Despite the common misconception, there are huge differences from one web hosting company to another. Don’t just grab the first host you come across. Take your time, do some research, and choose a host that works best for you. These hints should help:
Different hosts may have different features and add-ons like website builders or one-click installs of third-party content managers. When you’re looking at all the options, be sure that what people are offering matches what you’re looking for. A cheaper host may not have the same level of features as one that costs a bit more but has a more robust plan.
Be sure to back up your website and information to your computer as often as you can. Your host may not back up your site so if they experience extensive technical difficulties or are even shut down for good, your site will practically be gone forever and you will have to start anew.
When transferring your site between hosts, have a copy of your website at both your old and new hosts for a few days. It’s important to do this because it takes 6-48 hours for the DNS to propagate. During this time, some visitors will be sent to your old website, while others whose ISPs have updated their DNS info will be sent to your new site.
Make sure you, and not your web host, controls your domain name. If you let your host control your domain name, you may be stuck with that host if you don’t want to change domains. Some unscrupulous hosts won’t release the domain info if you leave on bad terms. If you control the domain, you can point it at another host’s nameservers and start fresh.
Choosing a web host for your site can be a difficult process. If you can afford even one of the more reasonable ones, you’re more likely to succeed with it. However, just because you can pay doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose. Some of the expensive services are actually, less reliable than the more affordable ones.
“Unlimited” bandwidth might not mean what you think it means. Many hosts will tout this as a feature, but what it really means is that they will let you use as much bandwidth as they think is reasonable. If you have a true high-bandwidth site, be sure you understand the rules and costs that your host may impose.
Always check the speed and functionality of a web hosting service prior to purchasing a plan from them. You can do this easily on your own, by visiting sites they host. Remember, however, that various websites may have their own technical difficulties, and you also may experience delays because of your own computer. Check speeds out from various locations and computers.
Now you really understand the difference between your average host and great companies that have racks filled with servers, all running dedicated memory for hosting your files. Review these tips when your contract is up for renewal, or whenever you’re ready to choose a better host.