THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING A WEB HOSTING SERVICE
Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Anjum
Choosing a Web Hosting Service can be really confusing. A lot of the Web Hosting Companies are offering almost similar services with similar pricing.
If you have a Website than you need Web Hosting. It is as simple as that!
WHAT IS WEB HOSTING?
Web Hosting or Website Hosting Service provides the service and technology needed to view your website on the internet. Without Web Hosting your website will not be found on the internet. Websites are hosted and stored on Servers and from there they are made to be seen on the internet.
If you are choosing a web hosting service then chances are that either you are creating a website, or you are unhappy with your previous web hosting and therefore want to change your Hosting provider.
In any case if you are stuck at any point in creating your website then read our comprehensive guide on How to Create a Website without any Computer, Programming or Coding Knowledge.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING A WEB HOSTING SERVICE
Choosing a Web Hosting Service Provider can be tricky because there are so many options available. A simple google search for “Web Hosting Provider” will yield more then 457 million results.
For ease of understanding we have compared and analyzed 4 of the famous web hosting service providers. Each has its own strong points. The Famous Four are:
Following are the things you should consider or look out for when choosing a Web Hosting Service Provider for your website:
1- MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
First thing you should look out for when choosing a web hosting service is to see if the service provider is offering a Money Back Guarantee. Usually all the good ones will offer 30 – 60 days money back guarantee. This gives you an idea that the company is genuine and if you don’t like the service you can just ask for a refund.
All four of the Hosting Providers that we are analyzing in this post are providing Money Back Guarantees. Do read the word of caution below.
WORD OF CAUTION: If your web hosting package includes domain name as well as web hosting then you will only be refunded for the total amount less the registration charges for the domain. These Domain Registration charges cannot be refunded as they are used for Registration of your domain with your name. Once your domain is registered you can use it for the whole year.
2- RENEWAL PRICE
Another thing to look out for when choosing a web hosting service is to see the renewal price. Many providers will give you exclusive discounts for the first year but when it will be renewal time then you will be charged full price.
It is always a good idea to check the renewal price before making the purchase. Keep an eye out to check where the renewal price is mentioned for your plan because usually it is not in plain sight and smartly written in a corner somewhere.
To avoid any future problem this step should be given importance because you can get the package for the first year for anywhere up to 70-80% discounted rates but because the discounts are only for the first year so you get to pay the full price from the second year onwards. You can choose a package that has the same renewal price as the initial package, that way you will avoid any problems later on.
- Namecheap Renewal Rates: More then double
- Mochahost Renewal Rates: Renewal at same rate with certain packages
- Hostinger Renewal Rates: Almost Double
- HostGator Renewal Rates: Almost Three times
3- SSL CERTIFICATE
SSL Certificate or Secure Sockets Layer Certificate is a code on your web server that provides security for any sort of online communications. Basically it encrypts the connection between your website’s server and the visitor’s browser so that any sort of data or information leak does not happen. SSL Certificate secures User Data from Server to Browser so that visitor can access the website without any worry for things like data theft etc..
You can see if any website has a SSL Certificate by checking at the top of your browser before the web address area, if you see a lock sign then that means that the website has a SSL Certificate and is safe to use.
If you have an SSL Certificate then it is an advantage that builds credibility for your website. Many Web Hosting Service Providers offer Free SSL Certificate with the Web Hosting package. It is always a good idea to choose the web hosting package with SSL Certificate. Search Engines also prefer Websites with SSL Certificates and usually award them with a higher place in Search Results.
All 4 Web Hosting services we are analyzing provide Free SSL Certificates.
4- WEB HOSTING SERVICE PROVIDER’S UPTIME
Uptime is the time when your website is online and up and running. Downtime is when the Web Hosting Service is down and visitors are unable to access your website on the internet. Ideally you should be on the look out for choosing the web hosting service with the best uptime.
All the Web Hosting providers will claim to have 99-100% uptime. In order to check if the claims are true for the particular web hosting service, you can search for reviews of other customers on Trust Pilot to see if they are telling the truth or if it is just a ploy to make the sale.
Usually the good ones will give you 99-100% uptime with very little to no downtime.
5- CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Customer Support is an important aspect for any web hosting service provider. It serves as a peace of mind when you know that if you run into any problem then there are dedicated people there to help you. Usually you can also find the level of customer service through other user reviews. Look for ones with 24/7 Customer Support. Most Web Hosting Problems can be solved in next to no time if the customer service is good.
Not only customer support will get you out of any problem but they can also guide you on how to make your website better by giving you specific tips on factors like website speed, themes etc.
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Perhaps the most important point that tips our decision making from one web hosting service to another is the pricing factor. Lets face it, all of us want the best service but all of us want to pay the least amount of money.
You need to find the perfect match for you, keeping in mind the quality of the web hosting service and the features it is offering along with the package price. If it is too expensive and you are just starting your website then it might not be worth it to pay the extra cents. On the other hand if you are a pro and have selected a sub-par web hosting service then not only will you lose your visitors in the long run but your visitors will also suffer.
So, selecting the perfect match in terms of quality, features and pricing is very important when it comes to choosing the web hosting service provider for your website. Not only this, watch out for renewal prices of your selected plan. Renewal pricing is already discussed above in this post.
