Michiel Mulders

13 Tips For Choosing the Right Hosting Provider

It’s not an easy task to pick a hosting provider that best fits your needs. Thousands of websites that offer affordable hosting solutions, each of them offers slightly different services. How to find the right solution that fits your needs?
When looking for a hosting provider, you won’t necessarily choose the cheapest option. To give an example, when you are looking for a babysitting service you won’t choose a service that lets you drop off your kids for just 50c per day
Your website deserves a reliable, secure, and qualitative service. You don’t want your website to get hacked or be down all the time. A bad hosting service might lead to reputation damage or even loss of revenue. Therefore, it is important to pick the right hosting service that meets your requirements. In addition, it is necessary to stay up to date with the current web hosting trends.
Let’s explore thirteen important tips for choosing a hosting service. At last, we finish off with a section discussing the pros and cons of using a VPS service.

Performance & Speed Checklist

The performance of your website is crucial for making a good first impression. Slower websites often have a higher bounce ratio as users don’t want to wait for your website to load. 
Here’s a checklist for performance-related elements to look out for:
  • 1. CDN: A CDN helps to make sure that the content gets served from the nearest, fastest geographical server. Read about ten data-driven reasons why a CDN is important.
  • 2. HTTP/2 support: Higher performance protocol for serving content with lower latency and increased robustness.
  • 3.Caching options: By caching requests, your server can respond faster for similar requests.
  • 4. Server location: If you are hosting a website that targets mainly European customers it doesn’t make sense to locate your website on an American hosting service.
Although performance is key for making a good impression, there is also a need for security.

Security Checklist

Besides performance, we also need to mind the security of our hosting service. What about DDoS prevention? Here’s a checklist for security-related elements:
  • 5. Automatic server updates which include new security patches but also keep offered software up to date like Wordpress, Apache, PHP, or MySQL.
  • 6. Ability to configure a firewall.
  • 7. Automatic backups of website and database state. In case something goes wrong, a backup allows you to quickly restore the latest state of your website.
  • 8. DDoS prevention: A DDoS can take down your service. Therefore, it is important that your hosting service offers a certain level of DDoS protection. Cloudflare is one of the leading providers of cloud-based, intelligent DDoS prevention. Other great services include AWS Shield or Project Shield. A full list can be found at TechRadar.
  • 9. Redundancy: For many websites, uptime is critical! Therefore, make sure to check if the hosting provider has backup power in place in case of a major failure. Besides that, it is also worth checking if it offers smooth failover in case the connection goes down and the service needs to transition to another server to avoid downtime.
At last, let’s take a look at the importance of customer service.

Customer Service Checklist

Customer service is of great importance. You should make sure your hosting provider offers great quality customer service. In case of a problem, it can be essential to reach customer service as soon as possible to solve the problem. You don’t want to wait a day to have your problem resolved. Here are four elements to look out for:
  • 10. How about the reachability of the customer service? Are they 24/7 available?
  • 11. Which means can be used to access the customer service? Email, phone, chat?
  • 12. What’s the average response time of the customer service for resolving issues?
  • 13. Is there availability of tutorials and guides for using it?
Now we have learned about the most important elements for picking a hosting provider, let’s talk about the pros and cons of using a VPS service.

Why Do We Need a VPS?

A VPS or Virtual Private Server is a physical machine provided by a hosting provider. It allows you to have full control over this server and you don’t have to share it with other websites. It is a dedicated and high-performance server.
The major benefit of using a VPS is the customisability it gives us. Instead of looking for a hosting provider that offers many security and performance properties, we can decide to go for a VPS. A VPS allows you to configure the needed security like DDoS prevention, a firewall, or automatic backups. Besides that, you are free to install any software you need.
On the other side, the flexibility a VPS gives us comes with a higher price tag. Renting out such dedicated server costs much more than traditional shared hosting where multiple websites share the same server.
In short, when choosing for a VPN service, you'll have to pay more than traditional shared services but it comes with more flexibility and control. Luckily, there are many cheap VPS hosting solutions on the market.
Want to read more about the different types of hosting services? Check out the above Hackernoon article that introduces you to services like colocation or managed hosting.

Finding the Ideal Hosting Provider

You might have noticed, a lot of elements matter for finding the right hosting provider. It all depends on your specific needs. If availability is crucial for your service, you might want to look out for hosting providers that offer a robust backup and failover service.
In case you require performance, you want to look for services that offer a CDN, HTTP/2 support, or caching. At last, when security is important, elements like DDoS prevention, the ability to configure a firewall, or automatic backups matter.
Good luck with your search!
(Featured Image Source: Unsplash - Name: Lorenzo Herrera)

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