Updated on May 30th, 2023
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Are you looking for a guide on how to choose a web hosting plan, service, and provider for your website(s)?
Selecting the best web hosting provider plan, and services is not an easy task to accomplish, especially when you don’t know which one is best to choose.
This is because of the many options available in terms of website hosting servers and service types available.
How to choose a web hosting service, plan & provider in 2023
As hard as it is to pick a hosting service and company, the reality is that you have to purchase a package when you are done creating your website and it is time to publish it online.
Your website won’t be online unless you select a web hosting plan provider.
The good news is that this is a complete guide on choosing one.
So if you want to learn how to choose a website hosting plan and provider, then you will enjoy the tips in this easy guide.
The tips in this guide are some of the steps that helped me select the right hosting company like WP Engine, whose services:
- provides FREE malware removal if your site is hacked while hosted by them( They partnered with Sucuri to offer this for their clients)
- offer FREE download for all StudioPress Themes worth $$$
- offer FREE Genesis Framework download
- are for those looking for true fully managed WP hosting where they handle most things for you
- reduced this website’s overall speed to under 1 sec
- helped us get our website score on google page speed insight to around 98-100
- 99.9% uptime
- provides customer support that always responds to our inquiries via live chat, phone, email, or ticketing 24/7
- got our TTFb under 200 ms
- is Recommended by Google Cloud
- offer FREE migration
- Hosting provider for Yelp, Etsy, Marriott, Pandora, Volvo, Petco, AMD, Instacart, etc.
Web hosting basics revisited
Before diving deeper into the best ways to choose website hosting, let’s go back to memory lane.
The year was 2006, and according to Matthew Gray of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there were just 240,000 domains in January of that year.
Now rewind to the first quater of 2019 2019 and there were 351.8 million domain names registrarion reported by VeriSign, INC.
So what do these have to do with web hosting? Well, all these show how fast the internet has grown.
Also, all these website domains have to be made visible so people can find the content.
And this is where web hosting comes into play.
So what is web hosting again?
Hosting your site on the web means uploading files to a server so that the host can help people connect to your website through it.
You are basically renting a server and putting the files of your website on it so that people can connect with your website and see your content on the internet.
In technical terms, a few specially designed computers are configured in a special way called servers.
All these computers are very similar to the ones that we use at the core running operating systems such as Windows or Linux.
However, the differences are that these computer servers are connected to the internet for a special purpose.
These servers are used so that they can be accessed by the public to browse the internet.
In one way, every time you want something on the internet, you are connected to the websites through the servers.
These servers constantly download content from the websites and deliver them to your computer.
Questions to ask & factors when picking a Web host package
There are different web host types(packages) and you have so many hosting service companies vying for your business by offering you their packages.
Obviously, as a smart person, you shouldn’t just pick a web hosting package just because some company makes all kinds of promises.
This is why you have to ignore all the noise and marketing gimmicks and focus on important factors that will help you choose the right web host type.
The below factors will help you decide what to look for in a hosting package.
Type of website you’re hosting
This is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself.
A dynamic web page is more different than a static one.
The requirements are different.
Another thing to consider is the type of platform your website is built on.
If you have a WordPress site, it will be wise to choose a hosting service provider that provides the tools and plugins that will make your WordPress performance and speed faster to the optimal level.
Technical needs of the site
Different kinds of sites require different environments to live in.
A completely detailed list of requirements must be jotted down as a basic necessity.
The requirements might be a certain coding language or database.
Ask companies the right question
Asking the right questions to a web hosting provider is extremely important when it comes to selecting a web host.
One has to ask the hosting provider so seriously that matters.
By getting the answers to this upfront:
1. What’s each plan allocated CPU cores & inode usage limit ( way more important than disk space)?
When it comes to web hosting resource allocation, the two most important ones are CPU and inode limit.
These are the ones that run out fast.
And are the top reasons that push a lot of people to upgrade their plan or switch to another hosting provider.
So it will be wise to know what you are getting upfront so you don’t get frustrated later when you get that email from your selected host that you have reached your limit for those and need to upgrade.
2. What’s the technical capability of tech support for each plan( Support Level 1,2,3 etc)?
What most people don’t know is that hosting companies have different support teams (different experience levels) for different plans.
So to save yourself the headache and frustration know which support level( will you get level 1, 2, or technician) you will get for the plan you are interested in.
Usually, the cheaper plans get Support Level 1 tech reps.
And these reps in most cases are incompetent and only copy and paste answers.
The way it works in most companies is that the higher the tech level the more experienced and competent.
The reality is that the higher the plan a website hosting company offers the higher the Tech Support level that you get.
Every hosting company has it set up this way regardless of what they will tell you.
3. Do you remove malware and other hacks from my websites? Or do I have to hire someone?
Oftentimes, consumers assume their hosting companies will remove malware from their websites if they get hacked.
I will say that 99 percent of companies don’t.
