How to choose a good and best Web Hosting – What do you need to know?

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If you have reached this post, it is because you have surely already realized that choosing a good and best web hosting for a WordPress blog or any other type of website requires knowing how to filter through a lot of junk offers.

Normally, the hosting market is an extremely competitive low cost market in which the vast majority of providers compete on price with very aggressive offers.

That causes many to rush their resources excessively to drop prices, whether they are small or large brands. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this, the practice of overselling (similar to “overbooking” in other sectors) is very common. I have experienced a good number of this type of web hosting services first hand.

So in this post I am going to tell you what you need to know to avoid falling into this trap.

 

If you want to go to the point in which hosting to choose, see this before:

I dedicate myself professionally to creating and working with websites and I have worked with many hostings. So, you may prefer that I directly recommend which hosting to choose, without going into all the technical details of “why” and how to choose a good hosting.

The cheap price hostings that have given me the best results on my websites have been Webempresa, SiteGround and Raiola Networks.

I value them this way for their good features (speed, security, etc.) and, above all, for excellent technical support. In fact, if you see their comparisons, etc., you will see that they are providers with a very good reputation and that is no coincidence.

Among the most aggressive alternatives in price, I recommend Hostinger and Ionos. They are one step below the quality of the previous ones, but it is still “decent” hosting in terms of quality and unbeatable if we take into account the price.

In the following links you will find the details of these providers (features, plan prices, etc.) and you will be able to access the discounts:

Webempresa prices, plans and discounts
SiteGround Pricing, Plans, and Discounts
Raiola prices, plans and discounts
And, finally, we have discovered a very interesting new option, very much in the style of Webempresa and Raiola (Spanish hosting of very good quality) with LucusHost.

So that’s my summary for the impatient

 

What makes it difficult to choose a good web hosting for your website

It is very easy for unscrupulous advertising from many providers to trick you.

For example: things like that your low cost hosting is optimized for WordPress, Joomla and similar web applications when it is simply a lie because the installation after a little bit of traffic with several concurrent users will throw the servers like a house of cards due to its scarcity of resources.

The key to all this is that when you want to create a serious web project, be it a blog, a forum, an online store, anything other than simple static web pages, the best way (and, moreover, the cheapest) to implement it that exists today consists of using open source applications based on PHP such as WordPress, Joomla, phpBB, Prestashop, Magento or similar.

And these applications are going to require a powerful hosting server to run the PHP code.

What many people are not aware of is that a PHP application like the ones mentioned does not require the same from servers as a simple collection of static web pages: a PHP application, ASP.NET, Java, etc. it is much more demanding for the servers.

In addition, these applications usually store their content in databases such as MySQL (this is the case with WordPress, for example), which adds even more load to the server.

Not being technical, how would they know?

So if you use any of these applications, you are interested in continuing reading so as not to put the stop.

 

How to distinguish good  web hosting from bad

First of all, when you come across the typical “Hosting for €1.99 per month” offers, be wary.

Good hosting requires good servers, good communication lines and, equally or more importantly: good technical support because from time to time you will have incidents, that is inevitable.

Things have their cost and if you want to go below you are cheating. For this reason, I would personally distrust any hosting below €4-5 per month as a general rule. That is the threshold from which I have seen that it begins to be possible to provide a quality service.

On the other hand, many providers say in their basic offers that they support PHP applications and MySQL databases, implying that everything is prepared to support WordPress applications without any problem.

What they do not count is that the scarce resources of their servers are not going to get you anywhere and that if you only have a few users accessing your blog at the same time (after sharing it on Facebook, for example), the server is going to be very slow and even fall more than once.

In addition, it often happens with these providers that when they go to the “professional” options, the resources are still very fair for what a good hosting needs, not to mention that if that were not enough, they become expensive.

But as I was saying, you can also buy good quality cheap hosting.

So, as you can see, the issue is in the fine print.

 

What hosting to choose: 10 Criteria to choose the best web hosting

If you want to hire a good hosting, the first thing is to know which features matter and which do not.

So we are going to talk about each of the features that really matter so that you know how to evaluate them properly when you analyze the offer of a hosting provider.

1. Money back guarantee.

Of all the benefits of hosting, the most important, by far, is that it has a money-back guarantee.

Why?

