Updated: Jan 19
A website hosting provider offers you to “rent” space on their computer servers to house the files used to populate your website. This includes your website code, the text, your images, videos, etc. There are literally hundreds of companies offering web hosting services so how do you know which web hosting company to use?
Not all web hosting services are the same. You’re going to want to determine which type of site you need:
E-commerce (online shopping)
While you should know there are many different hosting types (Shared, Dedicated, VPS and Cloud), you shouldn’t get too bogged down in the details if you’re going to be running a small business. You’re likely going to use a Shared Hosting service. What this means is your website will be housed on the same server as multiple other websites. This is the most affordable way to go and it’s the easiest to set up.
If you will be running a larger site with lots of traffic right away, or have a big e-commerce site, you may want to look into dedicated servers.
What to look for when comparing web hosting companies?
Bandwidth. If your site will be using video, large images, or other high bandwidth elements, you will want to make sure the company you select offers a high level of bandwidth.
Stable and reliable. Sites that are slow to load will cost you customers who abandon your site and waste your time waiting to upload files. Look at the site's uptime guarantees and verify reviews.
Email. Verify you can set up your email address to match your domain i.e. email@example.com. Some hosting companies charge extra every month for this feature while others include it in their pricing.
Price. Most hosting companies offer a pretty sweet deal for the first year of hosting and then the service will renew at their current rates. Make sure you compare the renewal cost and the services included in the hosting fee.
Tech/customer support. When your site goes down, or you need help, it can be frustrating to be unable to reach someone for help. Most web hosting services have extensive knowledge bases, but for those individual concerns, you want to be able to chat or reach someone with technical knowledge by phone. Look at the reviews and see what customers are saying.
A good place to start? Look where you purchased your domain registration. If you haven't already done that, look at sites that offer free domain registration included with their hosting packages. Sample hosting companies include: Bluehost, NameCheap, Hostinger, GoDaddy, IONOS, Wix, DreamHost, Amazon, Squarespace and many more...