You may be surprised to discover that the web hosting company you choose will have a great impact on the success of your website. Some hosts advertise faster services, while others focus on reliability and features or affordable pricing. There are several web hosts that have all-around great offerings but finding the best one for your project can be difficult. By knowing what features to look for in a web host, you can rest assured that you’re choosing the right home for your next website.
The first thing you want to determine to find the best host for your web project is what kind of infrastructure you want to host your site on. The infrastructure of a web host describes the physical or virtual environment in which your files will be stored. Some of the most popular hosting environments today include dedicated physical servers, virtual private servers (VPS,) and cloud server hosting. Shared hosting is also an option, but is starting to give way to the newer forms of hosting like cloud and VPS in terms of popularity among experienced website owners.
Most people are familiar with cloud hosting because smartphones and apps often provide cloud storage options. Cloud hosting is a virtual form of hosting that scales your available resources to match the needs of the users. Speed and system resources can vary on cloud hosting platforms but storage availability is generally predetermined and constant with these plans.
Virtual Private hosting is similar to cloud hosting but more compartmentalized. You don’t have to worry about your resources dwindling if other websites at your host receive sudden spikes in traffic when you use VPS hosting. Some cloud hosting providers do rely on VPS technology to ensure smoother, more reliable operations. VPS hosting also allows you to select the amount of resources you’d like to have access to, and usually provides root access or full administrator control over your website.
Dedicated and shared hosting plans are less common than they used to be, but are great in some scenarios. Dedicated servers allow you full access to a physical web server that is operated remotely. This is great if you need corporate-level resources to accommodate hundreds of thousands of monthly site visitors, but can be costly for smaller businesses. Shared hosting plans utilize a server identical to those found in dedicated plans but break up the resources between hundreds of websites. This can cause slow-downs and bottlenecks from traffic but is usually a highly affordable form of hosting.
Website Platforms and CMSs
After selecting the best hosting environment for your website, you should consider the platform you’ll be using to build the site. Most hosts can accommodate various types of platforms but some specialize in each and have a lot to offer if you know which software you’re going to use.
WordPress and Joomla are two of the most popular website platforms. They are known as Content Management Systems (CMSs,) and many hosts have special servers pre-configured to make operating a website with either easy and intuitive. Hosts that offer Joomla hosting usually have one-click installation for the CMS, which can save you lots of time and effort when constructing a new website.
Joomla hosting plans are also tailored for speed and easy configuration of the CMS. If you’re using Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, or another CMS, then you should consider using a hosting plan that is made for the specific software. With shared, unspecified hosting plans, you can run into issues with PHP memory limitations and software compatibility issues whereas these CMS-optimized plans work right out of the box.
Finding the Fastest Web Hosts
There are several ways to tell if a host is going to be fast and load your files for visitors without delay. The first thing to look for is what kind of hardware the host uses. Most of the fastest web hosts today use VPS platforms with SSD storage for fast connections and read and write speeds.
Another way to tell if a host is fast is to use an online tool to test the connection speed of a website currently hosted by the company. Pingdom is a popular choice for testing connection speeds, but be aware that slow software and improper configuration by website owners can affect the results. It’s best to go by the specifications listed with each hosting plan to get an idea of the speed you’ll find with your new host. If the host lists any speed-boosting technologies like special caching systems, updated version of PHP and other software, and plenty of bandwidth, then you’re site is going to load quickly.
Web Hosting Pricing for New Websites
Pricing is important to most website owners, and there’s no reason to pay more for hosting then you need. This is why dedicated servers aren’t the most popular option for smaller websites. Look for a hosting company with a variety of plans so that you’re not stuck paying for resources you won’t use. Calculate how much storage space you’ll need by adding the total size of your site’s media and files and leave some room for growth when purchasing a hosting plan.
RAM and CPU are not resources you want to scrimp on when it comes to web hosting. Your server or virtual server’s RAM allotment is essential in making sure your site can perform multiple calculations simultaneously. Added Central Processing Unit (CPU) power can help boost the speed of your site as well, though increasing your access to it will likely raise your hosting a bill a bit.
If you’re running a new Joomla or WordPress website or blog, you can expect to pay about $15 per month for hosting. Larger, established websites may need to shell out for a more costly plan, depending on the amount of bandwidth and storage space you require. VPS and cloud hosting plans can cost around $35 per month, and dedicated plans often cost upwards of $150 per month.
Choosing the perfect host for your website can be a challenge but knowing what to look for and how to determine the speed of web hosts will make the task much easier. Most leading web hosts have excellent plans, thanks to recent advances in hosting technology like VPS and cloud hosting systems. Find a host that aligns with your needs and preferences as a consumer, and look for added features like automated backups, caching for boosted speed, and SSD-based storage drives to make the most of your hosting budget.
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