When it comes to the world of web hosting, myths and truths abound. Web hosting is complicated… or is it? The best hosts are free … or are they? Nothing is more important than a company with good customer and tech support … or are there other, more critical elements you should be considering?
The real truth is that delving into and gaining a full understanding of the world of web hosting is neither complicated nor easy—rather, the reality falls somewhere in the middle, a virtual gray area where it absolutely pays to do your homework and be informed before you make any sort of decision. And there certainly is no “one size fits all” service that works for every type of website.
Here are some facts and falsehoods that you should take to heart before embarking on a search for the perfect web hosting service.
- Many people believe that hosting should be left to trained IT-professionals who understand programming and coding. And while that may have been the reality a decade ago, today it’s far from the truth. Indeed, today web hosting is made for the public sector: all you need to know is what you want to achieve with your site and then search providers who offer the specific features that help you reach those goals.
- Likewise, it’s long been assumed that all hosting providers offer the exact same services, so there’s really no difference between them except price. However, in fact there has been such a proliferation of providers in recent years that the industry now supports companies with very distinct and unique services that cater to a host of sites from small to large, private to public, non-profit to mega e-tail etc.
- In an ideal world “free” would always equal “best.” And this may be true for the small vanity blogger who doesn’t require much in the way of expansive features. But choosing a free service means you’re likely give up some pretty important things, such as strong tech support and the necessary bandwidth to provide consistently fast connections and uptimes. Also, many of the free hosts insist on placing advertisements on your site in order to earn income for the free service—you won’t be able to remove them, and they may not strike the appropriate tone you’re looking to put forth to visitors.
- That said, good quality web hosting doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Because technology in the field has improved so much, the costs of web hosting continues to get less expensive. When it comes to price you should first be looking at how a specific company seeks to maintain a high profit margin. Are they cramping too many sites onto a single server? This will slow down page load-times, resulting in constant server outages and lots of other problems. So look to balance price with reputation: if a company gets great reviews and falls into your budget, you’re probably safe. And beware of expensive deals that promise “unlimited resources” where the host will never run out of disk space, bandwidth etc. This is a myth, as any company that could truly back up this claim wouldn’t be able to make much of a profit as such resources are wildly expensive to maintain. So if your potential host makes this claim, be sure to read the fine print and determine exactly how “unlimited” their resources and features really are, and make sure those resources include 24/7 tech support.
- Lastly, many people believe that the most efficient way to get good hosting is to do so with the company where you registered your domain name. The truth is, not all companies are good at all things: one may have exceptional domain registration services but terrible hosting capabilities and vice versa. That’s not to say there aren’t companies that are good at both: just don’t feel obligated to take advantage of one-stop shopping. Instead search for the best one that meets your needs for features, speed, disk space etc. and another that provides reliable domain registering. You may indeed find the ideal company that does both at the price point you’re comfortable with, which certainly makes the entire process of both web hosting and domain management much more seamless.