Picking the Right Web Host: Quick and Easy Tips
For online content creators, picking a web host can be a bewildering process. There are countless options to choose from and each makes so many promises it can feel a bit like online dating. Are you searching for website hosting or your next hot date? Shouldn’t one be a lot simpler than the other?
If you know what to look for, it can be. Finding the perfect web host is about three things: understanding your bandwidth requirements, selecting a suitable format and identifying key features and capabilities. Knowing what you want your content to do is half the journey as it determines how it should be hosted.
Whether you’re considering basic website hosting or something with more support such as WordPress hosting, keep your goals in mind. Choose a web host that makes your content extraordinary. Keep reading for more tips and advice.
What Type of Online Content Are You Creating?
First, determine the type of website being hosted and the specific features it will need to embody this identity. For instance, personal blogs and other fast moving content platforms benefit from conveniently placed social sharing buttons and feedback management tools. Ecommerce stores need a lot from their web hosts in the form of payment security, data protection and shopping cart software, while online portfolios are low maintenance affairs with minimal requirements.
Blogs, Rolling News Websites and Online Journals
Websites that are frequently updated with short, uncomplicated posts such as celebrity news updates or online journal entries are made for WordPress hosting. Today, WordPress hosts more than a quarter of the world’s websites. It owes its popularity to the fact it enables inexperienced content creators to build fully streamlined ‘one click’ website installations.
If you want a website that’s rich in visual detail but low in effort, WordPress is a wonderful choice. Choose from a variety of hosting packages – from basic scrolling feeds to more sophisticated web templates and designs – and enjoy features like unlimited bandwidth, dedicated tech support and pre installed widgets and programs.
Ecommerce Platforms (Shops and Marketplaces)
If you’re planning to sell products online, you need a web host that provides responsive payment and data security. Design and aesthetics are still important, but the priority for ecommerce platforms is to offer a safe, efficient shopping experience. Your web host must ensure pages load quickly, customers feel safe sharing information and a range of trusted, recognisable payment options are provided.
High quality website hosting for an ecommerce platform will provide robust payment security, beautifully designed templates, safe shopping cart software and email marketing options.
Online Portfolios and Resumes
WordPress hosting is by far the most popular choice for content creators who lack web design skills. Yet, even WordPress can be too fussy if all that you’re hosting is a one or two page portfolio made up of static elements. Online resumes are increasingly popular because they give professionals a range of presentation options that aren’t available with basic Word documents. Instead of sending prospective employers a drab sheet of paper, you can show them a website dedicated to your talents.
Too many visual features can be distracting in this contest, so pick a web host that offers reliability and ease of use. Weebly, for instance, allows its content creators to build portfolios with simple drag and drop tools. InMotion Hosting uses its BoldGrid design tool to create websites that look extraordinary but require only skills. Squarespace and Wix are great for designing online resumes with customised themes.
What Are Your Server Requirements?
The bigger and busier your website, the more advanced its server requirements will be. Personal blogs and hobbyist websites typically start out using shared hosting because dedicated hosts provide far more in terms of performance these platforms actually need. If you’ve got money to spend and you’re determined to enjoy the best possible performance, dedicated hosting on a private server is a good option. It’s the most reliable choice, however, static portfolios and simple websites don’t have the sophistication to use all the traffic and storage features provided.
Shared hosting is best suited to medium websites with moderate traffic. Unlike dedicated hosting, it shares performance capabilities among a number of similar sized websites so that each enjoys affordable hosting with no waste. Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, runs websites on exclusive servers that are powerful enough to manage high traffic, high volume requests. Spend more on a dedicated web host if your platform will be handling lots of visitors and personal data.
Shared Web Hosting
Shared hosting is perfect for first time web designers who aren’t sure what their platform will look like in the future. Shared servers offer high performance at low levels. While they cannot support complex, busy websites, they are very good at running simple scrolling blogs and amateur websites. WordPress is one of the best providers of free and low priced shared web hosting options.
Don’t forget, you always have the option to upgrade to a dedicated web host later. If you’re unsure, starting with a shared host makes sense.
VPS Web Hosting
VPS (virtual private server) hosting provides slightly higher performance than shared web hosting but stops just short of private hosting. Like shared hosting, websites are allocated a portion of a shared server. However, in this case, it is split into virtual machines to provide creators with more storage, traffic and design capabilities.
Choose a VPS host for more control and the freedom to add or change your computing resources whenever you want. The best hosts offer supported software updates, regular patches and reliable storage that uses solid state drives and high performance SSDs. Online creators with expertise might want to consider different root access options, free cPanel licenses and additional CDN services.
You’ve made it. You’re a popular, accomplished web designer and your online platform is in need of some serious hosting. Platforms with more complexity (such as ecommerce stores) require a lot more architectural control, round the clock support, high end security and automated backups. If you’re handling a lot of website traffic and many sophisticated features, the time for sharing is over. You need a private, dedicated server.
Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option which is why content creators should only depend on it if they have high level needs. With these tools, you can expect rapid loading speeds even at times of high traffic, reliable data backups and migrations, sophisticated hardware and 24/7 technical support. You have the freedom to make changes to security systems, operating functions, load balancers and more.
Which Tools and Features Are Essential?
So, you’ve thought about what your online platform will look like and how much power it will need. Now, think about how you’ll allocate that storage and server power. Some websites benefit from a balanced approach, but most have disproportionate requirements. Business websites, for example, often have no payment getaways and minimal data security requirements but a much greater need for fast, dependable email tools.
Ecommerce platforms ( woocommerce), on the other hand, are likely to favour stringent data security and increased bandwidth. If you know your website’s power lies in a particular area (email marketing, data security, high bandwidth, etc), looking for a web host that caters to these particular needs can save you time and money.
Domain Name Registrations
Today, the majority of web hosting services come with domain name registration included. Nevertheless, it’s important to know that domain registrations and web hosting are distinct services. Paying for a web host doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get a domain name as well, so always check the features before you buy.
For most content creators, purchasing a domain name and a web host as part of a single package is the best option. If you have a domain name already, but you’re planning to buy a new hosting package, you could use a service that transfers the domain to the new host for free.
Email Addresses and Inboxes
Most websites have a need for uncomplicated, high performing email hosting. Look for hosts offering advanced features such as filtering, forwarding and automated responding, as well as robust data security. Email marketing plays a big part in ecommerce businesses. It’s worth paying a little more to ensure customers always have a direct line of communication to your brand.
See more in our blog.