How to find quality hosting and not overpay, or how to choose the best hosts for your website
The internet is full of reviews and comparisons of different hosting.
They really don't matter at all because:
- If the review is written or sponsored by the hosting itself - then rest assured, no major flaws will be mentioned there. There will be only songs of praise, supported by seemingly logical arguments;
- If the review/comparison was written by someone else - how can you be sure that the writer is not interested in directing you in a particular direction, because he receives a commission for each transaction? Affiliate Virtually all major hosting providers have programs.
Therefore, in this article we will not talk about which hosting service provider we think is the best, but about how to avoid bad hosting.
You will be provided with what we believe to be objective hosting evaluation criteria, but you will have to do the evaluation yourself.
First, some general information.
What is WEB hosting and how does it work?
If you want to become available on the Internet, it is important to understand what hosting is and what types of hosting are available.
WordPress is the world's most popular CMS (Content Management System). It's free to use, but:
- You need a place (web server) to host both WordPress itself and other website files;
- Someone who maintains and operates this web server;
- The domain name, which is the address of your website.
A WEB server is a computer that connects your website to its users. Every time someone types the address of your website into their browser, your web server transfers the files necessary to fulfill this request to the browser and it generates the content visible on the user's screen.
In addition to server maintenance, file storage and delivery, hosting providers usually help with website maintenance, such as website security, backups, etc.
Types of web hosting
Different customers have different needs.
An online store with thousands of people shopping every day requires more server resources than a personal blog with a few dozen visitors.
Respectively – the needs are different and therefore there are also different types of hosting.
Let's look at the most popular of them.
They are intended for websites with a small number of visitors, for example - personal blogs or small businesses.
In this case, your website shares server resources with several other websites – in some cases up to several hundred other websites. All sites will have the same pool of server resources, including RAM, CPU, disk space, and the same folder or directory for storing site content and files. This means that if one of the "neighbors" uses more server resources, all other sites on the server remain slower.
There are also more security risks, for example – if the neighboring website performs illegal activities, the IP address of the server, which is also common to all websites, may be blocked. That is, all websites on the server will be blocked.
Shared hosting usually offers a variety of basic features that beginners find tempting, such as:
- Automatically installed WordPress or other CMS or website builder;
- Control Panel;
- FTP and email accounts;
- Security features such as SSL certificates and DDoS protection
- Free domain (usually for 1 year).
The quality of Shared Hosting service depends to a great extent on the service provider. Shared Hosting usually works poorly for sites with high traffic.
And usually getting the best price also requires a multi-year commitment. Usually prepaid. That is, you will pay for the service for one or more years, but if the flow of visitors increases and you want to switch to another hosting, you will not be refunded for the unused period.
- Low price;
- Pre-configured server options;
- Getting started with a WordPress website requires a little technical knowledge;
- No need to worry about server maintenance.
- Sharing server resources with other websites will affect the security and speed of your website;
- Shared IP address;
- Server configuration is generally not controllable/changeable.
This type of hosting is usually the most expensive because you rent the entire server yourself.
This means that the server is only intended to serve your website (or several of your websites), and no one else can rent this server for their website or share your resources. You have full control over all server resources and you have root access so you can change or modify server configurations according to your needs.
But, it also means that you are responsible for everything - from choosing the operating system to maintaining the server.
Dedicated hosting is designed for high-traffic websites that require uncompromising security and performance to meet customer demands.
- Full control of the server and its resources (can be adjusted exactly to your needs):
- Faster/controllable/predictable site speed.
- The most expensive type of hosting;
- Technical knowledge required.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a type of hosting where multiple clients' websites are hosted on one server, but each of them is provided with specific server resources that are not shared with other websites on that server.
There are two types of VPS hosting:
- Managed hosting – the service provider operates and maintains the servers. This type of hosting is useful for users without technical knowledge - if something happens at the server level - everything will be fixed quickly and at no additional cost;
- Unmanaged hosting – the user has to configure and maintain the server assigned to his website himself. You will need to do your own security monitoring, software installation, upgrades and backups. This type of hosting is perfect for website owners and/or developers with technical knowledge. It is also cheaper than managed hosting.
VPS hosting is suitable for websites with medium traffic and/or when you need more control over your server.
In essence, VPS hosting is a middle ground between Shared hosting and Dedicated hosting - several websites can be located on one server, but each of them is allocated separate resources that do not have to be shared with others.
- Provides server space and resources that do not need to be shared with other sites for a relatively low price;
- Website owners can configure their own server location;
- Does not require much technical knowledge.
