Choosing a web hosting provider is not easy. Picking the wrong one could give you headaches and cost you your hard-earned money. Here are a couple of things you might find helpful when choosing your own web hosting provider:
This was the first thing I considered when I was looking for a web hosting provider. I asked myself, “Does this web hosting provider offer the services I need?” My need was simple: a web host that supports PHP and MySQL. PHP, because I wanted to produce dynamic web pages and it is my primary scripting language. MySQL, because I needed a database component. Almost all web hosting providers nowadays provide these services. Your need, on the other hand, could entirely be different. You might need a web host that supports PERL or Python or ASP instead of PHP or all of them at the same time. You might need PostgreSQL or MSSQL instead of MySQL. You might also already have a platform in mind that you want to use, like WordPress. Given the requirements, it’s easy to point out that you need a web host that supports PHP and MySQL.
You should also consider the amount of disk space and monthly bandwidth you’ll be consuming. When I started a year ago, I got myself the cheapest Linux hosting which gave me 200 MB of disk space and 5000 MB monthly bandwidth, which is just enough for me. Right now, after a year of blogging, i’m still only using around 50 MB of disk space. I’d probably upgrade after a year when I find the need to do so. Again, your needs could be different with mine. If you’ll notice, i’m only averaging around 3 to 4 blog posts a month in this blog, so it wouldn’t really consume too much disk space. If you will be hosting pictures or will be uploading a lot of documents, you might want to get a web host with a higher specification package.
Reliability and uptime
When you site is already up and running, you want it to be online at all times. Most web hosting providers claim that they have 99.9% uptime. Using a simple math, given 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, they are only allowed to have 8 hours and a 46 minutes of down time. This is fair enough considering that they would still need to restart their servers for whatever reason or during their planned maintenance of their hosting environment.
Believe me, it’s never nice for your visitors to see errors on your site like “Error establishing a database connection”. It simply drives visitors away. And it will drive you nuts. Don’t just read the testimonials on their sites. Ask around. Do they experience downtimes with their web hosts? If yes, how often and how long do the downtimes last?
There is one hosting provider here in the Philippines that whenever you need to ask for support, you can send them an SMS instead of sending an email or calling them on the phone, and they will also respond to you through SMS in a few minutes. Now that’s very convenient for the customer, because the web hosting provider is giving them another way for them to be contacted.
You can tell that a web hosting provider’s customer support is good when they can respond to you in the fastest time possible, may it be through email or phone. And when they do respond, they won’t tell you any excuses that they cannot give you the service you deserve or help you with your website-related problem.
It came to a point, when I was canvassing for a web hosting provider, when I had this long list of web hosting providers that offer the things I need. All of them offered PHP and MySQL. All of them provided enough disk space and monthly bandwidth. I’ve got several good feedbacks from all of them from the people I know. Everything went down to the price. Of course, if they offer the same stuff, I went for the cheapest one. But do not be fooled! Choosing the cheapest one won’t always give you the best web host.
Do you know a good web hosting provider? Got tips for choosing a web hosting provider? Feel free to share your thoughts.
Thank you to the editors of Web Hosting Search for working with me on this article.