Along with figuring out the overall category of your site, you should think about what (if any) exceptions there are to that. A lot of people set up a simple blog, and then realize they also want to sell just a few products. If you’re going to sell something on the website (even just a few things), you’ll need some kind of e-commerce software that will make that happen.
Toby Sembower built and hosted his first website in 1998, when the Internet was often annoyingly referred to as "the information super-highway." Toby is the first to admit that site was plain terrible. Nonetheless, it piqued his interest in the Web, and he would go on to build, own, and operate (and host externally) sites totaling 100+ million visits on a variety of subject matters. Today Toby is CEO at Digital Brands Inc., a fast-growing firm that owns and operates a number of popular web properties.
Migration or transfer services are often free or offered at a reasonable fee. These services help move your existing site to the new hosting provider. They can save a huge amount of hassle. Just remember that the migration process is often automated, and may fit in with the host's processes and needs rather than yours. Not everything may migrate, and you may find the organization of the newly migrated site makes for harder maintenance in the long run.
Often, shared hosting boasts unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, and basically unlimited everything. While they claim to offer unlimited resources, you’re required to be fully compliant with your hosting company’s Terms of Service and only utilize disk space and bandwidth in the normal operation of a personal or small business website.
You also want a web host with 24/7 customer support—if not by phone, then at least by chat. Forums, knowledge bases, and help tickets are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to communicate with another human to get things ironed out as quickly as possible. That said, not all 24/7 customer support teams are equal. Companies like GoDaddy and Liquid Web boast incredibly knowledgeable and helpful customer support squads—a fact that we confirmed in our in-depth reviews of those web hosting services.
And while the free hosts we recommend guarantee you can keep your free hosting as long as you’d like, you will want to take advantage of additional (paid) features as your site grows. Those same providers offer paid plans to upgrade your service, however, serious site owners should strongly consider opting for a reputable, affordable, full-featured hosting provider.
Sean Garrity is a Managing Editor at HostingAdvice with more than 10 years of experience researching, writing, and editing for numerous industry-specific trade publications. At HostingAdvice, Sean is charged with orchestrating the site’s content production, overseeing a team of writers, and ensuring the quality of feature and how-to articles. His goal is to keep organizations and entrepreneurs informed on the latest trends and technologies that can help them streamline operations and thrive online. When he isn’t wrapped up in discussions with experts, you can find Sean in front of his monitor, looking for what’s coming next in the fast-changing tech landscape.
As with backups, SSL certificates are not a necessary feature your web host must offer, this is especially so since companies like Let’s Encrypt offer them for free. However, if you’re looking to streamline the process of getting your site fully equipped and online in no time, the extra convenience of getting this certificate from your web hosting provider is a nice add-on.
To host a website on the internet, an individual or company would need their own computer or server. As not all companies had the budget or expertise to do this, web hosting services began to offer to host users' websites on their own servers, without the client needing to own the necessary infrastructure required to operate the website. The owners of the websites, also called webmasters, would be able to create a website that would be hosted on the web hosting service's server and published to the web by the web hosting service.
SiteGround has the best support and good performance but all that comes with a price (high renewal cost). The cheapest plan starts at $3.95/mo (with the 12-month commitment) and renews at $11.95/mo. You can host 1 website and the plan includes 10GB SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, and free SSL. Your purchase is backed by the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Many web hosts offer limited features in their starter packages and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small print to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your website, make sure that the low-cost web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on. Website builders usually don't cost a lot of money, but if you can find a web host that includes one for free, that's money in your pocket. And, if it's integrated with your hosting service, you're more likely to have a smooth, supported experience.
All of this infrastructure has been built out to support the a wide range of hosting services. The family-owned company gains points for understanding the importance of transaction security by offering free AutoSSL and Let's Encrypt SSL encryption for its plans. While the company offers sophisticated services for technically strong clients, it also has a Weebly web builder option to get you up and running quickly.
Shopping carts are a necessity for businesses offering their products for sale on their site. Joomla, Magento, and other online store platforms can be found in many web hosting plans as integrated features. Some also offer additional eCommerce tools like ZenCart or PayPal. Review your options for eCommerce integrations so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your store.
Hosting that is aimed at specific CMS platforms and tweaked optimally for them: e.g., WordPress hosting, Drupal hosting, Magento hosting, etc. In these cases, the best hosts do far more than just provide the minimal requirements for those platforms. They provide a rich, and fully managed environment so your site can perform like a well-tuned machine.