How to Select a Web Host

In an already saturated industry, with more and more Hosting Providers setting shop everyday, it has become increasingly challenging to find a fast and reliable web host! To add to the confusion, the term “web hosting” returns nearly 200 million results on Google! It’s a real dilemma out there; by splashing a few $s, any hosting company can show up among the top few results of popular search engines.

So, among all these, is there a host that really does it the best? The answer is, NO. For every website the ideal host would differ depending on its requirements. In this article, I am not going to say which host is better than the other, because there is no such thing; I’m only going to provide you with some simple steps to ascertain a host that is perfect for their needs. Let’s look at some of these requirements and understand how they would differ from one host to another:

Stability: Server stability of your host should be of utmost importance. There is no substitute for your website’s uptime. To run a successful online business, maximum uptime is essential. Most hosts will guarantee 99% uptime backed by an SLA. However, in reality, the money returned to you for downtimes exceeding 1% is really peanuts compared to the losses incurred due to the downtime. So don’t get too excited about it and ensure that your host is known for its reliability.

Support: Having spoken about stability, you would need support which is spontaneous and accurate. Most hosts will claim to provide 24/7 support. The best way to check this would be to send out mails to their support email id at different times of the day and compare response times. If these are reasonable throughout the day, you can rightly assume that you are in safe hands.

Disk Space: One of the most confusing components of a hosting package, this aspect needs to be assessed very carefully. Do not get tempted by unlimited web space as there is no such thing! First determine how much web space you really need. After all, how good is tons of web space that you are never going to use? Based on years of research and practice, Hosting companies have come to educate themselves that most customers do not use more than 100-200MB of space, hence they will offer 100s of GB just to attract unknowing customers. Do not fall prey to them.

Bandwidth: Another component that is consistently oversold in recent years. You will come across providers offering 1 TB of bandwidth or even 100 TB; look away! Firstly, you are never going to need it, and if you ever do plan to use it, your host will not allow you to do so. They will suspend your websites due to some clause related to Memory/CPU usage in their Terms and Conditions/AUP. Your website only needs as much bandwidth as the traffic it receives. You can easily assess this beforehand by simply multiplying the average webpage size by the number of hits you receive/month.

Server Support: You might want to confirm with your host if the language you are scripting on your website is supported, more importantly the version of the script.

Pricing: This probably proves to be the least important factor while making a decision. Do not settle for a web host just because you are saving a couple of dollars. In the long run, this is going to prove to be a costly mistake. Choose a host that suits all your requirements and without sacrificing on any of the required components, even if it means you have to pay that extra dollar. After all, you only get what you pay for!

Reviews: Once you have finalized on your provider, it would be a good practice to research on it and go through some user reviews based on first hand experiences before you actually sign up with them.

These are the few basic things you would want to look at before deciding who to partner with for your hosting requirements. I hope this eases the process of deciding on an ideal web host.

Good Luck!