6 Things To Look for in a Good Web Host
Thank you GoDaddy for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
So you’re tired of the Blogspot life, and you want to be taken seriously. Or, someone broke the news to you that your blog at WordPress.com doesn’t give you half of the goods as self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org). It’s time to look for a website host.
I’ve explained website hosting to my non-techie friend as rent for your website. Your website has to live somewhere. Think of companies like GoDaddy as your property management company because, in a way, they are! But just like apartment hunting for yourself, there are a few things you need to take into consideration before putting down a deposit.
Let’s be honest. The thought of only paying a couple bucks each month for hosting is pretty attractive, especially when you’re first starting out. But one thing you have to pay attention to is how you’re being billed.
Many of the web hosts you see that give $2.95/month hosting specials are going to be billing you annually or bi-annually, not month-to-month. You may also be getting an introductory price for the first year, and your bill comes up during year two, just like a cable bill. Find a web host that is within your budget, and bonus points if they have a money-back guarantee.
Hosting prices are important, and so are domain prices. I buy all of my domains from GoDaddy because they always have a deal or special. You can get THE domain at THE price, like $.99 .Com Domains from GoDaddy!
The very first web hosting company I tried was extremely meh. I didn’t need them for much, but they didn’t do much for me either. It was very hands off and DIY. The second web hosting company was like a relationship gone badly. It was all good; they answered me right away on live chats, and my support tickets were closed with the quickness.
Then they got sold to another company, and it all went to hell in a hand basket after that. Trying to reach technical support had a minimum waiting time of 40 minutes. Support tickets were acknowledged a week later. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but things didn’t improve. I dumped them and took my sites to another company.
The web hosting company I’m with now treats me right. It’s a smaller company that is always available on chat or email when I need them, and I know they’re real people.
Find you a good man, I mean, web hosting company, that is going to help you through thick and thin. Most of my clients use GoDaddy as their host, and their chat and phone support have really come in handy when I run into any issues. I love that you can view their wait times before calling.
Social proof means everything in these Internet streets. Do not be swayed by the first advertisement you see. Ask your friends who they host with. That’s how I found my current web host.
Seems like every web hosting website says they have a 99.9% uptime. Yeah, okay. I know a couple of them who are lying, but that’s none of my business. Also, it’s good to do your Googles, because most of the people you talk to only have experience with one or two different companies.
If you’re looking for a web host, you probably have a site on a content management system like WordPress. Web hosting companies are hip to the fact that a lot of websites use WordPress, and they have dedicated hosting to handle the platform in all its glory. If you’re starting from scratch and you’re not super tech-savvy, a web hosting company that has a 1-click install option available to add WordPress is a God-send.
When you’re first starting out, you don’t know what you need. You see all those fancy features and your eyes start to glaze over. But here are the main ones you need to be concerned with:
- Number of domains or websites: Are you limited to just yourname.com, or can you go crazy and add as many domains and websites as you’d like?
- Storage: Sites take space, just like the files on your computer. The more complex your website (lots of documents, media, plugins, etc), the more space you need.
- Bandwidth: Most of you will choose shared hosting, meaning, your website shares a server with other websites. Bandwidth is the amount of data that is transferred from one place to another. If this is completely over your head, just note: the more bandwidth, the better. Also, be sure to check your web hosts’ terms, even if they advertise that your plan has unlimited or unmetered bandwidth. They can decide if your site is too popular, or you have a post go viral, that you’re hogging the resources on the server and shut you down temporarily.
- Backups: If you don’t backup your website and it’s hacked or brought down for whatever reason, you’re screwed. A good web host, like GoDaddy, will provide you with daily backups of your account.
Hacks happen. Malware throws entire websites offline. Spam is a problem. What you don’t want to do is put security on the back burner. Look into what security precautions are in place for your website. Does your web host offer limited login attempts? Will they remove the malware for you if your site gets infected? You need a website bodyguard, and your web host should be that for you.
Other perks of a good web host that you might not need, but wouldn’t hurt, include:
- SSL Certificate: This perk makes your domain secure, adding the “s” after “http”, and telling people that your site and their information is safe. This is highly recommended for those selling anything on their site.
- Marketing offers: Completely optional, but a lot of web hosts offer you free advertising dollars for Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
- Free domain: Domains can run you anywhere between $0.99/year for the first year, and $30/year, depending on the top level domain (.com, .co, etc). Some web hosts offer 1 domain free for life. Right now, you can get 30% off all new domains from GoDaddy!
- Free Migrations: Moving from one web host to the other? It’s a pain in the ass to do it yourself, and it can get pretty expensive hiring a professional. See if your web host offers migrations for free.
Self-hosting is a big responsibility, sort of like getting a puppy. Do your research and some comparison shopping before putting your credit card down. And if you’re ever in doubt or simply overwhelmed, find a professional to help you out.