When I started this was the first question that I had and I took me a lot of researching and reading before I was able to make a decision on how to host my website and which hosting company to use. Since I started I have used a lot of different hosting companies with mixed experiences. Earlier this week I received a question from Jim. Jim lives in China and wants to launch his own website, he asked me the following:
“So I have this idea for a website that I want to launch, but I am not sure how to host a website and which hosting company to use. How should I proceed?”
– Jim from Shanghai, China
There are so many different hosting companies out there and it is hard to see the differences between all these hosting companies. Albeit an abundance of cheaper options, hosting is an investment when you are just starting out and you might not want to spend too much money upfront. A short answer to Jim’s question is that in all honesty, a hosting service is not going to make or break your business, however, that is not to say that it is not important.
What is important when choosing a hosting service
There are a couple of points that are important when choosing a hosting service, I will highlight what is important in my opinion and to what you should pay attention to.
1. Service and technical support
Especially when you are starting out and you are relatively inexperienced this is a very important aspect when choosing a hosting company. Technical support is also an aspect where a lot of hosting companies fail and leave you, as an aspiring entrepreneur hanging out dry.
When I started out online I had my websites hosted at HostGator, one of the biggest names in Hosting today. In the beginning, all was well but due to internal errors and lack of support they ultimately pushed me to move my websites to a different company. If you search reviews on big hosting companies, you will notice that the biggest number of complaints are related to their support. Be sure that the hosting company you plan to choose offers good support, not only by their marketing terms but also by people who actually used their support.
2. Uptime and Reliability
You are going to want a website that is always online so that your visitors can access your website anytime. If the uptime of your website is lower it means that some visitors might not be able to access your website at certain times and you ultimate risk that potential visitors can’t access your site. Many hosting companies use uptime in their marketing campaign and even use terms such as uptime guarantee. While this sounds good on paper, the reality is often far from that.
Some big names claim 100% uptime, but I have had sites down for hours during peak times, potentially missing out on a lot of visitors. Uptime and reliability of the hosting company also tie in closely with their technical support. Like with everything in IT, sometimes there will be problems and you are going to need good customer support in case that happens.
Previously I have also hosted websites at NameCheap, although their domain registration is very quick and reliable, I have encountered many problems with their hosting service. I have to give them credit for their quick support, but for me their downtime was unacceptable. This was an issue that I experienced even with sites that had a lower number of monthly visitors.
3. Easiness of use and accessibility
If you are less experienced with setting up a hosting account it is advisable to use a service that allows for a one-click setup or easy install. It is likely that the first website you are going to launch is in WordPress, many hosting services allow for easy install so you can get started immediately.
Currently, the industry standard is an interface that is called cPanel, which allows for easy access to your hosting account without the need for additional software. On cPanel, you are able to install WordPress, manage your domains and even manage your files on your server.
Make sure that the hosting service you choose allows for easy set up by using cPanel so you can get started within 5 minutes without the need to configure your content management system and your server.
My personal experiences and recommendations
As I mentioned before I have used a lot of different hosting services ever since I got started online. A lot of attention goes to the big ones such as Bluehost, HostGator, and GoDaddy, however, their service level often lags behind. In my opinion, these big companies (maybe) used to be good but they have simply grown too big. Personally I have experienced problems with most of them and I personally do not recommend them.
After several bad experiences, I have switched almost entirely to SiteGround and I have a happy customer since then. SiteGround manages over 250,000 domains, which means that compared to Bluehost’s 1.9+ million domains, is able to offer a much more personalized service and adequate online support.
I know that a lot of people are struggling with finding the perfect host. Realize that your business is not failing or winning only because of the hosting service that you use. Make sure that based on the above three points your hosting provider qualifies and focus on what is really important, building you business. I can tell you honestly that I have spent way too much time on hosting provider research and bad services, time I should have spent on building my business.
So which hosting company do you use and what is your experience with hosting companies, in general, I am interested to hear your opinion! Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in a comparison between two specific hosting companies and I see what I can do!