Advertisement
General

Quick Tip: Choose a Hosting Provider Based on Your Needs

by

In this quick tip, we'll look at how you can pick the hosting provider which best fits your requirements. We'll look at asking the right questions and more.

Most people choose hosting providers based on pricing and the reviews those providers have. While these are hugely important in choosing a hosting provider they don't always result in the best provider for you. In this article I'll highlight some ways of finding the best provider possible to fit your needs.


Determine Your Needs

To find a hosting provider to fit your specific needs, you should first ask yourself what type of hosting you'll need (read below for details on different types of hosting). This might include whether you need services such as Instant Script Installers or free 1-800 Numbers, along with how much space and bandwidth you might use, if you need Live Chat, Phone and Ticket Support and if you need the support to be 24/7/365.


Image courtesy of PhotoDune

While these things seem like basic questions, when you're shopping for a hosting provider you will need to know how much and what you need so you don't end up paying for features you won't use. Keep in mind; if a hosting provider doesn't have everything you need, that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't go with them as you can always order extras like 1-800 numbers from other companies!


Different Types of Hosting

Finding a web hosting provider can be tough, and we know that. There are so many options and pricing plans to choose from it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. First, determine what type of hosting you will need.

Below are some of the most popular types of web hosting and what they are best for. More details can be gleaned by talking with a hosting provider (they're usually more than happy to help you in picking plans).

  • Shared Hosting - Great for single websites and for people that don't need the resources of a full server. If you only need one cPanel account and don't use a lot of traffic or bandwidth this plan would be great for you. Tip: A lot of people tend to think shared hosting means you'll have to share your website with someone else, that's not true - it means that you're sharing the server's resources with other websites. No one can access your files but you and your hosting provider!
  • Reseller Hosting - Great for people who host multiple websites or host on behalf of their clients. Most web designers and start up hosting providers use these plans to get a kick start to their business. This option is more like a shared plan though, the resources are very limited and you'll need to upgrade eventually if you plan to scale your business.
  • Cloud Hosting - Great for people that need a scalable solution, meaning you expect your website to grow at a fast pace and don't want to be bothered with upgrading servers every month. Cloud Hosting allows you to upgrade your hosting immediately from your web hosting provider's client area (depending on the hosting provider). A lot of hosting providers are moving from VPS's (see below) to Cloud Servers are they are pretty much the same thing nowadays.
  • VPS Hosting - Great for people who need more than a Shared or Reseller plan, but don't yet need a dedicated server, or are on a tighter budget. VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. This means it is your own server, but virtually there are more VPS's on a single machine. VPS's are also great for learning server management.
  • Dedicated Servers - Great for larger websites which use a lot of resources (Diskspace, Bandwidth, RAM etc), web designers or hosting providers that have a bigger client base and need their own dedicated resources to ensure the best uptime and performance possible. A dedicated server can be expensive, but if you're looking for good performance it's the best way to go!

Be sure and ask yourself if you do plan on scaling in the future. If you do, you'll want to find a hosting provider that offers a variety of plans so that you can upgrade with ease if you ever need to. It might be difficult to imagine that one day you'll need a dedicated server, but if you work hard on your website and start getting a substantial amount of traffic, you're going to need to upgrade eventually. If the provider doesn't offer a variety of different options feel free to ask them if they have sister or parent companies that do offer other plans - some hosting companies have multiple companies for different types of hosting.

Quick Tip: If you don't know how to manage a server you're going to need to find a provider that offers server management. Managing a server can be very tough and takes lots of knowledge. If you don't know what you're doing you could potentially harm all of the websites on your server. Management can be expensive, but trust me, in the long run it could save you serious problems. Please note that this only applies to Cloud Hosting, VPS Hosting and Dedicated Servers.


Questions to Ask

The next step is to think of some questions you'd like to ask the hosting provider (even seemingly unimportant things such as asking for a discount). You'll know from your first line of communication from a hosting provider if they're friendly and willing to help you. I have listed some questions below to give you a starting point, but keep in mind these questions are only examples so don't just regurgitate them without thinking first.

It's also advisable to save the chat (just incase). It's always good to keep records of things like that.