Very simple, because for the reasons that you will see below in the rest of this post, a hosting cannot be valued on paper and it is possible that you will not be happy with your choice. And, in particular, if you hire a hosting below the price range that I recommended before, it will almost certainly happen to you sooner or later.

That is, you will not be able to evaluate the quality of a hosting until you hire it. Therefore, there is no other option but to try and in that sense, a money back guarantee will mean that, in case you are not happy with your choice, it will not be dramatic to have to change.

2. Page loading speed
The most obvious difference between a good hosting and a bad one is the loading speed of the pages. Nobody likes a page that loads slowly and the longer it takes to load, the more likely we are to abandon.

But, what’s more, several studies have been carried out on the impact of loading time on the user abandonment rate.

 

3. Technical support

Technical support is one of the most undervalued benefits in web  hosting contracts. I see that people pay a lot of attention to things that do not give them anything like unlimited disk space, for example, and do not value something as important as good technical support enough.

There are many small tasks and incidents that can be complicated for you, making you lose hours and hours and that a good support solves in a second.

And when you have a bit of visibility, you will see that the dwarfs will also “grow up” with attacks on your website, etc. At that time you definitely cannot do without a good technical team to resolve these situations.

Again, in an excessively cheap hosting, it is impossible to have support to match. And we are talking about personnel costs, that is, the salaries of good technicians, compared to the machines are expensive. It is impossible for a hosting for €3 per month to offer good machines and good support on top of that, the accounts do not add up. It’s that simple.

As for the support routes, these three are typical:

An online support chat.
Telephone support.
Support via ticket system, but with maximum response times for support tickets of less than 1 hour.
After years of experience, personally the most important option for me is the ticket system.

The reason is simple: it is the most efficient if the support is good. The phone wastes a lot of time because only trivial issues can be expected to be fixed immediately. And for things that are not solved instantly, the phone and even more the chat hinder more than help because you have to let the technicians work.

For this, it is much more efficient to describe the problem precisely in the ticket and wait for them to solve it without you “looking over their shoulder”.

And here is an important tip: take advantage of the warranty period and try the support.

As I said, support is the most sensitive part of a hosting, this is where you are best going to see if you have a bad or good hosting on your hands.

And doing it is very simple: even if you don’t really need it, simply by asking a “silly question” or a slightly more complex task, even if you already know how to do it. For example: being explained how to create a second WordPress installation in a subfolder and with a subdomain.

This way you will have a feeling of how they work and if you are not convinced you will be in time to claim your money back.

 

4. Additional support for WordPress, Joomla and Prestashop

The vast majority of users who want to create a website, be it a blog with WordPress, a website based on Joomla, an online store with Prestashop, a training site based on Moodle or any other type of website you can imagine, do not they have technical knowledge.

This with conventional hosting can be a problem because, although all hosting (except free services) have a technical support service, it does not cover those things that are strictly outside the hosting problem.

That is, they will help you with things like the correct configuration of a domain, an attack on your website, problems with your domain’s email, etc.

However, if you have bugs or other problems that are specific to the application, for example, the famous “white screen of death” after installing a buggy plugin in WordPress that no longer allows you to access the administration of your blog In that case, they won’t help you.

Therefore, if you do not have a good technical base, I recommend hiring a service that also has additional support for popular applications such as WordPress, Joomla or Prestashop. With a support like this you will have everything covered, you will be able to solve any problem that comes your way and that will give you a lot of peace of mind and will save you a lot of time wasted on this type of thing.

That is another of the compelling reasons why Webempresa is my No. 1 recommendation, because it is the few affordable hostings that offer such a service and, in addition, at a “thrown” price if you compare it with comparable alternatives such as WPEngine, for example. .

 

5. Disk space, SSD disks and the lie of unlimited space
In the user experience I have observed that one of the most valued criteria is disk space.

If they see an offer at the same price with 1Gb of space compared to another with 10Gb of space, they tend to automatically judge the first as the best option. Big mistake because things are not so simple.

First of all, apps don’t need a lot of space. A newly installed WordPress blog, for example, takes up around 100 Mbytes of space. And to get past 1Gb of space it will typically be necessary to have several hundred posts published.

In this post you have more details about the consumption of space in a hosting.

That is, with 10Gb or more you have much more space than 99% of users really need over many years.

Hosting providers know this perfectly and that is why they even speak of “unlimited” space, a simple marketing trick to inflate the supposed benefits of the service.

