Choosing a web host for your online project can be a challenge, since each website is unique and has its own, unique requirements. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all-approach to recommending a web host. Just because your favorite bloggers recommend using GoDaddy or Bluehost doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use one of these companies. Their needs might be, and probably are very different from yours, so take your time to compare multiple web hosts to find the optimal solution for your unique case. Hopefully, this brief post will steer you in the right direction.
1. Know Your Needs
Knowing what you need improves your chances of getting what you’re looking for. So, start off by making a list of requirements. This can be a difficult task for beginners, since most aspiring webmasters have no way of knowing which parameters will work for their sites. If this is the case, you can ask yourself the following questions to determine your hosting needs:
- What type of content will you publish? Will you upload lots of videos and high-res photos or will you mostly rely on text-based content?
- How many visitors do you expect to get in the foreseeable future?
- Is it a local business? Do you require servers in a certain location?
- Do you need any add-ons (offsite backups, email services etc.)?
- What support type do you expect to get? Is email support enough?
The more specific you are, the more valuable recommendations are likely to be.
As a rule, many recommendations and reviews come from satisfied users. While this can be undoubtedly nice and trustworthy, more often than not these users have nothing to compare their favorite services to. The web host they’re using can be quite satisfactory, but still there are plenty more fish in the sea.
Trying out different web hosts can be time-consuming, so you may want to read professional reviews instead of testing each single candidate yourself. Seek out meaningful reviews that use different criteria to compare web hosts, like those published on InexpensiveWebHosting.org. In addition to the reviews, there are handy comparison charts allowing you to compare multiple companies in a fast and efficient manner.
3. Beware of Gimmicks
Nothing is free. Especially when it comes to web-related services. Many web hosting companies offer tempting promotions promising free domain names as a gift, unlimited storage and other goodies. Before getting carried away by these shameless gimmicks, you might need to take note of the following things:
- Who owns the ‘free’ domain? As promised, you’ll get your domain name free of charge, but the hosting company will retain the ownership. This means you’ll have to pay a hefty sum to buy your domain back in the future.
- What about renewals? As promised, your first year is free. But when it’s time to renew your domain it appears that you have to pay a 200% markup.
Avoid signing long-term contracts unless the web host has an excellent track record. Don’t hesitate to share your experience in choosing a web host in comments :).
Basil Mac is a web host expert who mostly spends his time researching and reviewing web hosting companies and related web services. Feel free to contact Basil anytime – he loves meeting new people.