Determining the best web hosting service can be a confusing and time-consuming task. You have to figure out what you need based on the size of your website, what features your site needs, and how much it will cost.
Even when you think you have narrowed down your list to one or two companies, it can still be challenging to decide which is the best one for you.
If you are having your own website, most likely it is hosted on a web host, unless, of course, you are using WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly, or any other similar website builders.
You might not think much about the web hosting thingy, but your website performance does depend on the web host you are using. The right web host for you plays a significant role in improving your website and making sure that it loads fast.
There are different types of hosting which comes in different features. Some kinds of hosting are better for companies, and other varieties are better for personal bloggers or small businesses, and each type is usually more expensive than the other.
After I have used about three web hosts throughout the years of managing this website, I managed to figure out the main criteria for choosing the best web host. Of course, these criteria are not the only ones that matter, and there are quite a few other factors to think about as well.
To help you evaluate the different options available, I created simple criteria that will help you determine whether a particular web host meets your needs.
Server response speed
If you are starting out using any web host, it can be hard to determine if your website loads well through your web host.
From what I have learned, if your site loads pretty slowly, not only people would not want to revisit your site because it takes so long to load, but it is also less likely for search engines to crawl through your website. It will result in a poor user experience for your audience when it is down, which in turn resulting in lost customers or sales.
Search engines nowadays prefer quick-loading websites. The quicker the response speed, the more people will likely visit your site and stay longer there.
If your site is already getting a lot of visitors and it is still slow to load, then I would suggest you look for another web host that can provide fast server response speed. This can be solved by upgrading to cloud hosting if you have shared hosting.
To see if your website loads fast enough or not, you can do the website performance test on GTmetrix or Pingdom. Though, I usually do my test on GTmetrix as it provides much more details as well as the technicalities of it.
For context, I used SiteGround, Hostinger, and Cloudways. While I forgot to test on my site when I was using SiteGround (lol, sorry about that), I managed to compare the performance between Hostinger and Cloudways.
Here’s the performance of my site on Hostinger:
And here’s on Cloudways which I use now:
Anything can happen on your website. And in some instances, you may have no idea what to do or fix, especially if it’s too technical to do so.
Not many hosts out there have excellent technical support services. Some only have a community forum, and that’s it. Some others don’t even offer technical support at all, and it’s entirely up to you to configure.
Personally, you would want customer service or technical support to be available 24/7. Support forums, live chat, or phone applications usually work out best for most people.
It means that at any time you are having problems with configuring your website or hosting technicalities, they are the first point of contact when you need help, and they’ll be there to help you.
While most people would pay attention to the pricing of the web host (me included LOL), it doesn’t mean you should choose the cheapest web hosting because, well, it’s cheap.
Web hosting services are usually priced monthly and come with a different price depending on the type. Shared hosting is usually the cheapest. Cloud hosting is a bit more expensive than shared hosting, VPS hosting is more expensive than cloud hosting, and dedicated hosting/server is the most pricey among all.
Though if your goal is just setting up a website and have your online presence there, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a VPS or dedicated hosting as not only it’s much more expensive, but also it’s more complicated to set it up.
I used SiteGround, Hostinger, and Cloudways (my current host), and among all, SiteGround is the most expensive. I had to cancel the SiteGround renewal and switch to the other host (which is Hostinger) since the renewal pricing cost me four figures in my local currency (think paying a thousand dollars for the renewal), which is WAY too much.
Cloudways is the cheapest if comparing to both Hostinger and Cloudways. Although it’s pretty cheap per month, the performance is also the best.
I did explain further why I switched from SiteGround to Hostinger right here. Of course, I will blog on why I switched from Hostinger to Cloudways sometime later.
But all in all, the cheapest web host doesn’t necessarily mean you get the worse package, but purchasing a more expensive host doesn’t mean the quality is good either.
Ease of Use
The last thing you want for your web host is a complex, confusing interface or having to go through mounds of things to get things going. You want to be able to get your site up and running immediately without having to ask for too much help.
Most web host backend nowadays use cPanel (or, in some instances, the variations like hPanel on Hostinger) or Plesk. All of them are user-friendly and should not be too overwhelming for first-time users. You should be able to install WordPress with one-click as they normally offer one-click installations too. I personally prefer cPanel because that’s what I have been used for so long.
However, Cloudways hosting does not provide cPanel, but the interface is still user-friendly and much less overwhelming. So it’s not an issue for me.
If you are still overwhelmed with the technicalities and the features provided, always seek technical support to assist you with that.
To decide which web host is best for your needs, you should first examine what features you require and see which hosting service offers those features.
The cheapest option may not always be the best choice as many other factors contribute to the overall quality of a hosting service. Likewise, a high price doesn’t always indicate a high quality service, so be sure to read the reviews out there before making a purchase.
With some research, you stand a good chance to find the perfect web host for your needs. All that’s left for you is to pick one and make the purchase. Or, if you already have one, consider an upgrade.