- If the number of website visitors increases rapidly, its operation may slow down significantly;
- Performance is still affected by other sites on the same server.
Cloud hosting ensures excellent website performance. Virtual servers can perfectly handle a large flow of visitors, because web files can be distributed over several powerful virtual servers with a balanced load.
Another important advantage of Cloud hosting is the ability to quickly increase or decrease server resources.
All important metrics like CPU, RAM, disk space usage, data transfer, etc. are easy to track.
Many Cloud hosting service providers also offer automatic backup to avoid data loss – if something happens to one server, others can compensate for it and ensure uninterrupted performance.
Cloud hosting costs are higher than Shared or VPS hosting. However, you only pay for the resources you use, unlike monthly or annual plans that require you to pay even if the resources are not used.
Cloud hosting is suitable for high-traffic websites that require excellent performance and security at a reasonable price, such as e-commerce stores.
- There is practically no downtime;
- Pay only for the resources you use;
- Resources are tailored to user needs and can be changed quickly.
- It is difficult to estimate the actual future costs as they change from month to month.
A managed WordPress server can be hosted on any of the above types of hosting.
The difference is that the WordPress server is specifically configured and optimized to serve WordPress sites specifically – so they run faster and smoother.
WordPress hosting plans also often include additional features, such as:
- One-click WordPress installation;
- Pre-installed plugins;
- Pre-designed WordPress layouts;
- Drag-and-drop page builders;
- A customer support team that knows WordPress.
Why is hosting needed?
In principle, it is also possible to host a WordPress site on a personal home computer. However, there are several reasons why such a solution is not practiced:
- Servers are more reliable than home computers. They are placed in secure facilities with high-tech infrastructure - your data is better protected and the website is available practically continuously. It is not affected by power outages or a host of other factors affecting home computers;
- Ease of use – hosting providers provide many features that make it easy to get started and continue using your website. For example, an easy-to-use control panel for adjusting various settings;
- Better website performance and speed – The latest, high-quality servers and software are used to ensure the best performance and security.
And after all, renting a server is cheaper than providing everything yourself.
How to choose the most suitable hosting?
First, understand your needs. Just to avoid paying for what you won't use.
We are often asked: "Which hosting service provider would you recommend?".
We generally do not recommend any.
Because their performance is cyclical - today good, but tomorrow bad or even very bad.
But the answer to the question: "Which hosting should I avoid?" is much simpler.
The list could be quite long as there are many hosting issues that most people are not aware of. But there are some very simple ways to find out how good each particular hosting is.
Then we will continue to talk about it.
Choosing hosting should be a well thought out decision. Don't believe everything written on a hosting provider's website, but check the advertising claims.
In our opinion, the most important factors are:
- The speed that each specific hosting can provide for your website;
- Security – yes, there is a lot you can and should do yourself regarding security, however website security starts with your hosting provider;
- Support service availability and competence;
- The price.
Here are some tips to help you choose a quality hosting provider:
- Shared hosting is probably enough for most of you at first. Before concluding the contract, two checks should be made:
- Find out how many websites are hosted on one server on average. The easiest way to do this is by typing in this tool IP addresses or domains of some websites hosted on their servers (some websites are usually listed on the hosting homepage, if not - ask the sales department). It is desirable to carry out this inspection from time to time even after the conclusion of the contract. Especially if your website keeps getting slower and slower for some unknown reason. If the result is not satisfactory - you can request to move your website to another server.
- Find out what the server speed is. This is best done by measuring the TTFB of the hosting provider's website (Time to First Byte). This is an indicator of how quickly the browser receives a response from the server, and the hosting provider's website TTFB is likely to be the best that is possible on their servers. You can measure TTFB HERE (look at the average of 5 to 6 measurements, preferably at different times of the day). If the result is less than 100 ms - great. The Google PageSpeed Insights recommendation is less than 200 ms. The average standard is between 300ms and 500ms. If the result is above 600ms, it is probably better to choose another hosting.
- Choose hosting that ensures the availability of your website to 99.9-100% visitors (uptime);
- Choose hosting that allows you to edit or write htaccess file Maybe you will have to do it someday;
- Choose hosting that provides 24/7 customer service via live chat or ticket format. It is desirable that the answers be given as quickly as possible, ideally within 10 minutes;
- Read reviews and comments, but not on the hosting provider's website. The bad comments are usually the most valuable, just remember that they are also written by some inadequate people;
- Estimate how easy or difficult it will be to change hosting if the need ever arises (pay attention to references and explanations in the fine print).
That's it, good luck!
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The sooner we start - the sooner your website will be ready!
And you will be available on the Internet!