You will get your first website in few minutes. I feel honored I have the privilege to guide you on buying hosting for your first website.
I affirm I will be honest throughout this post and will keep you alert on all the things to keep in mind before buying hosting for your first website.
What is the business of a Hosting company?
In layman terms, the hosting company installs & maintains servers (kind of hard disks for a computer) where you can keep your website files & folders safe. These servers connect via the worldwide networks and anybody can access these servers from all over the world through the internet.
The hosting company charges you rent on a monthly basis. This charge is their primary revenue source.
Features To Consider Before Buying Hosting For Your First Website
Ok, now it is time to buy the hosting account for your website. It is like looking for the rental home.
You should seriously consider the below-mentioned factors before choosing your host.
- What is the business of a Hosting company?
- Features To Consider Before Buying Hosting For Your First Website
- Factor #1. Domain Name
- Factor #2. Server Kinds
- Factor #3. Hosting Server Location
- Factor #4. Server Management
- Factor #5. Uptime
- Factor #6. Customer support
- Factor #7. Website Speed
- Factor #8. Website Security
- Factor #9. Exclusive Hosting
- Factor #10. Unlimited Websites?
- Factor #11. SSL
- Factor #12. CDN
- Factor #13. Backups
- Factor #14. Storage
- Factor #15. Bandwidth
- Factor #16. Choice of Operating System
- Factor #17. cPanel/Plesk/WHM access
Factor #1. Domain Name
Your first website needs an address first; the address is “domain name.” An example is google.com.
You can buy your preferred domain name. At the same time, you need to make sure your preferred name is available to register (means not registered by someone already). You can buy the domain name from the domain names registrar company or the hosting company.
Don’t fall for the free domain registration marketing catches and compromise on other critical features in a web hosting server.
Factor #2. Server Kinds
There are many server types available. Shared host, VPS host, dedicated host and cloud host are the some of the server types.
For a beginner, the shared host is sufficient. All other hosting services are the feature-rich servers and expensive than a shared host.
Factor #3. Hosting Server Location
How to pick the server location if the hosting company offers multiple server locations? The simple answer is where your target audience exists. Choose a server location nearest to the geographic area where your target audience resides.
Factor #4. Server Management
A few hosts offer managed the server, and a few hosts provide a non-managed server.
Non-managed servers are raw hardware material to take for rental, and you need to do all the software runs to make it ready to host the website files. This is apparently for a techie.
As you are new, I suggest you go to managed servers. If you buy the shared host, go to the managed shared hosting service. You do not need to do all the ground works then.
Factor #5. Uptime
Your server should have not less than 99.95% uptime guarantee. What is Uptime? A time measurement of how long the server has been online or how long the website has been down.
Above 99.95% uptime guarantee makes sure that your websites have less than an hour downtime in a week. Downtime affects your search engine ranking.
Factor #6. Customer support
Customer support is the leading factor in determining the hosting company. Best customer support should include live chat support, phone support, and email/ticket support.
Initial response time and resolution time is crucial to decide the hosting company. You can search for the reviews of the numerous hosting company customers online.
Factor #7. Website Speed
Website speed is now officially a factor in search engine ranking algorithms. A good web host should have the right caching method, Nginx, and latest PHP to host your pages at lightning speed.
Every host claims their website is speed. Check customer reviews on that front before taking your final call.
Factor #8. Website Security
(DDOS Attack and Malware Attack)
You can’t compromise on your website security. Many shared hosts sell the malware attack protection and the spam attack protection as separate items in billing for the extra cost optionally.
Do not go for such hosts. Go to the hosting companies where you get the malware and DDOS attack protection inbuilt in your hosting plans.
Factor #9. Exclusive Hosting
If your website is WordPress based, then look for a WordPress managed-hosting. If your site is Joomla based, go for the Joomla-exclusive managed-hosting.
A WordPress-exclusive hosting includes all the inevitable things on your server to manage the WordPress without any hassles.
Factor #10. Unlimited Websites?
Look for the features list of the hosting plan. Check how many sites can you host. Usually, you can host the unlimited number of websites. Some premium hosting companies offer the limited number of websites.
