It is no secret that there are a lot of web hosting firms out there. A simple Google search for web hosting will illustrate that and with each firm seemingly offering the same product or service as the next one, choosing one specific firm from the plethora of options can often be a challenge – particularly for those who are looking to migrate from their current host. How do you know if your new selection are going to perform better? How do you know if you’re making the correct decision? In truth, you’re pretty much going to need to suck it and see as no hosting company is going to tell you they’re below par in comparison to their peers but arming yourself with the correct information and finding a service that specifically suits your needs is a good place to start.
UK or US Hosting
One thing that is commonly ignored is the server location. By this I’m talking about the physical location in which the server your website is (will be) hosted on resides. Is it in the US, is it in the UK or is it somewhere else entirely? Often people overlook this and lots of UK based businesses will be more than happy to host their site in the US and vice versa providing the service (and price) is good. But it isn’t something to be overlooked. You need to consider your websites speed, obviously it’s going to be faster for your viewers to connect to a server in the UK than it would be in the US. Connection times to websites are extremely important and a slower response may well just be the difference in a sale (or not). Secondly, consider support. Do you really want to be calling America if something goes wrong only to be told that it’s 4am in the morning and you’ll need to wait a further 5 hours for a response (all the while your website is down and losing money) – of course not. This is why it is extremely important to be selective and find out prior where the company you’re paying your hard earned money to is based.
The Package? Starter? Business? VPS? Dedicated?
One of the common mistakes when purchasing web hosting plans is either under or over cooking it. By that I mean choosing a package which isn’t really suited to you. Let me elaborate. If you’re running a small website that isn’t resource intensive, doesn’t have a great deal of visitors and so on – do you really want to be paying £200 per month for a dedicated server? Of course not. It works both ways, if you have a high-end website, with lots of visitors using lots of resources, do you want to risk it falling over and your customers not being able to view your website because you’ve decided to scrimp and save on a cheap, lowly web hosting package? Of course you don’t. This is why it pays to know exactly what you need. It will save you time, it will save you money and may well just save your business. It may also help you separate the wheat from the chaff and that can only be a good thing given the sheer amount of options out there.
You will often find that companies will give you a range of plans and pricing options like these where you have the option of hosting 1 website or 10 etc. This is a good place to start and should give you some idea of how web hosting packages particularly compare.
Once you’ve figured out what you think you need, talk to the experts. All of the reputable web hosting firms have live chat options. If you go on one, tell them about your site, it’s resource requirements and how many visitors you’re getting then they’ll be able to tell you first hand which package is right for you. They will not risk under selling as it will be them who has to support it and answer your requests should something go wrong and if they over sell you then they risk losing your business elsewhere. A competitive market is a good market where the customer is concerned after all.
Control Panels and Add-Ons
Those wishing to migrate may well have become fond of a specific control panel such as cPanel so again finding a host to suit just got that little bit easier. But if you’re a first timer who isn’t particularly technically adept, the control panel can become a nightmare. cPanel for the most part is extremely easy to use, newbies like it for it’s simplicity and established webmasters like it because they’ve been using it for 10 years. If you’re unsure, choose a cPanel host – it will make your life significantly easier than using something new and fang-dangled.
Another important factor (for some) is add-ons. This means that from your control panel you’ll be able to install applications such as WordPress or Magento with ease. More established webmasters balk at the thought of these useless wastes of disk space but if you’re unsure what you’re doing it can be a great place to start.
So to summarize, if you want to migrate to a new host or are even a first time buyer, it pays to know exactly what you want (and need) before you begin your search. Knowing what your requirements are all not only save you money, it will save you time as you can quickly disregard the offerings who don’t suit your requirements. Matching a web hosting plan to your site rather than choosing based on price or review score will also give your website the best chance of success. Nobody wants downtime, especially if you’re a business and nobody wants to be paying more than they need to either. Find a balance and your website and business will thank you for it!