The Truth About What to Look for in a Web Host

Some might argue that security is one of the first things to look for when scouting hosting companies. I would state the opposite. Security with web hosts is similar to choosing a car based on security. If you go to Consumer Reports and look at just about any car, you're going to see that security has been covered vigorously with all companies.

In short, these companies have realized that security is indeed the number one concern for customers, so they have invested lots of time and money into it.

The same goes for web hosts, so security doesn't really factor into the equation of which one to choose.

The Make a Website Hub site covers a wide range of rankings and details for helping you decide which web hosts to go with based on your current situation.

We like the article for a few reasons::

  1. It breaks down hosts into several categories, so you don't get stuck with a host that's too expensive or not fast enough for you.
  2. You're not only going to see the hosts that are most popular.
  3. They use a wonderful rating system that guides you to the most reasonable choices.

You'll also notice that a handful of categories are covered:

  1. Support
  2. Skill level (like if the host is best for beginners or advanced users)
  3. Speed
  4. Hosting options (like VPS or shared)
  5. Price

But that still brings up the question: In what order should you weight these requirements?

After all, some hosts are going to be faster, but you may not be willing to pay that price. On the other hand, you might find that one host doesn't have the hosting options you want, therefore, it's not really a candidate at all.

In this article we're going to walk through five steps, outlining which elements of a hosting company to look at first, second, third, fourth and fifth. This way, you can understand which of the items are most important.

What to Look For First: Speed

Next to security (which we deemed not necessary for examination right now) speed is the number one area to keep an eye on with hosting accounts.

I've seen far too many people go with a host and realize that it's not exactly fast enough to run their site. This is particularly relevant to ecommerce stores, since you may end up getting all sorts of unexpected traffic your host can't handle.

Most of the time this has to do with the type of hosting you choose, but you should also consider the number of customers being serviced on the same server. After all, using a shared server for a large ecommerce shop is bound to run into problems.

What to Look For Second: Skill Level

The skill level has to do with how well developers will be able to move throughout the CPanel and manage their own account. For example, inMotion Hosting is known as a beginner host, since you get some pretty fast speeds, the support is solid, and you don't have to be a complete expert in order to launch and host a simple blog.

On the other hand, I tend to recommend options like Flywheel and WPEngine to people who at least have some sort of WordPress and hosting knowledge. The CPanel dashboards may throw you for a loop. Overall, I understand that some people are looking for more advanced platforms. This way you can take control of your site and really make it work to its full potential.

What we're saying here is that you should understand the skill level required for a host right after you decide that the speed is up to par.

What to Look For Third: Support

I'm a huge proponent of quality hosting support. After all, hosting is one of the most complex parts of running a website. Many beginners have no idea what the point of hosting is. They simply sign up and hope that it works.

Regardless of your skill level, at some point you're going to have to contact your hosting company for support, whether it's because your site crashed or if it's because your email isn't working. I recommend scouring the hosting company website to see what they have to offer. Make a checklist to see if they have email, chat, phone and knowledge base support. A blog is good too.

In my opinion, some hosts with quality support include, SiteGround, FlyWheel, WPEngine and Bluehost.

What to Look For Fourth: Price

Pricing is the fourth area to look at. It's still important to your decision, but you shouldn't let speed, support or skill level falter because you want a lower price. That said, complete your due diligence and narrow down your search based on the above parameters. After that, rank the finalists by the best prices and go with the one that fits your budget.

What to Look For Fifth: Hosting Options

This ties into speed, since a host is as fast as the servers, and hosting options, it gives you. For example, if you look at Bluehost, you'll see that it has shared, cloud, WordPress, WooCommerce, VPS and dedicated hosting. That pretty much covers what most companies will need. On one hand, a dedicated server will support high traffic sites, while shared hosting is more suitable for a quick blog.

The reason we have this as the last item to look for is because you might not need various hosting options to start off with. However, only time will tell how much your traffic and database demands increase. Therefore, we recommend locating hosting companies with several upgrade options, giving you the chance to expand.

In Conclusion

There you have it! When seeking out a new hosting company for a website, start by considering what types of speed you would like (and how much you actually need). Then, move onto skill level, support, pricing and hosting options. After you walk through these steps you should be able to land on a host that is perfect for your company.


If you have any suggestions or thoughts on this methodology for choosing a web host, let us know in the comments section below.

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Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.