Whether you’re new to hosting or you’re a seasoned website maker, choosing the right hosting plan can be overwhelming. There are about a million hosting companies, shared hosting vs. managed hosting, etc. etc. It can be hard to know what you need and what you don’t. Let’s take a look at the major things you should look for, and some things you should avoid.
But first, what even is hosting?
It’s the server your website files live on. Think of your hosting plan as the land your house sits on. (Your house is your website in this scenario! To take it a bit further, your domain name is like your street address.)
What to Look For in a Hosting Plan
- Free SSL certificates: one of the most important things to look for is a free SSL certificate, most likely through Let’s Encrypt. If the host doesn’t offer this, find a new one. Every website on the internet should have an SSL certificate and any reputable host will offer one for free.
- Customer service: Google some reviews to see what others are saying about them. Ask around if you know anyone with their own website. Also, check their tech support hours to see if they’ll be available when you need them.
- Backups: check how many backups they keep. A good host will keep at least one backup of the previous day. You should always keep your own backups, but this is a “just in case” type thing.
- Uptime: your host should have 99% uptime. No excuses.
- cPanel: choose a plan that uses cPanel, not Windows Server. This probably means nothing to you, but it’s definitely the way to go. It makes moving the site easier if you ever need to, and it makes your developer very happy! 😀
- Storage type: check to see what kind of storage the host offers. The fastest way to store digital files is on a solid state drive (SSD). All the new computers have SSDs and your web host should too. It’s twice as fast as the old hard disk drives (HDD).
What You Don’t Need
- EIG and Go Daddy: make sure the company is NOT an EIG-owned company. I cannot stress this enough. This company ruins everything it touches! Stay away! While you’re at it, stay away from Go Daddy too. Shady business practices and horrible customer service are the major reasons. Have a look at some reviews.
- Unlimited storage: a lot of hosts come with “unlimited” storage and make it sound like you NEED unlimited space. You don’t. I have 4 medium-sized sites on a 10GB hosting account and it’s 3/4 full. Don’t let marketing rope you into getting more than you need!
- Email addresses: I recommend against using email through your web host. I’ll write a post about that soon! Use G Suite instead.
- Managed hosting: it sounds cool, but 9 times out of 10 you just don’t need it. It’s more than three times the price of shared hosting, and usually only includes WordPress updates, so the benefits don’t justify the price.
Still Feeling Overwhelmed?
My favorite host is SiteGround. They have the most affordable prices, the best customer service, and all of the “what to look for” bullets.
I love SiteGround so much that I host all my client sites through their reseller program. So if you’re still feeling overwhelmed about choosing your own hosting plan, leave it to me! I throw in managed services that leave other managed hosts in the dust. I’ll keep your plugins, themes, and WordPress updated (and test to make sure everything is running smoothly), I run security scans once per week, I keep track of your backups, and most importantly I’m your point of contact in case something goes wrong. You won’t have to chat with a random person at a large company, or try to figure out issues yourself, I am your website person! Check out my hosting plans to learn more!