How To Choose A Web Host
Okay, okay. We’re not here to tell you who to choose, and if you’re already reading this thinking that you know how this article will end, you may be… wrong! Ha!
First of all, we’re not going to tell you to choose us. We may not be the best fit for your business. We’re also not going to tell you to choose someone else. That’s not why we’re here either.
We’re here to help you make the choice on your own, based on your needs and experience.
What To Consider:
- Why do you need Web Hosting?
What is your plan? Are you building a website? Developing an app? Building multiple websites? Developing multiple apps? Or maybe none of the above? This may sound obvious, but you must figure out the answer to this question first and foremost before you begin shopping or you may be in for some stress.
- Where are your users/customers located?
You’ll find that different Web Hosts use Servers in different locations all over the world. The reason is simple, data must travel. It’s true. Although it seems like magic, every time you click on a link and load a web page, that page is being served from the ‘computer’ they’re renting from their Web Host and being delivered to you on their network. The data must still physically travel, albeit very quickly. This means that the closer your Server is located to the end user (your customers/readers), the quicker your pages and content can be served to them.
To help make sense of this, picture this:
At Comvert Marketing, our client-base is mostly Canadian, largely American and somewhat global. We could rent servers all over the world, but it makes more sense to keep fewer, closer. That’s why you’ll find most of our servers here at Comvert Hosting are located in Lansing Michigan. Michigan is conveniently located close to the majority of Canada’s population, while still being in proximity to the continental US. To enhance our network’s coverage, we also have a server in California and another in Europe. This is just the base.
To further improve servability to other regions around the world, we include Cloudflare with all of our Hosting Plans. Cloudflare’s network spans much larger than any host because they are a Content Delivery Network (CDN). They exist so you can optimize your home-base location while still being able to serve a quality experience to others anywhere in the world. Learn more about Cloudflare here.
- What are your plans post-launch?
To keep this simple, let’s say you need to choose a Web Host to host a new website for your business. Great. Well before you choose, try to think about what you’re going to be doing with the website after it’s online. Chances are, you won’t (or at least shouldn’t!) create a new site and leave it alone on the internet collecting digi-dust. You will likely have to market your website in some form. Even if that just means indexing it with Google so users can find you on the biggest search engine in the world.
If you already know your marketing efforts will be minimal and done yourself, a Web Host like GoDaddy could be very beneficial. GoDaddy’s platform was designed with the DIY’er in mind and they offer some amazing tools to easily get online and do some basic digital marketing. But what if one day you’re ready to expand your efforts? Maybe make a more unique website, or just grow into more advanced marketing techniques? Well, then unfortunately, that’s where GoDaddy’s (and others like it) benefits end. They do DIY well, but once your business grows beyond this stage, their service becomes costly and frustrating. Their platform doesn’t allow outside customization, and like other pagebuilders, when you use their platform to build your website, your hard work and content is technically their property, not yours. (Read more about that here). This is when you may want to start doing more in-depth research into the other hosts, but to save you the potential time and costs, we ask that you think about this BEFORE you jump into a hosting plan.
If you plan on customizing your website beyond what a template can provide, or if you think you’ll have a professional (like Comvert Marketing) manage your digital marketing in the future, your website may be better off on WordPress.org or being custom developed. And if this is the case, the options you have for Web Hosting are a little different. For one, you can save some money, because when you go with a big-guy platform like GoDaddy, you’re paying for a lot of product R&D that you’ll never use, when you really only need to pay for a server somewhere. Unfortunately this doesn’t narrow your choices down too much, but it’s important to know before you choose a host.
- Careful Reading Reviews
Another tip on choosing the best Web Host for your new website is to consider the reviews you read in context. What I mean by this is experience. One host may have glowing reviews, but all from first time hosters and another may have very little reviews but from experienced developers.
Think of shopping for Web Hosting like shopping for tires. Everyone has a different level of need and experience that provides the context to how they write their review. If you’ve only ever driven on low-budget tires, you’re going to love the mid-budget line and write a great review for them after a short time. But if you’re used to grippy, high-budget tires, you may have a different opinion on the mid-budget set that got such great reviews. Make sense? This can be applied to most products, truthfully, but like tires, there are different levels to hosting and different experience levels leaving reviews for hosts. Be sure to take each review with a grain of salt and remember your own needs before making a decision.