The rainbow of web hosting plans can be overwhelming for any webmaster, novice or advanced. From shared “unlimited” to VPS hosting plans, which one is actually suitable for your endeavors?
The myriad of options in web hosting can be akin to comparing apples to oranges. However, we hope this article will help you sort the apples from the oranges – and choose the right “fruit” for your hosting needs.
What Are Your Hosting Needs?
Before you start shopping and comparing the many different plans that are available, first decide what type of hosting plan will meet your needs best. Shared, VPS, reseller, dedicated web hosting and ecommerce are some of the hosting types that are available. Here is a brief explanation of each type of hosting:
- Shared hosting is considered “entry” level hosting, as you share one web server with hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites. It is certainly the cheapest type of hosting plan, which makes it suitable for new webmasters who are launching websites on a budget.
- VPS hosting, which stands for virtual private server, is an intermediate hosting plan that strictly partitions the server. While there are other websites on the server, you are guaranteed your partition’s resources – which means that if another website is eating bandwidth, your website will not be impacted. VPS hosting is considered the middle bridge from shared hosting to dedicated hosting.
- Dedicated web hosting is the premier type of hosting, wherein your server is exclusively dedicated to your website. Dedicated hosting is the most effective and powerful hosting service and is perfect for seasoned webmasters with several sites or one large site.
- Reseller hosting gives you the ability to sell “private label” web hosting. Many of the companies in the industry are simply resellers, marketing private labeled web hosting services.
- Ecommerce hosting specializes in online stores, giving these shops specific resources in terms of SSL certificates, store management software programs, and more.
Comparing Web Hosting Pricing
Once you have ascertained which type of web hosting would be the most ideal for your situation, you can start comparing the prices and features. However, it is important to carefully review the details and fine print. For example, while “unlimited” bandwidth and data storage plans may sound enticing, they are actually quite limited when you review the fine print.
Do not forget to consider the costs involved with setting up your hosting account. While web hosts may entice you with incredibly low monthly fees, how much are the setup costs?
In addition, you will also want to review the commitment you must make. Some hosting plans can be paid by the month either manually or by automatic draft from your bank account. Other hosting plans require you to pay a full year in advance. If you are a novice then you may not want to commit to a whole year.
Comparing the Features of a Hosting Plan
With a general price point, you can begin to compare the features of each plan and hosting service. Some of the hosting plans can range anywhere from $15 to $200 dollars a month. Examine the higher end of the spectrum first that fits within your budget, and utilize this as a barometer. Should a cheaper plan offer the same features, then this presents a good value for your hosting dollar.
A Glance at Reputation
Once you have perused the features and pricing, choose the hosting service that has the best reputation, both for customer service and uptime. You can visit web hosting review websites and webmaster forums to view what customers say firsthand.
Keep in mind that all hosting companies may appear to guarantee 99.99% uptime, but is this really the case? Going straight to the words of webmasters and reviews can help you determine if reality meets the marketing jargon.
When it comes to customer service, you may want to consider whether or not the support staff is domestic or overseas. Do you believe an in-house support staff would serve your needs best? Many web hosting companies outsource their customer service reps, which could impact how quickly they resolve any problems with your server.
Choosing the best hosting plan is certainly not easy. However, the time you invest in comparing plans, pricing, and features will pay off in dividends when your website is hosted ideally.