For those starting up a blog or online business or website or community website…, the first consideration typically given is cost. Most of us are paying for our online plans out of our pocket. Having hosted for four years on several hosts, and a free-host for many years previously, I’ve come to look back on my initial concerns with the benefit of hindsight!
Of course, reading up on such things beforehand is always going to be nearly as good as 20/20 hindsight, and web hosting tutorials are always helpful! A good ratings site can help but you need to find one that offers unbiased, detailed, and critical reviews to help you decide which host is appropriate for you.
These are five things you will need to remember that I wished I had known five years ago when I started looking…
- 1. Be sensible in your expectations: Don’t choose plans that offer unlimited everything (usually something will not work so well, and it could be crucial to you). It’s better to purchase a plan with clear limits so that you know when you are approaching those limits without unduly taxing the shared server, and drawing the attention of your webhosting admin who asks you to upgrade or close your account.
- 2. Find a responsive company. I approached a well-known company with a sales query that took three days and a follow-up email to persuade them to answer my ticket. Can you imagine how long it might take them to get my server working again, if it was out? So give the likely candidate a quiz.
- 3. Choose several companies: If you are hosting several sites, choose several hosting companies so that you can compare and contrast the features, support, and stability. It might cost a little more at the outset, but it is something I wished I had done. Split the sites up initially. When you figure which host is better, then use that host for the more important websites.
- 4. Find a coupon: When you sign up for many webhosts, you will often see the place for a coupon code. Use it. You can save a truckload of cash on many hosting companies for the first year. This will help ease your financial burden as you try out the different hosting companies. Of course, the really cheap sites may not have any coupons because the deals are just spectacular.
- 5. Find a GOOD host: Cheap hosting can be good, expensive hosting can be good, too – if the hosting company is good. Finding a good host is more difficult than finding either an expensive or a cheap host. Both ends of the market include companies that have terrible reputations.
Of course, you could just go to a good review site for your initial overview of the market. You’ll find many of the top hosts listed there once the site formally launches.
This post was originally to be sponsored but unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention to the required non-disclosure that the advertiser wanted, as a result I’m now removing all the links. Steve who was talking to me a few months ago about this was quite ‘shocked’ at the quality of most review sites for other products, filled with spurious reviews, and testimonials. Since he was also looking for good hosting, he is quite skeptical about the value of 99% of the hosting websites out there. Perhaps he is right.