  • Do you have an Uptime Guarantee? If so, do you give account credits for the time my website goes down?
  • Do you provide a automatic script installer and a free 1-800 number?
  • What type of support do you provide? Phone, Live Chat, Tickets or Email?
  • Do you have an average support response time?
  • If my _________ (eg: Wordpress) installation starts giving me errors, will you try and help me resolve the issue?
  • Do you offer a money back guarantee? If so what is it?
  • Are you guys running any type of promotions right now to save me a little bit of money?

Asking questions such as these will help you glean whether the hosting provider will fit your needs - and by talking with a staff member you can tell how they interact with their customers. Feel free to add your own questions into the list above, you can contact most hosting providers via Live Chat or Phone for sales inquiries depending on the hosting provider. If you don't see either of these options just look for a link that says "Contact Us" or "Support"; you'll most likely find these in the main navigation or the footer of the hosting providers website.


Find Customer Reviews

Your last step is going to be to lookup reviews of the provider that you're thinking about buying web hosting from. This is essential when looking for a provider because you want to make sure that they make their customers happy. Always keep in mind every provider will have some bad reviews, but that doesn't mean they're a bad provider because (as you probably already know) you can never please everyone. Finding reviews on hosting companies will be the easiest (and possibly most crucial) step in finding a provider. Below are some review sites, feel free to click the links and start your search.


Conclusion

To conclude this article, I would like to reiterate that it's never easy to find a hosting provider, but with the steps above I hope that it will make your search much easier. If you have any questions at all, or need any assistance please comment below! Also, feel free to list your hosting provider to help others in their search.


Further Reading

Related Posts
  • Computer Skills
    App Training
    Demystifying Microsoft Office & Office 365 PricingOffice logo
    You want to buy Microsoft Office, but which suite should you get? This tutorial will help you choose the best for your usage and will guide you toward a better understanding of how Microsoft has structured its most popular software offering's pricing.Read More…
  • Code
    Plugins
    Choosing the Right Plugin for Your Next WordPress ProjectPlugin icon 400
    Ever needed a plugin for your WordPress-based website? Of course! After all, that's how WordPress is extended, isn't it? If you're a beginner to WordPress, or even a power user, then you're likely familiar with the WordPress plugin repository, premium plugins, and so on. The thing is, there are so many plugins available that do many of the same things, it can be difficult to determine which is best suited for your particular needs. This raises the question: What do you do to find the perfect plugin for a particular need? In this post, we're going to see how to find the best plugin for exactly that.Read More…
  • Business
    Communication
    Set Up Whitelabeled Email in the Cloud for Your Clients With AtmailAtmail preview
    If you've ever wanted to offer a high quality email service to your clients, tailored to fit their needs, Atmail fits the bill perfectly.Read More…
  • Code
    Articles
    Interview With Eric Bowman of Gilt.comEric bowman retina preview
    While most of us have built really cool websites, realistically speaking, few developers have had to worry about the complexities of managing and scaling incredibly large websites. One thing is putting up a site for a small company to ensure they have a great presence and another is trying to figure out how to scale your site so it won't buckle under the load of thousands of users. I was fortunate enough to chat with the folks a flash-sale site Gilt.com which has received quite a bit of press over the years and seen tremendous growth. It's opportunities like these that allow us to probe the team that manages these sites and learn how they handle their day-to-day business and technology. In this interview, Eric Bowman, VP Architecture at Gilt Groupe takes us through some of the background behind the site and the technology decisions behind keeping the service running smoothly.Read More…
  • Code
    WP101 Training
    Beginning With WordPress: Getting Started With Self-Hosted WordPressBeginning with wordpress
    Here we are, the conversation continues: In the last post, we talked about deciding between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Considering that you're reading this article, you must be someone who is interested in having full control of your website. To that end, welcome to the wonderful world of self-hosting an installation of WordPress. Now what?Read More…
  • Business
    App Training
    How to Set Up Your Online Business Presence With SquarespacePreview online setup with squarespace
    In today’s technology-driven world, having a website for your business is an absolute necessity and probably the most important part of marketing. Almost a third of the entire world’s population uses the internet so whether you’re a freelance writer, a web developer, a professional speaker, an estate agent, or a micro business owner, it’s crucial to have an online presence that not only looks professional but can provide essential information to your customers. As part of our series Setting Up Your Business Online Without Coding, I’ll show you how to create your own professional, not to mention gorgeous, website with Squarespace that won’t require you to enter a single line of code.Read More…