As a website designer, one of the first things I do for my clients is make sure that they have a good web hosting solution. These days, many of my clients already have a website, they just need a new one, so I need to look to make sure that their existing web hosting plan is going to be a good solution for them moving forward. What am I looking for?:
- Is it with a company with which I’ve had a bad experience with other clients? This is my #1 because even if the stats are right for bandwidth, speed, etc.., if the company’s strategy with regards to customer service is to blame the customer and/or shirk responsibility and/or require you to have a software developer’s level of knowledge to get adequate help, it’s a bad choice.
- They support WordPress well. I create WordPress-based author websites, so my clients need a solution that handles WordPress with expertise. This means they need to make it easy to install, load extra quickly, and be secure. It also means that they have enough storage to handle things like an ever-increasing media library of images, and backups, and data transfer, even for a relatively simple website.
- They’re a known entity. I support innovation, but you want to work with a company that has a good, established track record. If you do some googling, you’ll see good and bad things said about nearly every web host, so you need to look at more than a few anecdotes to help you make the right decision. And whether a company has been around for more than a few months is important. If an upstart company gives you a great deal, but they close down in a few months and take your website with them, it’s no longer such a good deal.
- They have a clear & easy upgrade path. When you first start out, you might not need all the bells and whistles, but if your project really takes off you want to make sure they’ve got you covered without having to start again, or by bringing your website down until you pay them a bunch of money.
- You get the access that you need, and can delegate it to others. Will it be easy for you to login to your account to make the changes you want to make, and/or to give access to your web designer? In this day and age it’s unforgivable (!) for a web hosting company to make it difficult for you to get into your account with them, and to share it with your team to help you make your website a reality.
Your web hosting company is the engine for your website, and modern websites have many moving parts. They run on software that is tied to the web server with (ever increasing) requirements for storage and speed, so you need them to be in good shape for your website to be in good shape. In an ideal world, once your website is built, you won’t have to think about your web host very much, if at all. But you want to know that they’re there for you if you when you need them.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, I suggest SiteGround. They meet all of my criteria (this website is hosted with them), I’ve had a great experience with their customer service, and they’re reasonably priced. If you’re looking for a new web host, they also offer an automated WordPress website migration, which makes the process much easier than doing it manually.