Check the pricing in below screenshots:
- Namecheap plans starting from $1.58/month
- Mochahost plans starting from $1.95/month
- Hostinger plans starting from $0.99/month
- HostGator plans starting from $2.75/month
7- FREE DOMAINS
Domain Name is a Website Name. For example in www.yahoo.com, “yahoo” is the domain name. Domains are registered on yearly basis. After every year if you want to keep using the same domain then you have to renew the registration. Renewal process is easy and done by the company from where you purchased the domain. You only have to pay the money, the rest is done by them. You will be notified when your domain registration is expiring.
If you don’t have a domain name already purchased then you can choose a web hosting package that is offering a free domain name included in it. That way you will not have to purchase two separate things (Domain and web hosting). Some packages includes free domain renewals as well. So choose accordingly based on your preference.
Many people prefer to purchase domain from one company and web hosting from another just to keep everything in balance and not give sole control of your website to any one company. If you want to use this strategy then one of the best websites to purchase domains is this one. You can purchase your domain from here and then choose any other company for web hosting package only.
Namecheap, Mochahost and Hostinger have free domain options with Premium Plans only whereas Hostgator has Free Domain with all packages.
Mochahost has Free Domain for lifetime which means that they will also bear the cost of renewal of your domain every year as long as you are their customer. This feature is not available with other web hosting services.
8- METERED BANDWITH OR UNMETERED BANDWIDTH
Another important factor for choosing a web hosting service provider is to check if the package you are selecting has metered or unmetered bandwidth.
Metered Bandwidth is when you get a specific amount of bandwidth or disk space in GBs allocated to you. Your bandwidth usage will be tracked and if you exceed that bandwidth limit then you will be charged extra. In Unmetered Bandwidth your bandwidth usage will not be tracked. You have the facility to use bandwidth as per your liking. Keep in mind that Unmetered Bandwidth does not mean unlimited amount of disk space or bandwidth usage. It still has a maximum limit. You will need to check for specific limits per company that you are choosing as your web hosting service provider.
Try to select a package that includes unmetered bandwidth because even if you are creating a brand new website chances are in future you might need to use more bandwidth.
9- NUMBER OF WEBSITES ON HOSTING PACKAGE
Different web hosting packages have different offers. If you have more then one domain then choose a web hosting plan that has unlimited websites. If you have only one domain then you can choose a plan that has single website offer.
Many people decide to create multiple websites due to many reasons. If you create more then one website then on your unlimited websites plan you will not have to purchase the web hosting again, rather you will only have to pay for the domain purchase price which is fraction of the web hosting cost and host the website on your existing plan by changing the nameservers only.
WordPress is probably the easiest to use platform for creating websites. Millions of websites are built using WordPress. If you also want to use WordPress as your content management system then you need to select a web hosting package that gives you the option to install WordPress.
For ease of reference, this website www.infinityfolder.com on which you are reading this post is also created using WordPress.
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11- ONE CLICK INSTALLS
A good web hosting package will also have the option of one click installs. This is a special software through which you can choose any of the Content Management System (CMS) for your website. You can choose to install WordPress, Blogger etc. or if you want to make an e-commerce shop then you can install Magento, Presta Shop, Joomla, Zen Cart etc.
A package that includes one click installs is highly recommended as it makes the after work a lot easier, plus it also gives you the choice to change the CMS of your website if you are not satisfied with it. So lets say you had WordPress installed on your website and you are not satisfied with it (very rare case) then you can just go to one click installs and install blogger to your website. Keep in mind this will erase all the data so backup before doing any such thing. Do proper research before changing your CMS if you already have content on your website. If you don’t have any content then you can do so without any worry.
Research is the key when you want to do anything related to your website, let alone choosing a web hosting service provider. The more research you do, the better equipped you will be to make a decision on which web hosting service to choose. Read reviews, shortlist the favorites and then make the decision. You will find loads of reviews for almost all the famous web hosting service providers.
Before making any decision just use your best judgement.
Another factor that contributes to the things to look out for when choosing a web hosting service is the number of email accounts you will be able to make with your domain name.
For some websites this will have great importance if they have many employees and they want each one of them to have a separate email address. For others, for example bloggers, it might not make a difference to have unlimited email addresses, rather they will be happy with a couple of email ids only.
This factor has different significance for different people.
14- BEWARE OF FAKE REVIEWS DUE TO DIFFERENT AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Almost all the Web Hosting Providers have very attractive affiliate programs (where website gets a referral commission from the web hosting provider), so beware of the fake reviews on different websites only geared to making the sale. Honest reviews are hard to come by these days.
Look for reviews on Trust Pilot or similar such websites where genuine buyers have written reviews. Don’t just blindly follow into purchasing any web hosting service based on a random review found on any website. You can also see the credibility by looking at the prices. If the price is too good to be true then chances are the service they will provide will be similarly cheap. So use your best judgement. Not everything is as gloomy as it is told to be.
FINAL VERDICT – PERFECT BLEND OF ALL
In a nutshell, the best package for you would be the perfect blend of all the things mentioned above but ultimately it is your decision of which web hosting service you want to choose. If you are a newbie and not sure what to do then you should go for one of the famous web hosting service but if you are already associated with this business then chances are that you are already equipped to making this decision based on your requirements. The only one who can make a decision for you is you yourself. So do some research, make a shortlist and then finalize which web hosting service provider will be best for you.
Let us know in comments what factors do you or did you consider when choosing a web hosting service provider?
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This post was on Things to Look Out for When Choosing a Web Hosting Service. All the screenshots are taken from the respective web hosting service’s own websites (Namecheap, Mochahost, Hostinger and Hostgator). These were the prices at the time when the post was initially published. Prices can vary as there might be different offers at different times. Refer to the respective Web Hosting Provider’s website for updated pricing and plans.
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