Choosing a web host has been an important part of my website building adventures, ever since I purchased my first domain in 2003. I’ve done much research and had hands on experience with all sorts of web hosts.

Websites are a big commitment and investment. So it’s important to ensure your website is going to do its best to serve your customers. If you are budget conscious, you should not only look for a good deal, but also consider how this web host will hold up over time.

It pays to shop around, rather than go after the top result on Google or whatever a free tutorial on YouTube suggested. A web host nominated in a YouTube video may not necessarily be because they are good, but because the author is likely getting paid an affiliate commission.

Need advice on choosing your next web hosting provider? Here are some tips from someone with experience! Click To Tweet

So without further ado, here are my top tips when it comes to selecting the right company to host your website:

Tip 1: Don’t Commit for More than 1 Year (at first)

It may seem tempting to save on your long term web hosting bill by purchasing several years at once. However, your first year of owning a website is your best chance for evaluating the service providers you’ve invested in.

If it turns out that it isn’t working well with your current web host, you can move. However, it’s much easier to move a younger site, than a much older one.

It’s also important to choose a web host that makes it easy to upgrade or move should your needs ever change. Ideally, this means no lock-in commitments.

Tip 2: Chose a Web Host in Your Own Country

The location of your web hosting server matters for several reasons:

Speed: The less distance data has to travel, the faster it can be delivered to your users. Therefore, if your customers are in Melbourne, a web host based in Sydney will download your website faster than one in Europe.

SEO: Though it isn’t the most important factor, the location of your web host does matter for Search Engine Optimisation.

Jurisdiction: Your files and databases may be subject to the laws of the physical location of your hosting server. Your customer from Australia might feel uneasy about their data being stored overseas.

And finally, on location, it’s generally a nice thought to support businesses in your own country.

Tip 3: Beware of Cheap Providers

Cheap services are cheap for a reason. Price cuts happen when something (usually beneficial) has been cut out from the service. For instance, it’s quite likely that you’ll get reliable customer support for something you’re only spending $2 a month on.

Also, cheap web hosts tend to push hardware to its limits, making a website crash more likely. In other words, your website will be sharing space with many others, which causes a strain on the server.

I would also avoid choosing a web host that does not have backups as a feature. With regular back ups, it should be easy to restore your website to a previous version in case something goes wrong!

Tip 4: Suss Out Their Character

choosing a web host with good customer support
Look for a web host with customer support that is available and easy to talk to.

Assuming you intend to own your website for several years, you’ll be entrusting its existence to someone else over this time.

Not only should you check out their reviews, you should also see their response to reviews. Also, also investigate their social media profiles (and/or blog if they have one). This way you can see how responsive they will be in case you need help, or there is a crisis.

When there is a problem, do they empathise and try to help their customer? Or are they ignored? These are important things to know.

Before signing up for a web host, test out their customer support. Their tone, and response time, will show how fast and helpful they'll be when you need them. Click To Tweet

It’s also a good idea to pay attention to any media they put out. That way you can stay informed if there are any ownership or service changes before they happen.

So before investing in a web host, try contacting their customer support to see how well they respond.

Tip 5: Don’t Buy More than What You Need

Most web hosting providers come with the option of selecting your own storage limits. And some go as far as allowing you to fine-tune various sorts of hardware limits! If you don’t understand what all the numbers mean, then it could be tempting to go for a higher plan. Because more is better… right? Well, not always.

Actually, it’s sensible to only pay for what you need right now. A brand new website is unlikely to need top level storage limits. And good web hosting company should be able to increase your storage and hardware limits as your website’s needs grow. By being sensible about your website costs, you’ll have saved yourself money that could be spent on other important tools and activities to help you grow.

Which Web Host is Right for You?

When it comes to starting a new website, there are a lot of choices to make. One of the biggest decisions is selecting the right web host for your needs. If you go for the cheapest option, you may be missing out on customer support.

My recommendation when choosing a web host is to look for:

  • State of the art hardware.
  • Security and backups.
  • Technical support that is responsive, and speaks in a way you understand.
  • The right amount of storage space and bandwidth (traffic allowance) for your needs. Plus the ability to upgrade when your needs change.
  • … and positive reviews to back all of that up!

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions about finding a web host, please don’t hesitate to ask. 😊

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