Already created an amazing website and want to get it online? Or perhalps you to start a new one, but in a production envirement? One thing you will need is a web hosting provider to host your website in the cloud. In this article, I explain how to find them, and what features you should be looking for. If you are not quite sure what a web host is, you should check out this article to learn more. Web hosting companies use computers called web servers to store your website’s files, and then hand them out to the people who are looking to visit your website!
The best place to start looking for any company is to either start with a Google search or by checking out your favorite reviewing site (Such as Trustpilot). If you don’t want to run a internet search, you can check out our favorites below. After you find a company that has good reviews and looks promising, it is time to see if it fits your needs. Next section, please!
For those with a tight or nonexsistant budget, we recomend TinkerHost, a free webhosting provider that provides free webhosting and SQL databases. If you have a bit more money, or need a more advanced solution, iFastNet is a good option.
There are many different price ranges of web hosts, from free to very expensive, but each should have the following features, as you might need them to build your website! If you are looking at free providers, keep in mind that they will probably not meet everthing below, and thats ok! The list below is just a generic outline that works well for most people, and includes many of the essentials. Your personal lost may be a bit different, but the list below will be enough to get you started.
1. FTP access. FTP access allows you to connect to your web server (Where the files are stored) remotely and gives you the choice between a variety of software. This is the only way you are able to upload your websites files on many hosts, so you shouldn’t have to pay extra for this! Stay away from any hosts that charge extra for access to FTP. Many hosts may also provide an online file manager for you, but note that using client software like FileZilla is normally faster.
2. Databases. Almost every modern website uses a database, from WordPress sites to anything with a login system! Because of this, it is essential that you have this feature at your disposal. Five databases are plenty for most sites, but you may want to consider giving yourself a little extra in case you need them.
3. Storage. The more the better! Those files, images, videos, and all of the other things you have all take up space! Make sure you have plenty of storage available, as well as a good chunk to grow on. A simple WordPress site can be about 60MB in size (Assuming you don’t go wild on the themes and plugins), so at least 1-2 gigabytes of space should be enough (Make sure to leave room for the updates). If you are planning on creating a multi-media or filesharing site however, you will need a lot more space.
4. Ad-Free. Sometimes web hosting providers may offer a free plan or even a discount, but with a catch. You must display an ad that links back to them. Unless you want this ad on your site (And it could get annoying), avoid these types of plans.
5. Uptime. Do you want your site to be constantly down? No one does, so be sure to check that the company you are interested in advertises high uptime (99.9% is common, but be wary of those that advertise 100%, as all servers need to be updated at some point). If you don’t trust that the company is being fully honest with you, you should see if the company offers a community forum, and ask real users about their experiences with the company.
6. Ease of use. Updating and controlling the backend of your website should be an easy task (But everyone knows that creating one is not!). Find out what control panel the company uses, and check out it's reviews. cPanel is the most common, and it is certainly pretty good.
7. Security. Does the provider you are interested in take security seriously? Check to see if SSL certificates are available, and how much they cost (Keep in mind that it is possible to get SSL certificates for free). Also make sure the company offers antiviral protection, as well as virus scanning, firewalls, and encryption tools. Let’s also not forget about the all-important anti-spam tools as well!
8. Backups. Most free hosting providers don’t provide this feature, but if you’re paying some money, you should expect it. See if the company takes automatic backups of your website often, and make sure they will be easily accessible to you for free whenever you might need it.
9. Pricing. Does the pricing make sense in comparison to what you are getting? Compare the company of interest to other companies, and see what the others give you for your money. Depending on your budget, this may be the most important!
10. Support. No matter if you are an expert or not, everyone needs some help sometimes. Making sure a support team (Or even an active community forum) can make all the difference when you get stuck or need a little help. This is normally near the top of my top priority list whenever I search for something.
The end is here. Hopefully, this guide gave you enough information to make some amazing decisions (And hopefully you are reading this conclusion as well). If you are in a rush, you can always check out our list of the best hosting providers, or if you’re waiting for your next paycheck, a free hosting provider. As always, let us know if you see an issue, and be sure to have fun!
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