. If your target country is Canada, you may prefer to choose a web hosting in Canada.
Also, take this into account when choosing the extension(s) of your domain names.
6. Check the Availability of Servers and Connection Speed
To choose between the many web hosting offers on the market, you will need to compare some technical data. In addition to the criteria related to the proposed formulas (number of email addresses, storage, etc.), certain data, such as server availability or connection speeds, will allow you to determine your potential providers’ performance.
Server availability, which is directly related to the hosting’s reliability, is generally expressed as a percentage and is very often displayed as between 99% and 100%. And while the difference may seem very small in theory, it is much less so in practice. 1% over a year represents more than three days, which can be very problematic for a website and especially for e-commerce, which cannot afford to be unavailable for too long otherwise its sales will drop rapidly.
The connection speed of the servers is also an excellent data to compare for your hosting solutions. Indeed, it directly implies the rate of your pages display, which will itself have an impact on the performance of your site, on your traffic, as well as on your SEO. Indeed, page loading speed is a fundamental criterion of SEM for Google as for all other search engines.
Feel free to compare other technical data that you will find meaningful based on the needs you have identified for your website beforehand. The computer graphics above show some of these criteria that will be very useful in your comparison and final choice.
7. Don’t Neglect Security
Security must also be a determining criterion in your choice of solution. Thus, do not hesitate to compare the tools and security measures proposed in each hosting provider’s resolution, for example, the possibility of obtaining an SSL certificate and IP blocking which can be useful in preventing attacks by hackers. Don’t hesitate to ask the hosting provider about the regularity of automatic backups, to ensure that your data will be protected in case of an incident.
8. Test Customer Service
In the same logic, it is better to opt for a hosting provider offering optimum customer service 24/7 access by phone or chat, especially in case of technical problems. A customer service offering a response by email within 24 hours is also a perfect point for the selected provider. Rather than relying on sales pitch assertions, feel free to test the customer service upstream to test its responsiveness before making your final choice.
9. Read Customer Reviews and Testimonials Before You Start
Even with all these technical comparisons, it will sometimes be challenging to make an informed choice as there are so many offers on the market. This is why we strongly advise you to study customer opinions and testimonials before making your decision and to complete your analysis. The online comparators are also an excellent source of information to identify each proposed offer’s differences quickly.
It’s a fact: every web hosting provider has its advantages and disadvantages, but it’s best to make sure that the penalties are not detrimental to your business and your specific needs. Because if it is true that the offers of the hosting providers are often very close, even substantially equivalent, especially when you just read the sales arguments on the sites of the providers, the authentic opinion of a customer will allow you to draw the true from the false and to start on a compromise adapted for your activity.
10. Compare Prices
Finally, the accommodation also means cost. And even if web hosting offers are often very similar in pricing, this is not necessarily the case when you add the options added to the introductory offer displayed. So be sure to take into account all additional costs to compare competing offers effectively.
For example, you may want to identify the costs of depositing additional domains to calculate an overall concrete cost. Similarly, be sure to pay special attention to the re-subscription cost, as this is often displayed more discreetly than the call price of the initial registration.
With all this information, you will undoubtedly choose the right web hosting solution for your business. The graphic below allows you to summarize all the points mentioned and the different hosting providers’ comparison criteria. The stakes of the right web hosting provider are real for a company, so do not hesitate to take the time to think about it and choose the best solution for your website.