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One of the steps of building a website and starting a blog is to choose the right web hosting company.   Caution, this step is vital to the success of your website and blog.

With so many options available, I don’t want you to get lost in all the different options for web hosting.  Most of all, I don’t want you to get hung up on this important decision and not move forward on building your website and starting a blog for your business. 

This article will help you understand what web hosting is and what are the most important points to consider when choosing a good web hosting provider.  

The most important things to choose the right web hosting company are :

  • Reliable Uptime
  • Security
  • Speed
  • Customer Service
  • Pricing
  • Storage Space
  • Company Stability

In addition, you will learn what type of hosting plan to choose and a list of the hosts that I recommend.

First let’s review some of the web hosting basics. 


What is Web hosting?

Web Servers

A web host provides space on a computer called a server so that other computers (and your readers) can access your site on the internet. 

As part of the cost, a web host company frequently provides other services such as customer service, data back ups, domain names and email. 

You will come across lots of web hosting services out there which range from free services to expensive ones. 

Which one you pick will depend mainly on how you are planning to use your site, important business factors and how much money would you like to spend.


Why do I Need Web Hosting for WordPress?

You do not necessarily need web hosting for a WordPress site. 

A WordPress website can be built with the aid of wordpress.org, which is simply a software application. 

Technically, you can download this application for enabling the hosting on your own computer or server.  You would need to have to have technical knowledge for managing and running the server properly. So this choice is mostly for professional web developers and larger companies or governments. 

Another option is to host a blog on the servers of WordPress by means of the WordPress.com service.

A Quick Overview of WordPress.com and WordPress.org 

WordPress.org is a free software application that you can download but does not include the server or hosting.

When it comes to WordPress.org you have 100% ownership over the hosting of the site as well as the content.  So you will need to choose a web host of the many that are available.  (Yep, thats the the whole point of this article)

On the other hand, a site which is WordPress.com hosted implies plans from WordPress.com only.  WordPress.com is more of a complete package for bloggers.  The site is set up and the hosting provider who will take care of everything but there are many drawbacks for bloggers. 

 WordPress.com is not generally used for business websites so you will be using WordPress.Org.


How Do I pick the Best Web Hosting Services for my Website? 

Like any decision, you must consider different factors to make the best choice.

The tips below will guide you on how to choose top-quality web hosting services that will provide your website with the best performance.

1. Reliable Uptime

Being able to count on the various services you purchase is crucial to your business.

Anytime your website is down this will cost you in the form of reduced traffic, lost sales, and tarnished reputation.

Relying on your web host to keep your website online consistently is no exception. This is considered uptime.

You want your website visible on the internet as close to 100% of the time as possible.  Some companies guarantee 100% uptime but these plans may not be affordable to a new business.

99.999% is the next best thing of course. When your online business grows you can upgrade from shared hosting to other options that also include 100% uptime guarantee.

2. Security

Hackers, viruses, malware attacks, even your own inexperience pose a threat to the security of your website.

You could wipe out your website. As a beginner, I tried altering some code on my site and the whole thing went down. Yikes!

Could you imagine the loss of data on a website such as important blog posts, sales records and other information that your online business needs in order to operate.

One of the inherent weaknesses of the opensource nature of WordPress is the vulnerability of the software. Look for security in the form of protecting their own servers from attack and providing backups and protection to your website.

You want a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which encrypts information being passed through your website. Many web hosts offer this for free as part of the package.

3. Speed

When you are on a website on the internet you are accessing remote files stored in the web servers. You type a request (URL) into your computer and the information must be sent from the web servers bakc to your cpmputer.

The server speed and thus the speed of your website must be high.   The speed affects your load speed so that your visitors are not waiting for your site to load.

Google has said speed matters and readers won’t tolerate more than a 3 second load time. Your web host is sending the data request from the server to your reader’s computer. This all takes time so different companies affect the speed of your website.

The average response time the fastest hosting companies will be in the milliseconds. For example, the worldwide average of 129.8 ms is on SiteGround (source)

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3. Customer service

From working with different hosting companies I have experienced different levels of customer service.  

As a beginner, you will want to be able to contact your web hosting company to fix technical problems with your website.  

Imagine the amount of frustration that you will be facing when you will not get adequate help while you need them most.

It is important for the web hosting provider to offer the options of ticket-based and phone-based customer service. 

I have been on the phone with some service providers for up to half and hour waiting for a response.  On the other hand a couple of difficult issues were resolved with my current host in less than 10 minutes .

Also, look for the option of Live Chat. 

