Regardless of the kind of website you are creating, you are going to need to host the files that make up the website somewhere.
With any website, your domain name (.com name) simply points to a server somewhere which hosts your files on a hard disk. Now you can always go the route of hosting them yourself, but I highly recommend that you avoid this due to the up-time and bandwidth required for the website to run smoothly. This is why a professional web hosting company can be your top choice – it’s more reliable and doesn’t require any hardware on your end to maintain.
But what should you look for in a webhost?
For most people I recommend a host that has unlimited transfer per month, with database capabilities (for popular CMS/Blog systems like WordPress) and convenient services for a reasonably low price.
The reasons being that if you’re starting a website you never know how much traffic you may get – especially if you start to build a decent audience. You can choose to host your website on a free service, but the amount of traffic you can receive is generally limited – which can cause problems if your website starts to become popular.
Convenient services like automatic backup systems and one click installs like Fantastico or Simple Scripts can make installing a CMS a breeze.
This is why a solid, reputable host that doesn’t break the bank is what I recommend to most people, and here are a few top choices. I’ve used the services below many times in the past and have since become an affiliate, so the links below are affiliate links I gain a commission from if you purchase. This greatly helps me to improve and keep the site moving forward.
Cheap, Reliable, Good Value
These guys are my top choice because they have a reputation as one of the best hosts in the world. Plus they offer a wide range or convenient services like 1 click installs and hosting options on certain plans that allow you to host more than one website on one account – a great way to save money if you plan on creating multiple websites.
Hostgator also offer some premium packages for high traffic websites – which means you can start on a smaller package and upgrade to a Dedicated Server package if your website explodes in popularity.
They also guarantee a 99.9% up time which most hosts fail miserably at delivering. They also have a plan which starts at just under $4 a month which offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth.
Their best deal in my opinion is their Cloud Hosting accounts, which perform very highly and have rave reviews – it’s also what this website is hosted on.
Decent Price, Excellent Customer Service
Bluehost is another top service I’ve made use of. Much like Hostgator you can host multiple websites on one account (which I do!), and they have great services on offer including simple scripts installations for popular Content Management Systems. I have experienced downtime with Bluehost, but it was completely scheduled and I was notified via email a week prior – so you can’t complain about service like that!
Bluehost is more of a budget solution, offering hosting from $4.95 a month.
Check out Bluehost’s web hosting deals here.
The Rolls Royce of WordPress Hosting.
These guys cost a little more than the above two options, but you get so much more for your money.
WP Engine isn’t just a hosting company, but they offer managed WordPress plans, with a heap of extras that will make your website much faster, more reliable an stable. Here’s a few things:
- Daily Backups
- CDN Hosting for Professional plans and above
(CDN – Content Delivery Network for faster image load speeds)
- Free SSL Certificates
- Staging Sites for red designing without downtime
- Faster Servers than above
- better WordPress Security
- Free migration from other hosts
Do You Need a Dedicated Server?
If you’re just starting a website then no. Chances are you won’t see a lot of traffic straight away, so a basic shared hosting plan with any of the above companies would work well.
If you find you’re getting 1000’s of visitors a day, heavy site usage or any factors which will lead to increased usage of your host’s resources then you may have some performance issues with shared hosting which would make switching to a dedicated server a must. A dedicated server is like switching from a small 4 cylinder car to a powerful truck towing a load – the heavier the load (traffic & website usage), the more power you’ll need.
You can always contact your host’s customer service and discuss with them whether or not they think your website needs a dedicated server if you’re unsure.
Check For All of the Right Features
If there is anything you really want out of a webhost, check their sales page to see if it is included in the package you’re considering signing up for (before you sign up!). Always check to make sure you have adequate disk space (not a problem with hosts offering unlimited space), and the compatibility of certain languages like ASP or PHP, and databasing required for certain content management systems. Once again you may need to contact customer service, but most questions should be answered on the sales page.
If you follow all of these guidelines you should be able to find a host which is suitable for you and perform to the standard you need. There are literally 1000’s upon 1000’s of hosting companies out there so stick with reputable brands. the hosts I listed above are all top quality, but always be certain to check things out for yourself before handing over your hard earned money.
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