When people Google website hosting, or click on an ad on Facebook they can be met by lots of options, and it can be very confusing as to what you need.
The most important things to look at with website hosting are
- Support when things go wrong
- Easy to contact them
- Easy to use
- The package and what is included
Generally with good hosting you won’t need to contact them often, your site will have 100% (or as near to) up time, and there will be no security issues. But if things do go wrong, you get hacked, your site is down, problem with your SSL certificate you need to have good support. I am based in the UK and for me I want to be able to have UK based support, and to talk to people who have more knowledge than me.
I have to contact many different companies through my work for clients and often the big companies (e.g GoDaddy, 123 reg) have horrendous support. The first line people have little knowledge that is reading from screens, and often actually trying to get through is a big problem. Which leads too…
Easy to contact them
Do they have a 24/7 freephone number, that you can talk to someone very quickly? Or even better do they have a chat facility that is answered quickly. And do they answer support tickets within an hour? That is the kind of support you need. Not left hanging on the phone for an hour on hold.
All hosts will tell you they are secure, but many have big problems with sites getting hacked. They will always deny the issue is their end, but have a Google, look on forums, and ask around. It becomes quite clear some secure web hosts are far more secure than others. Meaning it is less likely your site will be hacked. Some hosts won’t allow you to upgrade your PhP version (GoDaddy on some packages) without moving to a much more expensive package, this is ridiculous as an old php version is a security risk and performance issue.
For some people speed would be number 1 on the list, and it is very important, but not as important as support and security. A slow site that works is better than a hacked site that doesn’t and you can’t access any help. Again all hosts will make promises about speed, but ask around and you will get a real answer.
The cost of the hosting is no reflection on any of the points above. I have had clients paying £200+ a year for hosting that is slow, with terrible support and bad security. But they assumed as they were paying more they’d get a good service. For a lot of sites you don’t need the top tier of hosting package. And a good host will let you start on a lower one and easily increase your package if you hit the maximum
Easy to use
Most hosts offer a CPanel for hosting now, so you can go in yourself and set up email, add a WordPress install, and see your files. Some hosts only offer a very basic dashboard.
The package and what is included
There is no point buying a package with a vast amount of storage if you don’t need it, get advice away from the host on what you need for storage. Important things to look out for are email hosting size, free regular backups, free SSL certificates, free site transfers, how many sites can you have on the hosting, extra apps and pluigns for cache.
Who do I use?
Currently I use Siteground for hosting my site, they have exceptional support, on chat online which is answered fast by knowledgable people, they resolve issues. The site speeds are fast, and they are secure. They offer free SSL certificates that are applied in a few clicks, you can choose your php version. You can start on their basic package and move up if you need to. They have a very high up time (99.999%)
I recommend them to clients who want to purchase their own hosting, and I use them for new clients who want to host through me.