Web Hosting: What to Look for

Choosing a Web Host Image
Choosing a Web Host Image

The web hosting company that you eventually choose can dramatically affect your overall website’s performance, its up-time, and user experience.

In this web host post, we will walk you through the process of assessing and what to look for in a web host. (Check out my recommended web hosts here.)

My Reviewing Process …

There are several factors that go into the reviewing process, such as each web hosting type, their allowed website traffic levels, how much storage and speed is offered, their uptime and processing power of the CPUs, and their quality of service.

I personally evaluate all of these factors to find the best web host in each category so that I can offer you the best, free, and genuine web hosting advice as I possibly can.

In this post, I will share with you all the above mentioned factors in in-depth detail so that you will have an idea about what to look for when selecting a web host.

1) Choosing a Web Host … by Web Hosting Type

The type of web host plays a huge role in the evaluation of a web host. For example, a web hosting company may have an excellent up-time but terrible customer service.

Other company may have excellent shared web hosting but terrible dedicated web hosting.

I try to rate each web hosting individually, rather than in aggregate.

Before you do anything, I highly recommend that you spend some time which hosting type you will require for your site. To help you make that decision, read my earlier post on web hosting type.

If you feel that you know which web hosting type you want, then great! We have done all the hard work for you in finding the best web hosting deals for each web hosting type.

Check out these reviews:

  1. #Best Shared Hosting Reviews
  2. #Best Dedicated Hosting Reviews
  3. #Best VPS Hosting Review

2) Choosing a Web Host … by Bandwidth (Traffic)

The bandwidth or traffic is referred to the amount of data (content) sent from the server to a client’s browser.

It is a very good practice of calculating the minimum bandwidth you will require before signing up for any web hosting plan.

Here is the formula to know your bandwidth requirements:

Total visitors per month x Pages visited per visit = Bandwidth needed

For example, let’s say the average size of each of your page is 1MB. Your site gets at least 10,000 visitors per month and on average they visit two pages per visit. Then, your bandwidth requirement for this specification would be:

10,000 visitors per month x 2 pages per visit = 20GB of bandwidth

Remember that you will have to upgrade to a web hosting plan that exceeds your minimum bandwidth requirements … IF your website traffic grows beyond its current level.

3) Choosing a Web Host … by Web Storage

Web storage refers to the amount of data, content, and files that is stored on your server.

Web storage size

Often, web storage is not a problem for small businesses, but if you are hosting a video sharing site or image sharing site, or even use user information for a membership based site, then you will find this to be an issue.

That is why we highly recommend that you opt for enough web storage (at least 20 GB of space) for your web server.

Standard Hard Drives vs. SSD

There are two types of hard drives used by businesses today: a) the standard hard drives, often referred to as “20GB Storage” and b) an SSD drives, also known as solid state drive, which are often faster than the standard hard drives – you will see them listed as “20GB SSD.”

Advanced Configurations and RAID

On top of these issues, as your web hosting requirements gets more and more, you will have to consider multiple options for your hard drive settings.

These hard drive settings make sure that a single drive failure will NOT result into shutting down your system or increase the read and write speed of the drive.

FYI, there is a technology that is called RAID, which is a short abbreviation for “redundant array of inexpensive disks”, that combines multiple hard drives to act as a single logical drive.

Below, in the screenshot, you will see some of the popular hard drive configurations. Do NOT panic if you do not understand them at first. In fact, they make a very little difference in choosing the best web host for your needs.

We simply wanted you to become aware of these technologies just in case you come across it.

RAID 0

This hard drive configuration uses two or more drives to write on disks simultaneously. This process is also known as “stripping.”

RAID 1

In this configuration, two or more hard drives keep redundant copies of your data. Therefore, whenever writing is done on one disk, the writing is also taking place on another disk. This process is also called “mirroring.”

RAID 5

There are also other types of RAID configuration. If you are interested, please do some research on Google!

4) Choosing a Web Host … by Processing Power

Processing power is the most important factor in choosing a web host, particularly if are looking for a dedicated or VPS hosting.

Usually, most web hosting companies will list this information as the number of cores (or CPUs), available for each level of service.

In practice, the more CPUs that are running at higher speed, the better the web hosting.

5) Choosing a Web Hosting … by Quality of Service or Up-time

How much is up-time important for website? For some, it is a very crucial factor in choosing a web host, but for others it is not of an issue at all.

For example, Facebook will need nearly 100% up-time service from its web host, because if they went down for even few seconds, they would lose a lot of users, which will also lead to a huge loss in revenue.

But a blog like mine go down for a day a month and it would still have no effect on me (for some people it’s good news).

So, you need to find out the level of up-time that is acceptable for you.

In most cases, 99% up-time is acceptable, other time 99.99% is standard, and some time even 100% is important. If you go and check out web host packages, you will notice most of them list their up-time as a percentage.

My web hosting reviews also include up-time for each host.

6) Choosing a Web Host … by Customer Service

For all reasons, customer care is very crucial in choosing a product or a service, especially when choosing a web hosting provider.

Whenever you run into any problems (small or big) you want to be able to contact your web hosting company and get timely response.

If you are inside US, you might want to get a 24/7 online chat support. Other times, you would be just happy to get an email response within 24 hours. This, you will have to determine yourself.

In my web hosting reviews, I usually try to rank web hosts higher that offers quick support (online chat, phone support, or ticket system) and also are willing to help explain technical issues and solve problems that are outside their normal scope of services.

Some web hosts focus solely on their customers and they go a long way to help them in any way, while others will simply reply, “Please do it yourself.”

Of course, you want to go for the web hosting provider that put their customer above anything else.

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