Web hosting can be difficult to understand for first-time buyers. There are many factors that you want to consider when finding a hosting plan which is suitable for your requirements. The important thing to remember is that everybody has different needs and there isn't one hosting package which is going to be best for everyone.
Therefore, the first thing to do is consider your needs and see what companies can provide you with exactly what you're looking for.
Reliability / Uptime
One of the most important factors for any webmaster is hosting reliability. There is nothing worse than a host always being down because it means that visitors cannot access your website. Anything below 99% is considered unacceptable and stable servers with more than 99.5% uptime are recommended.
You can track web host reliability and uptime using a number of free tools. One of the most popular free tools on the market is Uptime Robot (uptimerobot.com). This free online tool will check your website every five minutes to see if it is online.
Disk Space / Data Transfer
Nowadays, the amount of disk space and data transfer provided on cheap plans is often enough to handle fairly large websites with a moderate number of visitors each day.
Shared hosting plans often offer unlimited disk space and data transfer and limit their service in other ways. You may be limited by the number of simultaneous tasks, cron jobs, or concurrent processes depending on the package or provider.
If you go for a VPS, dedicated, or cloud-based hosting package then you can usually upscale your plan according to your needs. This means that you're only paying for the resources that you actually use.
One of the most important things for most people is the cost of the web hosting plan. It's possible to find free hosting, but free plans are usually very limited and unreliable. Entry-level shared hosting plans generally go for about R100 a month depending on your hardware, bandwidth and storage requirements.
You should try to assess what you need from a hosting plan before looking at prices. Once you know what you want, try to find a number of companies that offer suitable plans. Then look to see which one provides a good service and value for money. Remember that the cheapest options aren't always the best option.
If you have a VPS, dedicated server or cloud package, you can often easily update your server to meet demand. For example, you can add more RAM or storage when you need it. If you find that you've outgrown your current setup, you should use a host which allows you to quickly and easily upgrade your plan. In this way, you only have to pay for the service that you use and can be more cost effective.
If you're not very technical and prefer not to create databases, edit PHP files, or install scripts on your server then you should ensure that script installers such as Softaculous are available. Most hosting plans come with cPanel which usually includes Softaculous for installing scripts such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.
Subscription Period & Refund Policy
Most providers have monthly subscription periods available. In some cases, the first month is free or they have a 100% money-back guarantee if you're not happy within a specified time period. With some companies, you may be required to sign up for a longer period such as one year in order to receive the best price.
Companies that offer refunds and short subscription periods are confident that customers will want to continue their subscriptions. This is also good for the customer because you can test a number of different hosting providers for free to see which one works best for you.
Customer support is an extremely important aspect of any business. You want to look for a hosting provider who gives excellent customer support and a number of ways to be contacted. You should expect a support team who can be contacted by a combination of phone, email, social media, live chat.
There are many things you should consider when looking for a new web host. Two of the most important factors are uptime and support. Then you need to consider what would be most suitable for your website. You generally have a choice between a shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud plan and each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, you will be fine with a shared environment, whereas in other instances, you will need something more powerful.
There is not one hosting package which is best for everyone. The best web host for you is the one that provides exactly what you need, gives you great service and support, and is reasonably priced.
Contact Us to find out more about our professional website hosting services.