In order to make a website, you need a hosting. But how can you choose a good one, when Google shows 12 000 000 results on a query “buy a hosting for a website”? In this article we will review the most important indicators that the hosting is actually good.
The number of available domains
A lot of website owners have other projects, for example a personal blog. If the stress load on it is small, then there is no need to purchase a separate hosting for it. Both website would easily work on a single one. But here lies the caveat — some companies forbid you from creating more than one website on a cheaper hosting plans. Which means, that such small-scale projects require another purchase or an upgrade.
Even if you do not plan to create a second website on the hosting, think about it. Maybe in a year you’ll decided that you need a second online store or a blog for your spouse. So when choosing a hosting pricing plan, make sure that you can attach all your domains to it.
An ability to install SSL
SSL — is a certificate that allows you to used encrypted HTTPS connection. And if you work with financial info, messages or even simply collect logins and passwords — you need SSL.
Besides, Google has been actively promoting SSL — websites that have this certificate get higher positions in the search results. And Google Chrome won’t even access the link that leads to the website without SSL.
The problem is that a lot of hostings allow you to install SSL certificates only on the more expensive plans. So before you purchase, make sure that SSL is available for your chosen plan. If it’s not — you really should start looking for another option.
A convenient and functional control panel makes your life easier. WordPress installation, subdomain setup and settings editing are a considerable pain without a proper control panel.
A world standard for control panels is cPanel. vDeck and ISPmanager are also quite popular among some providers, but their market share is considerably smaller. All three panels have some small quirks, but overall they are at feature parity.
At the end, it’s all about what you are used to. If you know cPanel, then you shouldn’t switch to ISPmanager without a good reason. Everything will seem illogical and not thought-through. On the other hand, an advanced ISPmanager user will not appreciate the single-threaded approach of cPanel.
So before you pick your hosting, make sure what exactly control panel is in use. Otherwise, you’ll have to relearn nearly everything you know.
The availability of tools and config files
There are hosting companies that will grant you full access to the hosting control panel, where you can edit the config files, change settings and overall optimize your website’s performance.
There are hosting companies that do not to that. There you will get only the access to your website control panel, for example, wp-admin. And in order to upload a file via FTP or change some values in .htaccess, you’ll have to submit a paid ticket to tech support.
You really shouldn’t work with these hosting companies. Even if you remove the money out of the question, you’ll still be wasting time.
So before you purchase a hosting, take note of this. Look over the website and pricing plans, then write to the support if you haven’t found the answer. Even if you do not need those tools right now, everything may change in a blink.
Modern hostings come equipped with SSD-storage. Those are 10 times faster than the old HDD. In the most extreme cases, a hybrid system is utilized — files are stored on the HDD, while the database is on SSD.
SSD-based hosting companies work much better overall. That’s why in 2017, there is no reason to purchase an HDD-only hosting. Even the hybrid systems are interesting only because they offer unlimited storage space.
Differences in pricing once the first period is over
A lot of companies lure you in with promises like “Superhosting with SSL and free domains for $30 a year”. And it’s actually true. For the first period.
Once you try to renew, you realize that you have to pay much, much more. Sometimes double or triple. So do not get distracted by the alluring starting prices. If it is really that cheap — something must be off.
So before you purchase, make sure you know all the prices and are sure that the renewal price will not differentiate from the starting one.
The cost of additional services
Every website needs access to the mail server. And modern hosting companies usually allow the website owners to create e-mail accounts like email@example.com.
But some hosting companies make you pay to create them. And the most penny-pinching ones will even make this a subscription. Which means that once you create a couple of accounts, the hosting price skyrockets.
Tech support response speed
Any user will sooner or later face a problem that can be solved only by the hosting tech support. And if you have to wait for that support for a whole day, and then convince it that the problem is on their side — it’s unacceptable.
So before you make a purchase, explore the forums, hosting catalogues and other resources that are related to the subject. Read the reviews from users as well as the messages from the hosting company’s representatives. Everyone has a couple of disgruntled clients, but if the number of negative reviews exceeds the number of positives — it’s not a good sign.
Another good test is writing to the tech support before you purchase a hosting. See how fast they respond. If you don’t like it — keep looking. The hosting market is way too large for you to stick with one sub par provider.
Overall, choosing the hosting is not an easy task. It can take weeks to try all the demo periods, value all propositions and choose the best one. But considering the amount of problems that come with having a bad hosting — it’s worth it.
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