Whether you’re selecting a hosting company for your own website or for your client, it’s hard to recommend a one size fits all hosting company. The right hosting really depends on your needs. There are many factors to take into consideration. Here we’ll explore those factors so you can better determine which hosting company is best for the website you’re working with.
No matter what company you look at you’ll find people who love them and people who hate them. The problem is, there is no hosting company that is best for every single website out there. And that’s why you’ll find mixed reviews.
So what are these important factors?
- How much traffic does the website receive? Light traffic or a lot of traffic?
- How fast will the website traffic grow?
- Will the website require a large amount of storage space (think photo sites)?
- What is the website owner’s budget?
- How important is website security?
These are all important factors to consider. So what company do you go with when you’re taking these questions into consideration all why wanting a company with good performance, speed, customer service and pricing?
Let’s first have a look at the different factors to make sure we understand what they mean and how hosting can affect them and then we’ll look at specific hosting companies.
Hosting Factors to Consider
It’s pretty well known that Google likes fast loading websites. They even have a PageSpeed testing tool to help web developers determine how quickly a website loads and what causes slow load times. Page speed is one of Google’s ranking factors and faster sites can outrank slower loading sites.
But many people don’t realize the hosting company the website uses also makes a difference with the overall website speed.
A website with 100,000 visitors per month is going to require different hosting than a blog with less than 50 visitors per month. Selecting the wrong package or the wrong host for high traffic sites (or sites that will grow quickly) means the website may not load for many visitors as it overwhelms the server it’s on and all the traffic quickly eats up the plan’s resources.
Services like Load Impact help developers test how their website will hold up when the website receives a flood of traffic.
What would happen if the website in question was hacked? What would that mean for a business. The truth is there are more secure hosts than others. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of techniques you can use to protect your website from being hacked but a website that generates tens of thousands of dollars per month for a company should be on a more secure server than a small affiliate website that generates $30 per month.
Typically when you reach out to your hosting company you’re asking them for help in getting things set-up or there is an issue with your site so fast and accurate support is important. It is extremely frustrating during those times if the hosting company doesn’t have good customer support.
As with anything budget is a huge factor for most people and businesses. My general rule of thumb is do the best you can with what you have. That’s all you can do! But again a small site with limited traffic and revenue doesn’t necessarily need the same hosting as a larger site with high traffic and higher revenue.
Different Types of Hosting
Now that we know the different factors to consider based on the website we are looking to host, you’ll need to decide which type of hosting is best. Let’s have a look at the different types:
Shared hosting means multiple websites are all stored on the same server and share the server’s resources. This is like an apartment complex where everyone lives together but must share the pool, parking, gym and other amenities. In hosting terms, this means the websites share disk space, CPU time and memory.
Shared hosting is not the most secure choice but it can be good for smaller sites and for those on a budget. And of course there are some better companies than others.
Many sites will do well with a shared hosting account but you may want to upgrade to VPS or Dedicated hosting (see below) if the website becomes very popular / receives a lot of traffic.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
With VPS hosting there are significantly less websites hosted on the server and you have access to resources that are not shared by others. The overall resources are shared among the sites on the server but portions of each resource are given to each site. This gives more power and flexibility to each website than with a shared hosting account.
With VPS accounts you can typically host multiple websites as long as they don’t require more resources than what you are given. VPS is typically good for medium size websites.
A dedicated server hosts just one website therefore all the resources are dedicated to that website. This is like having the entire house to yourself and you can do whatever you want. A dedicated server is great for large sites with lots of traffic and a lot going on.
Which Hosting Company Should I Use?
As budget is always a concern, just remember my general rule of thumb…do the best you can with what you have. If you want a fast website, purchase the fastest host you can with the budget you have available. Then do what you can on your own to speed up your website. If you want a secure website, purchase the most secure hosting you can. Then do what you can to protect your website. With that being said, let’s have a look at which companies top the list in each category.
If you have questions about which company may be best for you, don’t hesitate to ask. If you’re selecting a hosting company for your own website, consider the type of website you have and what is most important for that site. Likewise, if you are recommending hosting companies to clients, make sure you find out more about their website needs before recommending the right company for them.