What to look for in a web host plan? We have listed the 12 factors to consider when purchasing a new web hosting plan. (ranked by priority)
High Priority Factors
1. Price & Special offers
Depending on the type of plan and the web hosting company, the price of a web hosting plan can range from a few dollars to hundreds per month.
- In general, the cheapest plans will be the shared hosting (sharing one server) types. Ranging from $5 – $20/mo
- Virtual Private Server/Cloud (sharing multiple servers) plans will range between $10-$50/mo
- Dedicated plans (your own server) between $50-$200/mo
Don’t be automatically tempted by the lowest price, as you may well end up paying more later.
- Consider your needs?
- Do you have to pay for any extras?
- Can you upgrade your package easily if you need to?
To gain you as a customer, most web hosting companies offer special introduction prices and offers.
Common special offers are a free domain for the first year ($10-20) & advertising marketing credits ($200-500 Google, Bing, Yahoo Marketing Credits).
Please note – In order to access the low introduction prices and free domain, most web hosts ask you to sign up for the upfront annual plan (between 1-3 years). Then you need to consider the renewal prices.
If you would like to pay monthly when you can pay the web hosting standard rate.
2. Number of Domains/ Website Transfer
If you plan to host multiple websites (now or in the future), then you must look to buy a plan with unlimited domains per web host. Even if you only plan to host one website now, we would still recommend buying a plan with multiple domain options. This will ensure your account has room to grow in the future.
The cheapest web hosting plan limits you to only 1 website per plan.
In addition, if you already have a website with another host, look out for FREE website transfer offers. Some web hosting companies offer free transfers (including website files, content, databases) to the new host. Otherwise, you are having to pay the typically $99 charge or having to manually transfer the website over (painful!)
3. Premium Support
Only consider web companies that offer 365 days, 24 hours, 7 days’ support. Look for companies with all supported methods like:
- 24-hour Phone
- Quick response to Email
- Online Support portal
- In-depth Knowledgebase
- Instant Live chat
In addition, review what the web host is saying about their Support Technical Expertise. Does the web host claim the support team have in-depth support knowledge? It is difficult to know how good the support is, therefore, review our reviews and other customer feedback.
In terms of Web hosting performance, you should look out for Uptime and page load speeds. Most top tier websites offer 99.9% uptime. Any company that advertises Below 99% should be avoided.
Page speed is a critical success factor for both the end user and search engines like Google. Although the page load speed can depend on the size/complexity of web page (page, scripts, images etc), the location and performance of the Web host are most important.
Google suggest a quality site speed ranking of below 200ms. Only consider Page load speed of a web host for under 200ms.
Medium Priority factors
5. Site Backup
The ability to copy your website, files and content to a different location and then ability to recover/restore. This is required if your site crashes or you need to restore a previous version.
Most top tier web companies free offer daily or weekly backup
Web hosting applications are typically included available as part of the web hosting plans. Most companies offer easy, one-click access to applications like Web Builders & e-commerce tools. The feature makes it easy and convenient to install a blog, e-commerce shop, analytics, mailing list on your site with minimal effort.
7. Online security
Read up on the web hosting companies security features. Do they offer an SSL certificate option? HTTP/2?
Low Priority factors
8. Storage level
A storage level is a number of files your website hosting can store. Like the storage on your PC Hard drive.
Most Web hosting companies offer a large or unlimited amount of server storage. Look for web hosts with unlimited or large GB storage offerings.
Small to a medium website are ok with a few GBs of storage. Look for an unlimited plan if you plan to host large medium files.
Most web hosting companies with unlimited storage do include limits in the fine print.
What is hosting bandwidth? It’s the amount of data that your website will transfer (upload and download).
Most Web hosting companies offer large or unlimited bandwidth per month.
Small to a medium website are ok with under 100GBs of Bandwidth. Look for an unlimited plan if you plan to have a popular website with photos, video transfers.
Useful tip – Please note, there is no such thing as a real ‘unlimited plan’. Most web hosting companies will put fair usage limits in the policy. In real world usage, 95% of websites should be able to transfer as much traffic as possible.
Having a web hosted account means you can create professional email addresses. Hosted Email account are email addresses you can create hosted from your account. E.g [email protected]
Look out for added email benefits like spam filters, newsletters and auto-responses features. This factor is a low concern as 99% of web hosting plan offer unlimited email accounts.
11. Database Support
Databases are required to retrieve and hold information. If you need to install a web builder platform like WordPress, then you will need to have a web hosting account with database support.
This factor is a low concern as majority of web hosting plans offer free unlimited database accounts across MySQL, PostsgreSQL, Oracle & SQL Server
12. Windows or Linux Servers?
Windows and Linux platforms are very similar in function. Most web hosting servers run on Linux server. Unless your website requires ASP scripts or SQL server, then go with Linux. In general, Windows hosting plans costs more than Linux.