web servers on a rack

How To Choose a Web Hosting Company

If you’re preparing to create your own website, one of the first steps is to select a web hosting company. These companies own the servers that you upload your website to, and there are hundreds of them. However, not every host is the same. Some offer different types of hosting plans, while some offer extra perks or benefits. Before you sign up with a hosting company, it helps to have an idea of what type of plans are available. Let’s take a look at the different types of websites there are and their requirements. This will give you a better idea of what’s right for you and your business.

The Best Web Hosting for Small Business and Personal Sites

If you’re creating your own website or personal blog, you likely won’t have a huge amount of content. You might have some images, but they likely won’t be high resolution. You probably also won’t be posting video directly to your website. While you may hope to gain visitors, chances are you won’t have a huge amount of traffic right away. This means you won’t need to look for web hosting services that offer a large amount of storage or bandwidth.

This is also often the case for small businesses that aren’t planning large eCommerce sites. If your website is informational and contains only a few pages and a blog, you probably won’t have a lot of large images or videos. Like a personal page, you can get away with one of the basic web host options. These options may even be fine if you have a fairly small eCommerce site. The options for both personal sites and small business sites include shared hosting and small VPS hosting.

Shared Web Hosting Services

Many different companies, including Bluehost, offer shared web hosting. These hosting options can be very cheap—some basic shared hosts are less than $5 a month. They do typically limit your storage and bandwidth, though there are a few unlimited options out there. Often, these plans don’t include extras like dedicated customer support or unlimited email addresses. However, for small websites, what they do have is often enough.

The downside to shared hosts is that your website is stored on a server with dozens of other sites. All of these sites share that server’s processor, RAM, and other resources. If one site starts using more and more of these resources, it affects the other sites on the server. The same is true if one website sees a major spike in traffic. The bandwidth it draws can make other sites load very slowly for visitors. If you’re the one using up most of the server’s bandwidth, your website may be temporarily taken offline, which can hurt your business.

VPS Hosting

For larger personal sites or small business sites, a VPS or virtual private server hosting may offer more of what you need. This is especially true if your website is going to need extra resources or will require specific software settings. With a shared host, all the sites on the server have to run on the same operating system and use the same settings. With VPS hosting, that’s not the case. The hard drive is portioned into virtual servers. Each of these virtual servers can act independently of each other. Resources aren’t shared in the same way, either. This means you won’t experience as many slowdowns or other issues.

While cheap VPS hosting offered by companies like DreamHost will be more expensive than shared hosting, it’s still fairly inexpensive. You can often find basic VPS hosting for around $10 a month.

Small eCommerce and Medium-Sized Websites

If your eCommerce site has a number of products or you plan on growing it quickly, a shared host or a small VPS host may not be the best option. Medium sized websites that incorporate large blogs, message forums, and other areas that will contain a good amount of content may also need more storage space. These websites will want to look at some of the middle-tiers of VPS hosting.

What’s great about most hosting services is that you can upgrade whenever you need to. For example, if you have Hostgator’s Snappy 2000 plan, their basic VPS option, but later decide you need more, you can simply upgrade to the 4000 plans. Many websites also let you upgrade parts of your plan, for a small additional fee. For example, you could pay to have more processing power or storage space. This makes it easy to customize your hosting plan to fit your needs.

It also means you won’t be spending as much money early on, nor will you be paying for resources you’re not yet using. You can take advantage of the affordable price offered by cheap VPS hosting offered by a2Hosting and other companies while you’re still setting up your site, then upgrade when you need to.

Large Websites and Bigger eCommerce Sites

For large websites and bigger eCommerce sites, you’re going to want to look at some of the upper-tier VPS hosting options or even a dedicated server. If you select a dedicated host, which is the most expensive option available, your website will be the only thing on the server. You’ll be able to customize the server to your needs. You can look at various content delivery networks (CDNs), caching options, and code optimization to make certain you’re getting the most out of your website. An optimized dedicated server is the fastest web hosting option out there, but you will pay more for it.

Selecting the Right Website Host

The right website host depends on the size of your site and your needs. If you’re looking for the best web hosting for small business sites, you’ll want to look at shared or VPS hosting. For larger sites, especially eCommerce sites, more advanced VPS hosting and dedicated servers may be the right option. Take a look at your needs to see which matches up the best. Remember, you can always upgrade if you need more resources later.