If you’re looking to get a website for your company, once you’ve decided on the domain name, the first decision you need to make is the where to host it. Your hosting can make or break your site. Your website is your representation on the web. If it’s buggy or slow, people won’t be interested in browsing it and learning about your company. There are a number of factors to make sure you make the right choice, and there’s no one answer for which company is the best for web hosting.
There are a lot of companies out there that advertise unlimited everything. Don’t be fooled by this. There’s no such thing as unlimited everything. Server resources are always limited – this just means that you’re not protected from overuse by other customers. The problem with unlimited everything setups is that under most circumstances, your site is on the same server as dozens of other accounts, each of which might even be hosting a few sites. If enough of them spike in traffic or server load (because none of them are capped) all the sites on that server will suffer from poor performance.
That doesn’t necessarily mean all web hosts that offer unlimited bandwidth and/or space are bad, but just don’t think they’re automatically a better value than another company that limits bandwidth or space.
It can be frustrating when you look at some web hosting companies and see how constrained some of their limitations are, but understand that you get what you pay for. The key is to make sure you’re not paying for more than you get or more than you need.
If you currently have no web presence, this might not be as big of a concern, since you might not have a huge amount of traffic out of the gate, unless you already have a big enough market and demand. If you have or anticipate thousands or tens of thousands of hits per day, then that will narrow your choices a bit. Depending on just how much traffic you get, you may need to go with a VPS (virtual private server) or even a Dedicated Server. The difference between the two is with a dedicated server, you literally have full control of a physical server. With a virtual private server, this is one of multiple virtualized servers running on a single physical server. Both of these options typically give you access to a much greater level of server resources, reducing the likelihood that a surge in site traffic will result in your site loading slowly. The downside to both of these options is that they don’t always come fully managed by the hosting company, so there can sometimes be security issues that would normally be addressed with a shared hosting plan. So, if you can, your best bet is usually going to be with a higher-end shared hosting plan rather than a virtual or dedicated server – unless you just have a lot of technical knowledge on how to secure and optimize your server. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to look at a hosting company that has bigger plans in case you need to scale up down the road.
Storage / Bandwidth
This isn’t an issue for most sites, but if you’re a photographer or someone else who needs to display high-res images on your site, the amount of storage space you require is going to be a limiting factor. There are ways to offset this in many cases. Primarily, the solution I often recommend is leveraging a CDN (content delivery network) for your images. What’s a CDN, you ask? A CDN typically has thousands of high-performance, high-bandwidth servers scattered around the globe whose sole purpose is to serve up files. When you upload your files to the service, they get distributed to all the servers, and when customers visit your site, the files load off the server closest to them, ensuring that your site always loads quickly.
If you dont have 20-30GB of images, but you still do have an image-heavy site, you’ll probably still benefit from the use of a CDN. In either case, you usually don’t need to upload the files to the CDN service – you can simply have the CDN pull them off your server – if you have more than your hosting account will handle, then that may be an exception to this.
There are some web hosting companies out there that offer good technical specs, but have absolutely horrid support. Make sure you go with a company that has stellar support
So, what are the best options?
If your traffic is less than 1k hits per day, and your site isn’t incredibly large (in terms of number of pages) then a good, cost-effective yet high-performance option is inmotion hosting. Their servers and network infrastructure are tightly managed to ensure high availability and performance of your website.
If you have a medium level of traffic ranging in a few thousands of hits per day, a better option would be to go with a small orange. Their pricing does start a bit lower than inmotion, but their business hosting is a bit higher, and they also offer more high-end solutions than that of inmotion. They offer 24×7 technical support, and ultra-fast servers to make sure your site loads blazingly fast.
If you want full-service hosting that will take anything you throw at it and never have to worry about optimizing your site’s performance, go with WPEngine. They have amazing customer support, automated daily backups of your site, and they even handle all your WordPress updates without you having to lift a finger.