The Art of Choosing a Web Host

When it comes to choosing a web host most of us don’t even know where to start. There are hundreds of companies out there each promising 99% uptime, unlimited everything, and knowledgeable support. While it’s tempting to just sign up for a free host, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind, and you’ll often find that a paid host is much more beneficial in the long run.

How do you decide if a web host is reliable? There has to be a way to make an accurate decision. Let’s consider some basic criteria to help you choose the best plan.

Cost

This is the aspect most of us will look at first when choosing a hosting provider. Shared hosting can cost anything from 99 per month. But jumping on the cheapest offer isn’t the best idea. What you need to think about is, what can a web host realistically offer for this sum of money?

Hosting company that charges 99 per month is unlikely to offer quality 24-hour support and hardware. So take a closer look at the features that each host provides, and THEN compare prices. Choose the best combination of cost and features.

You should expect to pay at least $20 per month for the web hosting that will provide decent, prompt, professional support and a fast, reliable service.

Renewal Prices

Renewal prices for cheap hosting deals are normally much higher than signup prices. It is considered a norm. Unless you are willing to switch hosts every time the contract expires, there is no way to dodge the high renewal prices. So, simply to avoid any unpleasant surprise, you should check the TOS and make sure you agree with what you are getting before signup.

However, you may be lucky to find decent companies that offer “renewal price locked guarantee” and promise never to raise the renewal rate for your web hosting.

Refund Policy

What is the hosting company’s refund policy? Are there any cancellation charges?

Every decent web host offers at least a 30 day money-back guarantee period. This should give you plenty of time to test the features and customer service. Be aware that some hosting companies may subtract the cost of the “free” domain name and SSL certificate fees if you cancel. Avoid web hosts that charge unreasonable cancellation fees.

Uptime

Obviously, server reliability should be crucial in your decision. Who wants a site that goes down on a regular basis? If people aren’t able to reach your site the first time, they may not try again. As a general rule, don’t work with providers who give anything less than a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Find out how reliable your prospective host is:

  1. It would be a wise to google and see what other users have said about the host.
  2. You can simply track your web host with server monitor tools. There are dozens of such tools available online. Some run simple HTTP checks to confirm whether your site is running, while others perform very complex back-end jobs.
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