Creating a website means that you will have to make a very important business decision – choose the right hosting environment for it. Why is hosting so important? The server that you choose has a significant impact on the performance of your website and, as a result, your business.
And, considering that nowadays even brick-and-mortar businesses start working on their online presence, having a quality site that loads fast for your visitors is a must. If you force them to wait, they will just hit the back button and go somewhere else – usually, to one of your competitors.
But how to choose the right package so that you can enjoy a fast website without having to spend hours configuring the technical stuff yourself? Here are the primary things to look at.
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Choose a Managed Package
As a business owner, you want to maximize the profitability of your venture. This also means reducing the cost and time it takes to perform certain tasks – such as taking care of your website. Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can take you hours before you configure and secure your hosting environment correctly.
Because of that, to get the most bang for your buck, you should only consider managed hosting packages. This way you will get access to an experienced team the members of which will deploy, configure and look after your server – and the cost of that will be included in the hosting fee.
And today the cost of this service is no longer an issue. With cheap WordPress hosting providers you can get all of these perks with the price of a shared one (of course leaving aside the problems and headaches that the shared hosting brings).
Moreover, because they have been doing it for years, they know how to secure the server – and today security can no longer be just an addon but should become a critical part of your online strategy. Especially if you think that over 50,000 websites are hacked daily.
Check the Amount of Allocated Server Resources
The next thing that you want to check is the allocated resources – disk space, RAM, and CPU cores. Usually, a good starting package should provide your business with at least two CPU cores and 2-3 GB of RAM. On top of that, you should look for around 30-50GB of disk space.
The final numbers will depend on the nature of your business (websites that require lots of graphics and videos will naturally require more disk space) – but those listed should be enough for any type of venture, especially in its early stages.
Naturally, the goal is to grow your business. That’s why to save yourself the headache of migrating your site as you start getting loads of traffic, you should check whether the next tiers come with enough more resources, so that it easy to scale your package once you need to. But the numbers written on the pricing page are just one side of the coin.
And Ensure that You Get an Exclusive Access to Them
The other thing that you need to look at is how the resources are allocated. For example, a typical shared hosting package doesn’t guarantee an exclusive access to the hardware. This means that if one server user experiences a rapid growth of traffic, it can affect other websites on the machine.
How to protect your business from the irresponsible behavior of other server users? There are two options. First, you can choose a dedicated server – but that would cost you a few hundred dollars right from the start, not to mention the expense of server administration. The second? Choosing a cloud hosting package with a guarantee of exclusive access to resources. While not all companies have that in their offer, one of those that do is Hostinger. Hopefully, as the competition in the hosting space grows even more in the near future, this practice will become more prevalent.
Test the Network Speed
Even the most generous hosting package won’t benefit your business if your site visitors are forced to wait for ages to see the contents of your website. That’s why, on top of checking the resources, you need to verify network speed.
Luckily, you can do that yourself easily – using websites such as Bitcatcha, which tests the time it takes for the server to respond. If the server that you’re looking at scores anything between B+ and A+, you can easily say it passed the network test.
Pick a Server with Unlimited Bandwidth
Speaking of a network, make sure that the server that you choose comes with an unlimited bandwidth. While, as you might have read, such bandwidth is never truly unlimited (your site would get blocked if you started sending an abnormally high amount of traffic to it), there is one significant advantage of having a server with no bandwidth allocation limit.
Imagine that you have a growing website and your traffic keeps increasing at a steady pace, without crossing the point of throttling the server. If you were on a server with limited bandwidth, you could miss the moment when your bandwidth allocation runs down. But, if you choose a server on which you are not limited to 1 or 2 TB, your visitors will be able to keep coming to your site.
Don’t Go for an Uptime Lower Than 99.9%
One more point related to resources is the SLA (Service Level Agreement) Uptime Guarantee. It tells you the amount of time your server can be unavailable, usually without giving you any rights to ask for a compensation. Most of the time, those guarantees start at as low as 99% – but I wouldn’t suggest choosing anything below 99.9%. Why?
This is because it gives your server company enough time to handle any server issues (which do happen – although top-quality companies usually have their real uptime much higher than the stated in their SLA) without forcing your website to be down for too long. In fact, as you can check in a convenient online calculator, 99.9% means that your website can be an unavailable for just eight hours and forty-five minutes every year – or less than one minute and a half per day on average:
Give It a Test Ride
Of course, reading about the server, gathering the data and comparing different packages is an important part of choosing the right hosting for your business. But, in the end, there is no better way of knowing whether the chosen package meets your requirements than giving it a test ride.
Thankfully, more and more hosting companies understand that users want to be able to see how their hosting performs in practice. Many of those that are confident their hosting packages are of high-quality, offer long, 30-day money-back guarantees. This gives potential customers a month of worry-free testing, during which they can start building a site, talk to customer support, and see whether the server is fast enough for their business.