So I always encourage people to build a website for their brand. No matter what type of business you’re promoting, a website can be beneficial. Once you’ve broken down and decided to get a website the next question would be what company to host with.
You can do an online search for web hosts which will most likely show you sites like GoDaddy and HostGator. Nothing against these guys, but I suggest you look into some other alternatives.
I’ve actually compiled a list of 10 of the best hosts I could find. So when I came up with my list, how did I land on these particular web hosts? Well, the factors below are all things you should consider when making a web hosting purchase (they’re the same factors I used when making my list.). I hope you take the time to study various hosts and if you come across one that you feel is top-notch, let me know and I’ll look into including them on my Best Web Hosting list as well.
Fast Server Response Time
People in this day and age don’t want to wait very long to get information. According to the site Kissmetrics, 40% of visitors in a survey stated they’ll leave a website if it’s not loaded within 3 seconds. The same study also reports that 47% of visitors expect a page to load within 2 seconds. Speed of server also plays a role in how well you can rank in certain search engines including Google. This leaves little to no wiggle room when it comes to the quality of your servers.
The data I gathered comes from various independent studies and review sites to determine which web hosts servers load the quickest. Speed test sites like Pingdom can help you determine how your current host rates, simply go to pingdom.com and enter the website you want to speed test.
What helps web hosts offer faster speeds?
- SSD Servers – These are servers utilizing Solid State Disks instead of traditional hard disks. The fast access speeds allow data to be transferred quickly.
- Number of sites on a server – Chances are most of us are running on shared hosting. If a web host puts too many accounts on the same server than it could cause a slowdown on your website. Many of the big names offer low prices and “unlimited” plans, but they cram their servers with too many accounts.
- Data Center locations – A data center is where the servers are located and data is stored. Obviously if your website mainly attracts US residents than you’ll want someone with US based data centers.
Uptime Percentage Rate
A server is no good to you if it’s down. If a web host has been tested for uptime rate what that means is the server is accessed at regular intervals to see if it’s up. Most good hosts will have a 99.9% uptime rate or better. Many of the really good hosts will back that up with an SLA guarantee.
An SLA is a “Service Level Agreement”. This means if they fail to meet the 99.9% uptime rate you can get a discount on your service. Having a 99.9% uptime on a server means that in a years time your website will be down no more than 525 minutes. The really great hosts can actually do 99.99% uptime or even better. Remember, that 525 minute downtime is a maximum downtime.
Quality Customer Service
24/7 support is something that you should desire for sure. Even if it’s a live chat instead of a phone line, someone should be there to answer your questions. However just having someone there may not be enough. Read reviews and check the companies status with the BBB to see what people are saying about their support team. A team should certainly be experienced and knowledgeable.
Number of Domains Allowed
Some shared accounts limit the number of domains you can host on one account. Most of the time starter accounts will only allow one or two domains. If you’re planning on hosting more than a couple websites it may be worth it to pay a few extra dollars for an account that allows unlimited domains. This stat should appear on the hosting sales page, if not you can always contact support for the number.
Amount of Disk Space and Data Transfer
Disk space is just like the hard drive on your computer. If you’re running a simple blog than the disk space amount should not matter too much. I wouldn’t personally pick any account with less than 1GB of disk space, but most good web hosts will offer this.
Data transfer is the amount of data you’re allowed to transfer from the server. Essentially this applies to every time someone loads data from your website. This includes web pages, images, videos, etc. Anything a user loads counts as transfer. Most web hosts will give you at least a few GB of transfer, many offer unlimited. When dealing with unlimited keep in mind what I talked about earlier, unlimited accounts do not always mean better. It just means the web host cannot shut down your website or charge you extra because you’re using more transfer than usual. Not to worry though, most mid-level accounts include unlimited transfer.
Obviously price is a huge factor. A starter shared hosting account can usually be purchased for around $5 a month. Your best bet is to compare price once you’ve found the quality you’re looking for. Most of the time the good web hosts are not much more than lesser ones.
The bottom line on price is this, don’t spend more than you’re comfortable paying on a regular basis. Many times you can get discounts for new accounts or by paying yearly instead of monthly. Find an option and price that meets your needs and go from there.
Never stop comparing hosts.
Once you’ve settled on a host I suggest checking pingdom.com regularly to make sure your website is loading quickly. If you feel that a web host is slipping in quality don’t be afraid to make a switch. Many hosts will help you in a transfer process should you need to. I’ve had a number of web hosts over the years and many different developers I know are always trying out new hosts to find the absolute best.