This is why we recommend WP Engine because they offer FREE malwsre removal if hacked while hosting 9n thier platform.
4. Will that extra money for Sitelock, Sucuri, MalCare, include malware removal?
This is another important question to ask before choosing a website hosting company or plan.
A lot of hosting companies usually advertise paying an extra $6/m to $20/m for security scans from Sucuri, Sitelock, or MalCare.
The problem is the way some of the companies word those optional additions.
For some beginners, it may sound like you will get your website malware removed when you have your website hacked.
But you won’t if your WordPress is hacked or have other security issues.
Know true managed vs non-managed plans
Most web hosts use the word managed without really knowing what it means.
For example, a lot of web hosting companies will say that they offer managed WordPress hosting.
That is just a marketing gimmick.
The truth is that they are not offering any real value or managing your website in any way.
Take, for example, WP Engine truly managed WordPress hosting services.
Below are what they handle for you so you can focus on your business and don’t have to worry about doing them yourself like in a regular hosting plan:
WP Engine by default set up a forced strong admin tool:
This is extremely important for WordPress security.
Do you know that the shorter your login password the easier to hack your website?
Website security requirements
Of course, all sites need to have a basic level of security.
However, some sites demand a higher level of security than others.
Any website that deals with users’ details such as phone numbers, emails, or credit card-related details must have a decent level of security measurements embedded into it.
If your website will be running or currently running on WordPress security is extremely important.
With WordPress, Joomla, and Magento being the most hacked cms according to a Securi report, you want to make sure that when picking a website hosting package that you pick one that has strong security features.
This is one of the reasons shared hosting is not recommended. But rather managed or cloud hosting as they provide better security.
A need for email hosting?
You should have decided by now whether your site requires a set-up of email addresses along with the domain or not, for example, email@example.com.
If your decision is yes, then you need to decide whether you want to have your host take care of the emails or have another provider tend to them.
Single or group website?
If your hosting requirements need you to host multiple sites, then you need to make another decision.
Do you want the different sites to be on a subdomain of a mother’s side such as newsite.mothersite.com or for them to be on individual websites such as newsite.com?
Do the other sites have any kind of special requirements such as a different database or a different coding language?
Data size a hosting provider can store
The thing to keep in mind while choosing your host package is not only the number of people visiting your website on a day-to-day basis but also the amount of data that the website has to store and handle.
According to the sizes of the chunks of data, the bandwidth must be increased.
For example, any website which has to handle a lot of pictures of high quality will need higher bandwidth than a website that is dealing with just text.
The traffic you expect initially
You may or may not expect huge traffic in the early stages of the deployment of the website.
However, you should make sure that the host picked can afford to expand their capacity over time.
Price value vs your budget
Before you can start looking for a website hosting plan, you must make up your mind about the amount of money that you can spend on hosting.
This is a recurring expense.
That means you need to pay money continuously to host your website for months.
But don’t focus on a cheap package when choosing a web host.
Look for value and be willing to add a little extra for a piece of mind and the performance of your website.
Handling tasks yourself vs not
Although creating a website from scratch isn’t that difficult, keeping it maintained is.
The different technical tasks that need to be handled require a level of management skill in the technical department.
If you are confident enough to handle it yourself, then do so.
However, if you want someone else to take over and maintain the website, then that’s possible too.
This is where picking the right web host comes in place.
When you choose the right package, the features of that package will make sure that your website is running smoothly with updates, etc.
What makes a good web host provider?
Now that we have explained the things to keep in mind when selecting a package, let’s discuss how to choose a provider.
Finding the best possible web hosting provider comes down to whether the service provider can provide 24/7 customer support, have a well-trained technical team that is available 24/7, ability to scale as your website grow, has multiple server locations around the globe, has more than basic features and infrastructures with security and performance in mind, etc.
24/7 customer support
Having 24/7 customer support is extremely important.
Website issues and server issues arise all the time and you should have the availability of knowledgeable customer support to help you.
Getting a hold of a human being makes things easier.
This is why you shouldn’t just focus on web host prices alone but also make sure that the provider is available around the clock to help.
Before I select our current hosting company, I looked at another company with great reviews but they didn’t have 24/7 customer support to answer some questions.
And to make things worse, when we left a message on their website contact form, they didn’t get back to us for about two days.
Even though, people raved about that company’s services we felt that their customer support would meet our expectations.
Exp. & competent technical team
Having a well-trained, competent, and experienced technical team for all levels of a hosting plan is extremely important.
Having an experienced technical team that one can reach anytime makes a huge difference in the performance of a website, and your peace of mind, and saves you time from dealing with an incompetent tech team.
If you are a beginner it is even more imperative that you pick a web hosting provider with an experienced support team, this is extremely important because you need a technical support team that can help you set up things correctly and respond immediately or at a reasonable time when things go back.
