Choosing hosting for your site whether it’s a WordPress site or otherwise, is an important decision. You’ll want hosting that is affordable, but price should not be the only factor. Sometimes “affordable” means that you don’t get the features and functions you need.
Here’s what to consider when shopping around for a host:
1. Is their control panel user friendly?
I am often surprised by how difficult some companies make it to just log in to the dashboard, never mind working within it. There are a lot of hosting companies out there who offer free videos, demonstrations, or tours of the dashboard area. Take advantage of them so you can know ahead of time whether it’s a control panel/dashboard that makes sense to you and is easy to use.
2. Does the hosting company have FTP transfer?
You will be using FTP (file transfer protocol) to get music files, video files, sales pages and so on, into your hosted directory of files. See whether this process is easy. Some hosting companies are only compatible with certain file types. Find out beforehand.
3. Are they big enough to meet your needs?
How much space do they give you in your package? The ideal is where a hosting company gives you unlimited data space, bandwidth, and file size. You don’t want to end up paying more money each month because your site (account) size exceeds their limits. There are many hosts out there who offer unlimited space and band width and who’ll give you room to grow.
4. Server reliability
There hosting company should rarely have any downtime. If they do have downtime, you should be forewarned as to when and how long the servers will be down. Based on the downtime ratio of the most popular hosting companies out there, your host’s servers should be up and running 99% of the time.
Online business and security are essential partners. You absolutely need to know that your sites and content are safe from hackers, malware, and viruses. You’ll want to know that your hosting company will do everything possible to protect your website/account. You also need to know that if your site is somehow hacked, that they will catch it immediately so there is minimal damage. A secure host is essential.
6. Features and functions?
Do they offer partner software in the dashboard that makes it easy to install apps like WordPress and others? Do they offer some sort of analytics that will monitor and report on traffic and website visitor behavior? Do they offer email associated with your domain name? Make sure your website host has most of your wishlist of features and functions before you sign up and transfer your domain.
7. User reviews
Check around on the net to see what people are saying about the hosting company you’re thinking of hiring. Make sure the company has a solid reputation in the industry. See if they are known at all.
You should also know that there are a lot of resellers out there who offer hosting at an inflated price. Make sure you’re dealing directly with the hosting company and not a reseller – you’ll get the best price and customer support.
8. Compare price.
If a website host meets all of your criteria, AND fits your budget, then you’ve found a good company.
With so many really great hosting companies out there, there’s no reason to get stuck with something that can quickly turn into a frustrating experience. Spend a bit of time researching companies that fit your needs and not the other way around.