This is one of the questions that trips people up the most.
How do I pick a good host? Is there really any difference between them?
There’s a few factors you’ll need to take into consideration when choosing a web host. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
- Storage. Your needs will depend on the size of your website, I typically look for a host that supplies 10GB + if you intend on a site that is growing you can look for a service that offers 15GB and over for storage.
- PHP Version. The later the PHP version, the faster your site should run. Site speed is a ranking factor, so it should be considered that your hosting uses a PHP version of 7 (the latest at the time of posting)
- Let’s Encrypt Integration. SSL certificates (having your website served over https) are a pivotal part of ranking as well as security. Let’s Encrypt is a project that supplies entry level free SSL certificates so you can ensure security at no extra cost. Paid SSL certificates are also available through most hosts, and are recommended when building an e-commerce platform.
- Caching. When your host allows caching on the server-side, it can help increase site speed considerably. You’ll also want to inquire if you have the ability to clear the cache yourself because you’ll need to do so when you make any style updates or re-lunch your website.
- Backups. There are plugins you can use to do backups, and there are also good hosting companies that can do it for you. The benefit of choosing a hosting company that supplies backups, is that in the case that you need to restore a backup, they are able to assist you or supply you with a one-click restore option.
- Server Load. This one is a little more difficult to determine. If you are using shared hosting, do your best to determine how many websites they typically put on each shared server. It’s often difficult to get this information, and will likely require a phone call or two to the hosts to be able to compare. There’s no exact number to look for, it will be more of an assessment after speaking with each host.
Let us know in the comments below what your favourite host is and how you found them.