It all starts with a quick Google search: “Web Hosting”. When Google finishes its search in a matter of mere milliseconds, you’ll find a literal plethora of web hosts, therefore a lot of supply for as much demand. However, there’s a main question that is bound to arise in the mind of every potential client: “How do I know I make the right choice?”. Technically speaking, you cannot go wrong with any web host you choose, as virtually every single one of them strives to offer the best service available within reason. However, it usually all comes down to what you specifically need, as there are many hosting solutions available out there, such as: Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated, Managed and Cloud Hosting. Let’s see how you can make the right choice for your needs.
How to Choose a Web Hosting Company?
When you choose your preferred company, it is important to do your own due diligence, meaning consulting as many articles and reviews about the respective preferred company as possible in order to see what the public opinion has to say about the company. That is the first step.
The second step is knowing how to read through the constant marketing stunts these companies make use of. More often than not, you’ll find that many companies like to use the term “unlimited everything” at all points. Technically speaking, they do offer “unlimited everything”, that is not a lie, but if you plan on using shared hosting, you will only be able to use limited resources owing to many inherent restrictions of a shared hosting server – far from the “unlimited everything”label they take pride on.
Case-To-Case Hosting Needs and Options
There are many types of hosting plans available out there for you to pick from: free, shared, virtual, dedicated and managed hosting. Let’s see what each plan can provide you and whether it is suitable for your needs.
1. Free Web Hosting – Is It Really Free?
A quick Google search reveals many hosting companies that offer said “free web hosting”. The question that may arise in your head is: “Is it really free?”. Surprisingly, yes, most companies that your Google search revealed do indeed offer free web hosting. Why? Short answer is, to lure inexperienced users and newbies into upgrading to a premium plan. You’ll also find that other companies do not have any “premium” plans in their offer, so how can they offer free web hosting? They short answer is, they place ads on your website, the revenue of which is directly given to them. There are many marketing stratagems for each company out there, and regardless of how they lure you into building a website with them, there are a few limitations each one of them brings as follows:
- No TLD
When you opt for the preferred free host, you’ll see that they obviously do not provide you a top-level domain (TLD) name. In exchange, they’ll prompt you to make use of a sub-domain, usually in this format: www.yourbusinessname.freehost.com.
- Very Limited Resources
As opposed to paid hosting, free hosts only offer you a few megabytes to use at your leisure. We’re talking about 100 MB at most, which is obviously not enough to implement even the simplest of elements on your landing page.
- No Guarantee Whatsoever
In other words, free hosts, as they do not have any contractual obligations, can waive your right to use their website at any time, for any reason. This is a huge downside and can only determine you not to consider ever using free hosting.
That being said, if you want to launch a serious online business as opposed to toying around with the tools offered by these free hosts, you’d be better off reading on.
2. Shared Hosting – The Birth of Your Business
Shared Hosting is the most popular choice for entrepreneurs who are in need of a cost-effective way of creating and hosting a personal blog or business alike. The concept of shared hosting is fairly straightforward: a server is divided in many accounts that are sold to individual users. Multiple websites are then hosted in the same server and therefore “share” the same hardware, software and bandwidth. This results in very low costs on the consumer’s end, but, obviously, it also presents many problems, mostly related to security and performance. As we previously covered in our intro, there are many companies that claim to offer “unlimited-everything”, but that is not the case. Even if they were able to offer you unlimited resources, you would destabilize the whole network – not only for you, but for the whole server holders.
3. VPS Hosting – A Little Better Than Shared Hosting
VPS Hosting works on the same concept as Shared Hosting does, but the accounts sharing the server are not as numerous, and the server itself is made in such a way that the accounts have their own bandwidth, server resources and IP address, which is a huge advantage compared to Shared Hosting, let alone Free Hosting. VPS Hosting usually requires a lot of technical knowledge to carve out your way to managing to use it, but if you spend a little extra time to learn the basic ropes, it’ll be worth your time, I can guarantee. If you still do not want to spend that extra time, you can prompt your host to help you – for a nominal fee – by buying “Managed VPS Hosting”. If your website requires or will require a lot of resources to house thousands of unique visitors per day, this hosting solution is the best by a large margin.
4. Dedicated Server Hosting – Your Own Server to Play with
As the name suggests, when you subscribe to a Dedicated Server Hosting solution, you are actually renting a physical server all for yourself, without sharing it with any other accounts. In this case, we’re usually talking about hundreds of dollars due to pay each month, depending on the hardware you opt for.
Realistically speaking, you won’t need Dedicated Server Hosting unless your site is somehow the next Facebook. Well, probably not to that extent, but if you need to host tens of thousands of unique visitors per day, you’ll need a very, very apt dedicated server, which only Dedicated Server Hosting plans are able to offer.
What If You Don’t Want to Spend Much on Web Hosting?
The question that should arise in your mind instead is “Is Cheap Web Hosting Even Worth It?”. Probably not. Do you want to turn out a profit of your website? Then don’t be a cheap entrepreneur and pay as much as it is required to impress both yourself and your visitors alike. Every minutia must be taken into consideration.
Is your website a hobby rather than a money making machine? Then you would probably be content even with free web hosting, although I would not recommend that at all. There are companies that offer shared hosting for as low as $1.00 per month (hostgator offer just 1 cent first month to start with), and if you don’t believe that your future website is worthy of a single buck, then you would be better off not even starting an online venture in the first place.
Conclusion: What Company and Hosting Plan Should I Choose?
The short answer is, any company that has accrued millions of customers and as many 5-star reviews as possible (check out our top 5 cheap hosting provider). Preferably pioneers in the industry as well, start from the year 2000 downwards. With regard to the hosting plan, I would personally choose Shared or VPS Hosting, since I doubt anyone with personal website will ever need more than a few gigabytes worth of disk space and bandwidth per month. You’ll also be more aware of your needs, the more you experiment on as many hosting plans as possible, so don’t hesitate to break the ice and buy your own hosting plan today!