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Choosing the right web hosting plan can be quite a challenge for someone who has little to no experience with building a website. However, if you know the right questions to ask, it isn’t quite as tricky as you might believe. Here is some of what you need to know in order to make an informed decision, choosing the web hosting package that is right for you.
Reliability Is a Prime Consideration
Sadly, no matter how well developed your website is with all the features that rank well with Google while engaging your audience so that they want to know more, reliability can be a huge problem. One of the things you will want to ascertain is the amount of downtime their servers experience. You could always ask the rep you are talking to, but aren’t a customer and unbiased third-party reviews much more trustworthy?
Reviewing the Reviews
It really does pay to read both customer and professional reviews when gauging just how reliable a web hosting service is. With that said, some reviews are listed as paid advertising but that doesn’t mean they are in any way falsified or padded. Any reputable reviewer would hesitate to besmirch their name in the industry, so also keep the reviewer in mind when reading reviews. For example, on the Top10 website, there is a review of IONOS web hosting by 1&1. Reviews like this help users make a more informed decision.
Beyond Uptime and Downtime
Once the reliability of the hosting company in terms of uptime and the transparency of the reviewer have been established, it’s time to start looking at the finer points you should expect from web hosting. Assuming you are new to developing a website, an important feature would be the types of hosting available. Your choices could include:
- Shared hosting.
- Windows hosting.
- WordPress hosting.
- VPS hosting.
- Dedicated hosting.
Each of which is best suited to specific types of websites, often based on the size of files you’ll be uploading and the amount of traffic you expect. However, as someone new to being a webmaster, you might want to seriously consider WordPress hosting because it is the easiest for novice webmasters to learn.
Pricing of Available Packages
In web hosting, there really is no one-size-fits-all. You will find that there are usually three basic tiers. The first level, primarily chosen for a smaller website is priced for a lesser amount of storage and bandwidth. This is often listed as Basic, or Essential.
The next tier up is sometimes considered a business website, and although it is larger and busier than a basic web hosting package, it is not what one would consider an expert site either. This level would be something for larger commercial or public institutions that may have domains, subdomains, and hundreds, if not thousands of pages. Even today’s gaming sites are considered to be expert websites but this isn’t something you will probably be looking into at this stage of your new journey as a webmaster. Still, it helps to understand that pricing is based on size and traffic, to put it simply.
One other point to make when reading those reviews is looking at whether or not tech support is offered as part of their web hosting packages. You will want to know:
- Hours available.
- Mode of contact.
- Ability to offer the level of assistance needed.
Watch out for a courteous and professional demeanor. Bear in mind that you are new to web development and hosting, so it is imperative that you feel confident in the level of tech support you may need in the early days.
Contracts and Updates
Another important factor is regarding the contract you might be asked to enter into. Few web hosting plans are on a month-to-month basis. Regarding the pricing mentioned above, packages can be scalable. While you may be asked to enter into a ‘contract’ for web hosting with monthly pricing for the size package you begin with, you may not be locked into that smaller package going forward. You will want to know that as your website grows, you can add storage and bandwidth if necessary.
This Isn’t the End of the Journey
These are just the basics of what you need to know as a novice webmaster. Each of these features deserves a more in-depth understanding of what they are and how they impact your website. In the beginning, try to keep it as simple as possible. There is no need to pay for features you will not yet be using but on the flip side, you will want to have what you need to build and host an engaging site. Whether you are developing a blog or a marketplace, every type of site has specific requirements, and this is where you begin. It is not the end of the journey.