Introduction: How to Choose Website Hosting (2020)
Choosing hosting for your website is hard.
There are so many different companies to choose from, so many different factors to weigh.
In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to choose website hosting.
I’ll take you through 10 different factors to consider when choosing a website host.
And I’ll recommend my two favorite hosting companies, based on my personal experience.
So let’s dive in!
PLEASE NOTE: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on one of the links and later make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to make 100% free content. I only recommend tools that I have personally used and love. Thank you for your support!
Table of Contents
Choose an Established Hosting Company
The first factor to look at when you choose a website host is how long they have been in business.
You definitely want to choose an established company.
One that’s been in business for a while, knows what they’re doing, and has a track record of success.
Granted, not all established companies are good.
But it’s a good initial screening criteria that you can use when you choose a hosting company.
While there’s no hard or fast rule, I’d recommend looking for a hosting company that’s been in business for at least 3-5 years.
The quality of your hosting compnay is one of the factors that determines how quickly (or slowly) your website loads.
It’s basically the backbone of your website speed.
If your website host doesn’t deliver your files quickly, then you’ll be limited in how fast your website is.
And if your website isn’t fast, then you’ll lose website visitors, customers. etc.
Of course, there’s no way for you to personally test how fast your website will be before you buy from a hosting company.
So you’ll need to rely on 3rd party reports.
For example. here is one website that provides test results for some (but not all) hosting companies.
And if you want to test your current hosting, then check out Bitcatcha.
As you can see in the screenshot below, my current hosting company – FastComet – receives a score of A+.
Hard to beat that!
Number and Location of Servers
When you choose website hosting, you also get to chose where your files are stored and served to your website visitors.
You want to have your files stored/served from a location that is closest to the majority of your website visitors.
This wll help speed up your website to those visitors since your files will have a shorter distance to travel.
This is particularly important for local businesses.
But it’s also important for non-local businesses.
For example, the majority of my website visitors come from the US so it’s critical that I use a website host with servers in the US.
So when you chose your website host, make sure that they have a server location near the majority of your website visitors.
The whole point of a webhost is to…host your website!
I know that sounds obvious.
But if your hosting company’s servers are constantly going down…then they’re not completing their most basic and essential function.
And of course, if their servers are down, then your website is also going to be down.
Which is obiovusly NOT what you want.
When it comes to website uptime, you should be looking for an uptime of at least 99.9%.
And don’t just rely on what the company tells you their uptime is.
Make sure to look for independent analyses of the uptime/downtime of various hosting companies.
Google something like “webhost uptime” and look posts that were written in the past 3-6 months. (you can also enter the name of the specific company that you’re interested in).
Quality Customer Support
Run a website long enough and something will go wrong.
Some problems will be small and you’ll be able to fix them yourself.
Other problems will be a lot bigger and you’ll need help from your hosting company to solve them.
Which is why it’s critical that you choose website hosting with quality customer support.
Here are some factors to look at when evaluating customer support:
Free Daily Backups
When you have major problems with your website, sometimes the only solution is to restore an earlier version.
You can save and restore backups via a plugin (if you use WordPress).
But why do that all by yourself?
Why not have your website hosting company take care of saving backups for you?
The better hosting companies will include that service for free.
And they’ll save daily backups for a minimum of a week if not longer.
Which is important because sometimes you need to go back a bit to find the version that you want to restore. (trust me, I’ve had this experience multiple times).
So make sure that you choose website hosting that includes free daily backups as part of their service.
Free Website Transfer
If you already have a website (or multiple websites) and are transfering it to a new host, do you want to move the files yoursef?
Or would you rather someone else take care of it for you?
Someone that likely has a LOT more experience than you do in transferring websites.
I know what my choice would be.
I’ve changed website hosts twice and both times I was quite happy to let my hosting company do all the work for me.
Free website transfer is a feature you should ABSOLUTELY look for if you already have a website(s).
Above I mentioned that it’s important that your hosting company has a server that is closest to the majority of your website visitors.
Chances are though that you have visitors from around the world.
In that case, you’ll need to make sure that your website is fast everywhere.
One way to do that is by using Cloudflare, which will speed up your website throughout the world.
Cloudflare has both free and paid plans and the better website hosts will include free integration with Cloudflare.
Free SSL Certificate (and Setup)
Nowadays having an SSL certificate on your website is almost mandatory.
If your website isn’t secure, then your potential customers/clients will leave and buy from someone else.
The better website hosts will include a free SSL certificate.
And…if you don’t want to set it up yourself, they’ll do it for you!
Money Back Guarantee
The better hosting companies will stand behind their product.
They’ll offer you a money back guarantee in case you’re dissatisfied with your purchase.
Make sure to choose website hosting that comes with a money back guarantee, preferably 30 days minimum.
My Personal Recommendations
So if you’re looking for a webhosting company, those are the two that I can recommend.
Now It's Your Turn
I hope you found value in my suggestions on how to choose website hosting.
Now I’d like to hear from you.
Which hosting company are you currently with? Are you satisfied with them or are you looking for a new host?
If you’re looking for a new host, which companies are your currently considering for your website hosting? And what factors do you consider the most important when choosing a website host?
Just let me know by leaving a quick comment below.