Siteground v GoDaddy v Hostgater v 123Reg v IONOS…
Website hosting services. Where do you begin?
If you are not going to go with hosting companies that have in-built website platforms; the likes of Squarespace (see my blog WordPress v Squarespace) Wix, and Shopify, then you will need somewhere to host your site.
What is a host?
A host / web hosting service is basically a place where you can rent space, to house your website. Before you buy your domain name (website address) you need to do a bit of research to find out what hosting company and what website hosting services do they provide, either free or add-ons and what is going to suit your business.
What type of website hosting do I need?
Cost is a consideration when you are choosing a host and this will also determine the type of hosting you need and if it is scaleable or if you have to migrate to another hosting company as your business grows which isn’t ideal.
In my experience of website hosting services, the cheapest offering, only works when you don’t have to contact them. If something goes wrong that’s when you see that there are limited resources and you potentially have to spend hours of your time resolving your site going down because the website host has not put enough resources to deal with customer enquiries or issues.
Also what appears the cheapest to begin with often ends up costing a lot more because you have to pay for all the extras (think of Easyjet v BA). Take a look at the types of hosting services that best suit your business.
Four types of hosting servers for website
There are 4 types of website hosting servers on offer. Which one to choose can either depend on the host you are going to use (they may only offer 2 out of the 4) but also the budget you have but it is also about the amount of traffic you think you are likely to attract to your site and also the level of security and uptime.
Generally the more you share your server space with others, the more likely you are to have slower performance and security issues. That doesn’t mean to say you will have them but much like a flat compared to a house analogy, there are likely going to be more people coming in and out of a block of flats as opposed to a one house shared by one family…so more chances of a door being left ajar or on the latch.
Basically your website shares a server with other websites. It is the most common type of hosting and most suited to micro and small to medium sized businesses.
Much like the shared hosting where your website is hosted in a physical server, but it is sectioned in to virtual spaces and resources allowing for greater control.
This type of hosting allows for scalability. Your website is hosted on a network of servers which increases performance and reduces downtime. Depending on your turnover of your business and traffic to site will determine whether you invest in this type of hosting.
This type of hosting is literally where you are the only website on the server. This is particularly beneficial for very large websites with a sizeable budget or requiring tight security on their site.
What should I look for in a website hosting service?
On each hosting service website you should be ableo to find the following information:
Performance and speed: A fast-loading website is essential to keep users on your site. It is a far more positive experience than waiting for a website to load. Check if the hosting specifications on their servers are going to suit the size of your website. If you have a e-commerce site or a site with large files you need to consider if there offer SSD storage. (A blog about SSD storage)
Uptime and Reliability: Looking for as close to 100% uptime may seem impossible but even a .X% off of 100% could potentially mean 1-4 hours downtime on your website per month which may work out quite significant to your business. You need you website hosting service provider to be as reliable as possible.
Customer Services: You need quality support that you can rely on 24/7 both for questions and for when things go wrong. You don’t want to be number 260 in the queue and stress out for an hour hoping that the chat bot you are using to connect with them doesn’t cut you off just as it comes to your turn! (this has happened to me).
Security: Check that security features are available, if they come at an additional cost and if you have to instal them yourself or they do this for you. I’m writing specifically about SSL certificates as these can cost upward of £50 per year plus VAT which can significantly hike up the cost of your yearly subscription. You should also check for daily backups and malware scanning.
Customer Reviews: If everything else seems quite daunting to check through then look to see what the website hosting services are doing right and what they do wrong.
Who do I use and why?
The hosting service I use is Siteground. I have used other website hosting services in the and also handled countless different hosts for my clients. Some have been very small resellers like myself and others have been top of the tree sized hosts. Where they rise or fall in my estimation is over their handling of situations when they go wrong.
Siteground tick all the 5 points above, but what raises them to the top of my list is their exception customer services and their ease of use either for a newbie or for a general user who just wants to get on a do what they need to do for their clients. In a past life I was in Customer Services in one form or another so having a system in place that values the client, helps and supports them and also shows through their staff and their technology that they are genuinely customer focused makes me stick with them year on year.
They aren’t the cheapest but they are the best value in my opinion. Their prices did hike up quite a bit a couple of years ago and I was tempted to move to a different provider as I wasn’t sure if I or my clients would be willing to pay the difference. However, as one clients’ site went down on a very cheap hosting platform and both myself and my client, between us, spent 4 hours on chat queues to get them up and running again, I knew I was making the right decision to stick with them, and I haven’t looked back since.
If you are interested in moving your hosting, please do get in touch and we can look at the best options for you. I do a combined hosting and maintenance package that keeps your website safe and secure and uptodate at all times.
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Deborah Carr of Carr Designs has been creating websites for small businesses for over 7 years and is passionate about helping owners get the most out of their online presence.
Carr Designs can help you with any part of your website from design and build to hosting and SEO and everything inbetween!
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