Scalability as site traffic grow
This how-to choose a web hosting provider guide wouldn’t be complete if we do stress how important it is to have a hosting company that has the technical team and infrastructures in place to handle bigger and more technical websites.
The ability of a provider to scale the product requirements as your website traffic increases and as well as how to handle your websites becoming more technical is extremely important when choosing a hosting provider.
Some providers don’t have the capability to handle a complicated website with custom or advanced tools.
Amount & locations of servers
When choosing a web hosting provider make sure that the company has servers in your country or region.
The more server location a provider has the more your website will be faster to people closer to that area.
Websites speed matters because it will help with your website conversion as people love faster websites. And also your ranking.
A site loading speed is so important that Pinteres improved its ranking and sign-up by 15% when they reduce its website loading speed.
Consider using CDN like Cloudflare to improve speed in other areas your hosting provider doesn’t have servers in.
Final words on how to pick a web hosting services and provider
We hope that our how-to choose a web host for your website guide has been helpful.
It doesn’t matter how well you create a website if it isn’t posted online.
The chance of the project succeeding depends a lot upon the hosting servers and provider that you choose.
If a website is hosted on a good foundation with good speed and features, then it can help you gain stability and security so that you won’t have to give the hosting service provider a second thought.
It is not just important to pick the right plan but also the right provider.
You may have the right web hosting plan but things go wrong and you need to make sure you selected the right hosting services provider that takes customer service seriously and has a well-trained and experienced technical team available 24/7 to deal with issues.
Web hosting FAQs
Q: What are the Types of hosting servers?
A: Understanding the different types of website hosting servers on the basic level is very important as that will help you in choosing a web host that is suitable for your hosting needs.
So what are the different types of web hosts to know?
When choosing a web hosting service, one of the first ones to consider for most people is the shared website hosting.
The cheapest servers are found on the shared servers which might run more than a hundred or thousands of websites at once.
Depending on the other sites, the performance will vary.
The capabilities are also limited by the amount of stress generated.
The programs which can run on the server also get limited.
Security is an issue on this type of hosting server.
The people that choose this type of web host are normally those with a hobby website.
If you are expecting large traffic for your website this might not be for you.
Shared servers, especially, the lower-tiered ones are one of the reasons for slow loading sites and security problems.
VPS stands for virtual private server which is an imitation of a virtual machine on a box.
Although multiple VPS might run on a single machine, the performance is usually better than the shared servers.
This type of plan combines the advantage and disadvantages of a shared and dedicated server.
You have many types of it too which are Windows, Linux, OpenVZ, Xen, cloud, managed and unmanaged VPS, etc.
A dedicated server is another option to pick from that is better than a shared server.
You basically get to have an entire server only to you. And stored in a special data center.
This type is usually great for large organizations or website that is expected it is generating a lot of traffic.
The type offers more security and resources dedicated to your websites.
This is a great option when your website has surpassed shared hosting.
In cloud server hosting you will get dedicated resources for your website which allows you to scale your website and also you typically will have an account manager assigned to you.
Q: What’re the 3 categories of server hosting?
A: Any of the types of web hosting mentioned can either be fully managed, semi-managed, or unmanaged.
When a website is truly fully managed by a hosting provider, they provide peace of mind and save you time so you can focus on other aspects of your business or website.
They go beyond the features. They offer you things that you typically have to pay extra for.
And handle some of the extra speed and security optimization you will typically have to learn to do or hire an expert to do for you.
For example, If you have WordPress, one of the truly fully managed WP providers is WP Engine
They only host WordPress and they are a fully managed WP company because they offer the below:
- Enabled Force Strong Password: All WP sites on their server by default is forced to have a strong password to help deter hacking.
- Remove Malware & SQL Injection For Free – You heard that right! If your site is hacked they will remove it free of charge.
- Fully managed cloud hosting with the top tier Google Cloud and Intel C2( there’re different tiers to cloud hosting and most hosting companies use lower tier which is not good for speed)
- They are the web hosting provider for companies like Yelp, Petco, Instacart, AMD, Motley Fool, NBA, News Corp, the City of New York, Under Armour, Soundcloud etc.
- 24/7 phone and chat support
Even though a lot of providers say that they offer for example managed Worpress hosting, it is not fully managed.
One of the good semi-managed WordPress hosting services are from WPX.
This type of hosting means that you are fully responsible for everything. Making sure that your website is backed up daily, up to date, and handling security.
You are also responsible for uploading the websites and you rarely get any support.
This is usually the option for the well-advanced developers or someone with their own experienced part-time or full-time development team.
About the Author
A Los Angeles resident who loves to write awesome guides on SEO, WordPress speed/security, content strategies, business and personal finance, digital and growth hack tools, legal stuff, etc, that are helpful to businesses, solopreneurs, bloggers, and consumers.
What I write about is based on tests, extensive research, and 11+ years of experience as a former Senior digital & content marketing consultant with a division of Thomson Reuters and running a successful digital marketing agency…[Read full bio]