There are dozens of web hosts offering comparable services. The variety of options presents a challenge to those looking for a web host. By evaluating several key factors, customers can compare these options and find the best hosting solution.
1. Domain Name Registration
While domain name registration typically costs $15 to $20 per year, many web hosting companies include one-year registration for free. This is a useful bonus for those attempting to create a website with a minimal budget.
Web hosts sometimes have different policies and procedures for transferring domain names. Customers may need to pay to transfer existing domain names. The process may take between a few hours and several days, depending on the reliability of the web host.
2. Control Panel and User Interface
Most web hosts give customers access to cPanel, which is the most used software for creating custom control panels. The interface is easy to use, even for those who do not have any experience navigating a web host account.
If the web host uses a different control panel, it is important to analyze the interface. It should be user friendly, organized, and include a variety of helpful links for customer support or knowledge base articles.
3. The Location of the Hosting Servers
Websites are hosted on servers, which are essentially powerful computers that are constantly connected to the internet. Visitors attempting to access a website hosted on a server in a different country may experience longer loading times.
When choosing a web host, businesses and entrepreneurs should determine the location of the server. If they are targeting visitors in North America, the servers should be in North America.
4. Types of Servers and Hosting Plans
Web hosts offer a variety of plans with websites hosted on various types of servers or server configurations. The main three options include shared servers, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers.
With shared servers, multiple customers share a physical server. If one website receives a lot of traffic, the other websites may experience a slowdown. While shared servers may result in occasional slowdowns, they are inexpensive.
These plans are often the most affordable option and intended for bloggers and entrepreneurs that do not expect thousands of visitors each week.
With virtual private servers (VPSs), customer still share a physical server. However, each customer has their own virtual server with dedicated bandwidth. These plans cost more than shared hosting while eliminating the resource-sharing issues. Dedicated servers offer the most resources, as each customer gets their own physical server.
5. Reliability and Customer Support
Most web hosts claim to offer 99.9% server uptime. This guarantee ensures that their servers remain up and running 99.9% of the time. If they do shut down, businesses should have a hosting provider that can get the servers running quickly.
It is also important to learn more about their customer support. When a business owner notices that the website is down, they may need to contact customer support to notify them of the issue. If it takes a long time to get a hold of the support team, the website may remain down for one or more days.
Besides these factors, businesses and individuals should consider the prices of the hosting plans. Some providers offer discounts when signing up and then dramatically increase the prices when it comes time to renew. Check out the Cirrus Hosting website if you want more resources.