Providers know that virtually no one is going to consume a significant amount of space. In addition, if you then really consume a lot of space, it is common that you get a “touch” with some kind of pilgrim justification compared to “unlimited”.

On the other hand, there is “cheap” but slow storage and “expensive” but very fast storage, such as SSD hard drives. Logically, much more space can be offered when using cheap storage than if high-performance storage is offered, which is what really suits you because of the additional speed it brings to your website.

6. MySQL and PHP databases
Practically all popular web applications like the ones mentioned (WordPress, Joomla, Prestashop, etc.) are programmed in PHP and use a MySQL database. This architecture is a kind of de facto standard in free software.

For this reason, in hosting it is also assumed as standard to include MySQL databases and allow the execution of applications developed in PHP.

But there are two exceptions to this:

Hosting specialized in other technologies such as Java or Microsoft’s .Net platform. You will need this type of hosting when what you want to run are applications developed with these technologies and the vast majority of standard hosting does not support them.
In very cheap plans you can sometimes find that they exclude the use of MySQL and PHP databases. In this type of plans you will only be able to use simple HTML web pages.
Therefore, when hiring your hosting, check these things.

7. Admin Tool
Obviously, a good administration tool for your server is essential to be able to work properly.

Personally I would recommend that it always be cPanel. It is an excellent tool and it is not for nothing that it is considered the de facto standard in the industry.

In addition, being so widespread, it makes it much easier for you to switch from one hosting to another when both use it because you are still in an environment that you already know. Therefore, it also means a further degree of independence from your web hosting provider.

 

8. Security
Before, I was already talking about some aspects of security at the hosting level, such as the prevention of attacks.

The security of your website covers many aspects that I cannot cover here in depth because we do not deviate from the focus of the post, but the question that interests us here is that there are aspects at the hosting level, apart from what you can do on the website itself, that greatly strengthen the security of your site.

We can mention, above all, these aspects:

“Anti-hacking” measures: here the elements of the hosting infrastructure such as its firewalls detect things such as attempts to find out your administrator username and password that will allow a third party to access your site to perform malicious actions.
Protection against DDoS attacks (denial of service attacks): when you gain a little visibility, DDoS attacks with the intention of bringing down your website will become more and more frequent. Partly it is for the fun of a group of idiots who are dedicated to this type of thing (the most frequent case by far) and on other occasions there may be a more directed intention towards your website by “haters”, competitors, etc.
Automatic backups: a good hosting will make automatic backups very frequently, once a day at least, so that even in the event of a disaster, you can recover your site with zero or at least minimal loss of information.
These measures can also be implemented at the level of the application itself, but apart from the constant installation and maintenance work, they will consume resources and there are things that are much more efficient to do at the hosting level, such as measures with DDoS attacks, for example.

Therefore, it is much better if the hosting itself already has good security measures, you will be much more protected without having to do anything and the performance of your website will not be affected. Although this does not mean that you implement some specific reinforcement thing, such as backups, for example, also in your blog.

9. Bandwidth (or transfer)
The bandwidth issue is a simple issue. Normally any hosting offers plenty of bandwidth, even in the cheapest plans. This is due to the fact that, luckily, the bandwidth of the Internet connection has become a very cheap resource (having been something very expensive long ago).

Here it will be much more important that you have your website well optimized, especially in terms of images, which is what most affects the size of a web page and thus the bandwidth consumed.

As a guideline, an average size for a well-optimized website should not exceed one Mbyte in size. That means that in a basic hosting plan with 50 Gb of bandwidth (or “transfer” as it is often called) you have a capacity for 50,000 page views, which in practice would be closer to 100,000 due to cache effects. browser etc

We are talking about a number of visits that of the total number of websites that exist, very few reach.

So, in my experience, bandwidth is a topic that usually doesn’t require much attention.

10. Unlimited domains
If you intend to create a second website or need to install a second application at some point, also consider the possibility that your hosting plan allows you to use several different domains.

Many of the basic plans are limited to using a single domain, so a second website requires a new plan.

On the other hand, good providers allow you to create, even in the most basic plans, as many websites, with different domains, as you want, all installed in the same hosting account, with the consequent economic savings. The only thing they are going to look at is the consumption of all the account’s resources (disk space, etc.). As long as you don’t exhaust it, there will be no problem installing new websites.

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