Finding the right web hosting solution can be a tough decision, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Your goal should be to identify a reliable web host that offers everything you require in one place.
Unfortunately, with the many different available options, it can be intimidating to know what to look for. That’s where this handy guide comes in useful.
This is a quick look at the 10 most essential features that you should look for in a web hosting provider.
Table Of Contents
What Is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is the process of storing files on a server. These files make up your website.
Think of your web host as a digital office.
You don’t park your website in a physical office, but instead in a digital office.
This is necessary to have your site go live.
Web hosting services help with security, backups, and uptime among other features.
With so many different hosting solutions, the trick is to find one that best serves your needs.
What Are the Most Important Web Hosting Features to Look For in a Web Hosting Service?
Consider these features before you settle on a web hosting company:
You should choose a hosting provider that provides email services.
Your brand looks more professional when you have an @yourdomain.com email account.
The email service should include SMTP and POP3 access in addition to the webmail interface to allow access to emails using mobile devices.
It is also useful if they provide a web interface for you to log into and check your emails online.
Disk space is the allowed storage space by the web hosting account provider.
This is a factor that needs consideration whether you are paying for the web host or seeking a free one.
This space is used for storing all files related to the website, including audio, text, images, and more.
Bandwidth is the amount of traffic that is allowed at any given point in time to access and download files from the site.
Access means when a visitor types in the website name in their browser.
Download is when a visitor receives something from the site, such as listening to an audio clip, downloading a file, or viewing a photo.
What does this mean for you?
You need higher storage, greater bandwidth, and robust server resources if your site has a lot of images, audio, video, graphics, and several email accounts.
This is one factor that most new business owners fail to consider.
Uptime is the time your website is available for visitors.
The term is calculated as a percentage. Uptime should be as close to 100% as possible.
These are a few additional features you should look for to achieve maximum uptime:
- Backup servers: The web hosting service you choose should have backup servers to keep hosted sites online in case the web server goes down for some reason.
- They should also have data transfer capabilities in the event of an emergency.
- Backup servers in different locations: Servers are situated in physical locations.
- In case of an accident, fire, or natural disaster, duplicate servers in the same data center will not work to keep the website up.
- However, duplicate data servers in other locations will be able to keep the website up and available.
You can look for web hosting companies that offer a money-back guarantee for the promised uptime.
The company pays you if they are unable to fulfill their promise.
You should not be expected to pay anything if you are working with a free web hosting provider.
There should not be any hidden surprises.
Some free web hosting companies may provide no-cost hosting but will also force ads on your website.
This is something you need to consider if you are looking for a free hosting company.
If you do not want ads on your website then you should look for a low-cost hosting provider.
File Transfer Protocol
FTP or File transfer protocol allows you to upload and download files between your computer and the server hosting your website.
Your web hosting plan should allow FTP access so that you can upload files such as images, videos, and custom code manually.
Some providers even have their own tools to help you with the process.
To learn more about FTP read our guide What is FTP? File Transfer Protocol Explained.
Many web hosts include traffic reporting software.
This means you won’t need to work with Google Analytics or other traffic analysis software.
Traffic reporting software essentially tracks the number of visitors on individual web pages within a given period of time.
You can choose between hourly, daily, weekly or monthly reports.
This will help you keep track of the most visited pages and most active days or weeks.
The report usually also tells you the amount of data transferred.
There are many issues that can arise when creating websites or working on already built websites.
Having support from your web hosting provider can make the debug process much smoother and save you many hours of time.
Web hosting providers provide support in a variety of ways.
Some provide support via knowledge bases and chatbots but what you should look for is a provider that offers live chat (with a person), email support, and phone calls available 24/7 so that whenever you have a problem you can quickly get it debugged and solved.
Many web hosting services offer a free website builder.
If you don’t have any prior experience creating websites sites they can be a very helpful tool to get you started.
You can simply choose a template and add your own images and text to have a viable site.
Don’t overlook FTP access when considering the website builder.
A good web host will allow 24/7 FTP access to download and upload content and graphics.
More than 43% of all small businesses fall prey to cyberattacks.
A good web hosting company will provide security features to help keep you and your visitors safe.
No matter what your website’s purpose is having good security is a necessity.
However, if your website collects financial or personal data it’s even more important.
When looking for a web hosting company you should look for a provider that offers the following security features:
- SSL certificates: These encrypt data sent through the site. Only the recipient uses the data.
- Automated malware scans: You can identify threats and remove malware through certain web hosting providers.
- Certain providers offer website scans for enhancing security and warn owners of suspicious content and files.
- Firewall management: WAF or web application firewall is designed for protecting the website from common attacks.
Make sure you check the default security features.
Several web host plans offer add-on security features as well such as routine backups and live monitoring.
Finding the best web hosting company for you may seem intimidating at first but knowing which features you need is the first step to making a confident decision on which provider and package is right for you.
When searching for a good web hosting company keep this list in mind and use it to make sure you are getting everything you need to meet your project’s goals.
If you are new to web hosting and are looking for a good provider then you can read our guide The Top 7 Best Web Hosting For Beginners in 2022.