If you host only one or two websites shortly, then go for a hosting plan that offers the limited number of websites but with other premium features like free SSL.
Factor #11. SSL
(Secure Sockets Layer)
You can get your website URL with https: instead of HTTP:
SSL is the encrypted way to do the data transfer between the visitors and to the web servers. SSL is now officially a bit of the Google search engine algorithms.
SSL is expensive on many hosts. In times it costs more than the domain name or the hosting account. But some hosting companies include SSL for free.
Factor #12. CDN
(Content Delivery Network)
CDN is the vital feature if your website contains a large number of image or video content. In a CDN setup, a group of servers hosted in different geographic locations, each have the same data, deliver from the neighboring server to the end user for faster content delivery.
CDN is expensive and billed independently in your hosting plan. Premium hosting companies offer CDN at no extra cost.
Factor #13. Backups
(Make sure it is OFFSERVER)
There can be server disasters, or there can be site mess-ups. In before-mentioned times, the backups are the ultimate saviours. A good hosting company makes sure taking daily backups and store the backup files in an OFFSITE server.
Today hosting companies offer offsite backups every day and also a feature to restore the website from the backups in a click.
I suggest you have your backup plan. Use backup plugins to configure it to take backups at regular intervals and set the backup files to store at an offsite server place.
Factor #14. Storage
(Unlimited – Can I upload and self-host all my videos?)
I have not seen anyone grieve about the storage in my great profession. All the hosting companies offer ample storage space.
Shared hosting companies provide unlimited storage that doesn’t mean you can keep any files stored on it.
You can keep just the files that needed to run the website. You can’t self-host your video files in a hosting account. You will require the CDN service for the video hosting.
Factor #15. Bandwidth
(Unlimited? What is the catch?)
Shared hosting providers offer unlimited bandwidth. The in and out data transfer of the service is what you call as “Bandwidth.” As same as storage, hosting companies commonly provide sufficient bandwidth for your first website.
Shared hosting companies offer unlimited bandwidth. What is the catch? The catch is if your traffic comes at a single minute in no small amount, your shared host couldn’t persist. Your website would go down for few minutes until the traffic normalizes.
In such case, what is the use of having the unlimited bandwidth? No use! Look for a hosting company which can withstand at times of the extreme traffic your website receives.
Factor #16. Choice of Operating System
(Linux or Windows)
To run a WordPress website, all you need is Linux OS. If you are running a website that built up with ASP.net, you need Windows OS. You can choose a web host that uses the operating system you will need to run your website.
Windows OS hosting accounts cost higher than the Linux hosting accounts.
Factor #17. cPanel/Plesk/WHM access
(1 click installation)
Hosting companies offer you their control panel in some cases. In most cases, hosting companies offer a third party control panel software like cPanel or Plesk. cPanel is common on shared hosts. Plesk/WHM is common on VPS and dedicated servers.
As this is your first website, you have no likes already; you will become habitual to whatever the control panel environment. Go for anything. Learn it.
1 Click installations are available for different CMS, social network scripts, and other scripts. Look for Fantastico or Softaculous mentions as both are 1-click installation software available for the control panel.
As you are a beginner to build websites, I have here included all the features you will ever need to seek before buying hosting. Do not expect any host to satisfy all the above features.
One or another feature, you will miss in your hosting account. Think whether you can skip it or add through separate purchase.
For example: If the host offers the free domain for life but does not have the free SSL, go for the host offers the free SSL but does not have the free domain. We can buy the domain name for $10/year, but the SSL is worth more than $10.
If your website hits peak traffic often, say gets 1000 visits in a minute, it means you outgrow the shared hosting plan. You can move to the premium managed-hosting company that costs higher usually.
Are you a blogger or a small business company?
If you are a blogger, just start with the shared hosting plans. If you are a small business firm, don’t compromise the quality at any cost. For a small business firm, I recommend going for the premium managed-hosting plan instead shared host.
If you are still in confusion then leave a comment with your requirements, I will help you.