4. Pricing

As a small business, I understand that this is definitely one of the most important factors. 

There can be variation in pricing depending on the availability of the features.   Therefore, it is important to select the best combination of features and price. 

Sacrificing reliability or security would cost your business more money down the line. 

Also, carefully review the different payment plans.  Many companies have pricing plans that increase after the introductory period.  Others may have a standard monthly rate that will not increase. 

Sometimes a staging site while you are building your website is an option.  You can pay a reduced rate while creating your website until you are ready to go live. 

Some web hosting companies provide you with a free domain name, particularly the first year.   Only a few provide a free domain for life.  

Many times the renewal rate for a domain name is more expensive than with a domain registrar.  Although the process is a little more complicated, I keep all my domains at the separate registrar NameCheap.

4. Storage Space

Bandwidth is the measure of maximum data that can be transferred in a given time.  In other words, bandwidth is the speed at which data is transferred. 

Prior to going for a web hosting service, make it a point to look for the storage space offered by the company. 

Many offer limited storage space which implies that they must allow you to upgrade their plans at a certain price.

Unlimited bandwidth is preferred, of course.  If you need to estimate your bandwidth this is a good article.

The average site would be able to work just fine with 10 GB of bandwidth every single month. If there are videos that your visitors need to download, then you will require much more than 10 GB. While selecting your web hosting plan, take this into consideration.

5. Company stability

Anyone can buy a couple of servers and be in business overnight. In fact that is what is happeing in the web hosting business world right now.

Then they are right back out of business overnight too. You do not want that to happen to your website and all your files.

Make it a point to research the company’s reputation prior to dealing with a service provider. It is important for the company to be stable since an already established host will give you better services than the ones which are not. 

For example SiteGround was founded in 2004 and services over 1.8 million domains worldwide (source).


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How to Choose a Web Hosting Plan

Of course, the web hosting company you choose will depend on if the plan they have is right for your business.

Below, are some important points to bear in mind while selecting a hosting plan:

1. Figure out the amount of disc space plus bandwidth you need for storing information

2. Understand the different types of servers available to you.  With a new website or blog you will likely choose shared hosting plan.  This means you are sharing the server with other websites. 

As you grow you may require dedicated hosting. 

3.  The cost to buy your personal extension and domain name.  Some are free for the first year and then cost more than a domain registrar. Also, ask can you bring your domain name with you, or do you need to buy theirs?

4. Ensure that the web hosting provider provides DNS protection plus endpoint security solutions for your site.  You will want an SSL security certificate. 


How Much will Web Hosting Cost?

The price of the web hosting service will depend on your requirements and also on the type of web hosting service you select. 

The cost might vary from one provider to another and you will come across many service providers at present this offer hosting at inexpensive prices. 

While a typical web hosting service might charge from somewhere between one dollar and as much as a thousand dollars per month, you will likely be on the less expensive end.

I have found that a reliable web host with a plan for a new website and beginner blogger, will be $4 to $10 per month.

You will be able to find introductory prices slightly lower. 

I have seen cheaper than this you but will give up some important features such as security and customer service. 


Although it may sound appealing, stay away from free web hosting. You will be restricted to using the domain name provided by them and you might also have limitations when it comes to advertising and other avenues to generate cash. 

For example, all the content on your site will be owned by them.


Questions to ask A Web Hosting Company.

Prior to purchasing a hosting package with a web hosting company, it will be a sensible idea to ask them some questions.  I have created a list of questions to help you in the process. 

•  What type of uptime scores and server reliability do you provide?

•  Do you provide different types of hosting offers? What is the introductory and the ling term price?

•  If you have an existing website, ask if they have “free site migration” (or similar) so the company will help you to transfer your files to them without paying anything.  I have done this with SiteGround. 

•  What is the security policy of your company?

•  Do you provide multiple add-on domains? Can I have more than one website?

•  What is the downtime history of your company?

•  What is the back-up policy of your company?  How often do you provide backups and what will it cost me to access those files?

•  How many customers do you have on every server?

•  Do you offer SSL security ?

  • How responsive is your tech support and customer support?  Just asking all these questions will give you an insight to the customer service. 
  • Do you have a free trial period and how long is it?

Conclusion

The right web host can provide a virtual storefront for your business. 

It is important to select a web host very carefully since it can be an important part in the prosperity of business. Try to figure out your requirements, go through the contract, perform adequate research, and inquire regarding security issues.

Please ask in the comments any more questions you have about picking the right web host for your blog or website.  

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