How to choose the best web host?
Updated: August 2020
You start a blog and put hard work into blogging. Soon you find that you need more web resources - space, bandwidth, security - and you look for a web host better than the one you have.
Not much is lost if you face this issue. Most web hosts these days are glad to upgrade the hosting plan for a fee, especially for cloud-based hosting plans. Yet, it is better to try projecting the blog's requirements for at least 2-3 years.
Choosing the right web host
What makes a good web host? A big name is no guarantee but it helps.
Choose the right web hosting plan: shared hosting is usually the best for bloggers.
Shared web hosting
Managed WordPress hosting
Small businesses and bloggers can run their websites for a long time on a cloud-based shared web hosting plan - and being on the cloud, they can ask for bigger resources if they need in the future. This is the plan you should look for.
There can be a catch in any type of shared web hosting plan that you choose: some web hosts start charging exorbitantly once you upgrade; some companies are not discreet and allow shady websites that can hurt the entire server; some have too many websites sharing the server, so when the traffic in some of them spikes, other sites are badly affected.
Therefore, look for reviews of shared web hosting plans offered by different companies. Again, big companies with high reputation are less likely to be indiscreet.
There are numerous websites telling you which website hosts and which of their plans are the best. Some bloggers on web hosting recommend a specific web host. I can't dispute their reviews and recommendations but caution you that in many cases, such reviews and recommendations are colored; they have some commercial relationship with the web host they recommend.
When choosing a web hosting service, check server location
For example, if you are not located in the US and click on a link on a web host's advertisement appearing while you read this article, there are chances that the advertisement takes you to the web host's site meant for your country, and the rates might be better than what are seen on the ad. But if it takes you to the US or Germany while you are in South Africa or New Zealand, and visitors are also located near you, the distant location of the server will be an issue.
Ideally, your web servers should be located near your audience so that the website/ blog opens fast. As site speed is a positive SEO signal, this also helps in search engine optimization of the website. In most cases, it is also more cost-effective to buy from a server in your location; it might also give you better customer service and in your native language.
But be doubly sure that the local guys are as good as the main web hosting company. Check online forums and review sites, make local inquiries and also call them up. Why I emphasize this is because I have seen many reports that some hosts have unreliable franchisees or inefficient local units outside their headquarters.
Another advantage of big web hosting companies is that they offer cloud hosting. The server location would not be an issue as their servers near you will automatically host your blog.
If your blog is on Wordpress, try for Wordpress specific plan. It will make your life easy.
If your website has been built on a website creation software, e.g. Wix, Weebly or Joomla CMS, check whether the web hosting company gives you the required hand-holding support. It should not happen that you buy the plan and then realize that hosting the website/ blog is creating issues and there is nobody in the web hosting company to give the basic technical support you need.
A good web host gives high site uptime, saves your data, robust security and SSL certificate - usually all free
Security of the website is very important. That includes server security, secure connections, security certification, and data backup and recovery. Your website/ blog is at serious risk if the web hosting company does not care for these. Some web hosting companies do not provide SSL certification (HTTPS layer protection to the website/ blog) or charge for that; some do not back up your website/ blog in cheap shared web hosting plans. Do not compromise on your website's security even if you have to pay a higher sum for this.