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How to choose a web host

By Alexandra Gavril - July 8, 2021

If you’re looking to get your business online, the first thing you need is web hosting. This provides you with a place to hold everything that makes up your website (that is, files, code, text, images, videos, and more).

But with the abundance of web hosting providers available, how do you choose the right one? What should you look for in a hosting company, aside from affordable pricing?

In this post, we’ll share a few key things to consider when choosing your web host so you feel confident you’re making the right choice.

How to choose a web host

The following factors are important when choosing a web host:

  1. Reliability
  2. Performance
  3. Hosting type
  4. Ease of use
  5. Scalability
  6. Website building tools
  7. Freebies and additional products
  8. Support

There are many factors to consider when choosing a web host. That’s because website hosting isn’t just about making your website available online, for everyone to see. It’s also about other important things that can help your business succeed such as: a great domain name, a speedy and secure website, the ability upgrade to a more powerful hosting package as your business grows, support when you need it and more.

Sure, pricing should also be a factor, especially if you’re a small business on a budget. But it shouldn’t be the only one, not if you’re serious about growing your business.

So, here are the key things to consider when researching and choosing your web host.

1. Reliability

Look for an established web hosting provider and check what people are saying about them on review sites such as Trustpilot.

A reliable hosting provider will have a strong track record going back years, so your website should be in safe hands with them.

2. Performance

Website speed is important, and not just for your impatient visitors but also Google. Site speed is a Google ranking factor, which means that if your site takes too long to load, it can prevent it from showing up at the top of the search results when prospects are searching for your business. Read this post to learn more about why and how a slow website can lose you customers.

So, when looking at web host options, make sure your chosen hosting package has enough processing power to meet your needs. A large and complex website requires more processing power than a site with only a few pages. You should also consider opting for a web hosting package with unlimited bandwidth, as it means you won’t have to worry about paying extra fees for exceeding your bandwidth limit if your site attracts a lot of traffic.

3. Variety of web hosting types

You want options so you can choose the right one for you. So, make sure your web host gives you the options you’re looking for. Are you ok with WordPress or does a Linux server make better sense for you? Do you want shared hosting or will you need a dedicated server?  Are you comfortable doing things yourself, or would you rather go with managed WordPress hosting so everything’s taken care of for you?

For example, 123 Reg provides all these options and more. For small business websites, the 123 Reg Linux shared hosting can be a good option for you because it’s budget-friendly (the Starter hosting package costs from as little as £3.99 a month), and it comes with a free domain name for the first year as well as free mailboxes.

If you want to use WordPress, 123 Reg Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for growing businesses, ecommerce, bloggers, WordPress hosting and multisite hosting.

If you’re not sure what to choose, read our post to help you decide which type of hosting you need for your website.

4. Ease of use

If you don’t have the technical skills or want a hassle-free option to manage and configure your hosting plan, make sure your hosting provider can give you that option. Look for providers who offer a simple to use dashboard like cPanel where you can manage everything – hosting, email, backups, and more. 123 Reg uses cPanel for its Linux shared hosting packages.

5. Website building tools

Some web hosts offer website building tools that make it easy to create a professional-looking website and get it online. If you don’t want to worry about hiring and paying someone to build your site, then look for a provider that gives you access to building tools.

For example, with 123 Reg Managed WordPress hosting, you get access to free, professionally-designed website templates for your site. This means you can create and get your website online in a few hours – just pick a template, change anything without the help of a designer or developer, and then get it online.

Another great thing about it is that you also won’t need to worry about the technical aspects of your hosting. A team of experts will take care of everything for you, from installing WordPress with your hosting to keeping your server up to date, backing up and scanning your website for malware every day, and optimising your site’s speed so it loads quickly for all visitors.

6. Scalability for fast-growing websites

Think about your business and growth plans. If you’re starting small and find you’re doing great at attracting customers and selling online, you want to have the option to upgrade your hosting as your business grows. Make sure your provider makes it easy for you to upgrade whenever you need to.

7. Freebies and additional products and services

To get your business online, you’ll also need to register a domain name. You might also need a professional email address and an SSL certificate to protect your site and your visitors’ sensitive information.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have your domain, hosting, and everything else you need to run your website in a single place? Take a look at your web host’s offering and see if they also provide domains, email, SSL certificates, and other things you might need to grow your business.

For example, the 123 Reg hosting packages come with one or more free domain names. Some packages also include free mailboxes and SSL certificates.

8. Great support when you need it

Hosting can be technical, especially if you’re new to the web. That’s why it’s important to go with a company that can provide friendly, professional and reliable support on a variety of channels, including email, phone, and chat.

If you’d rather help yourself, make sure your web host provides comprehensive and helpful content and guidance on their website. This saves you time as you won’t have to reach out to support every time you have a question.

Wrapping up

With so many web hosts to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one to use for your website. Hopefully, the advice in this article will help you find a company that’s professional, reliable, and invested in your success.