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One of the most most important factors to consider when launching a website is choosing the right web hosting service. Many people become overwhelmed by the number of options and features available.

Throughout this page, we’ll go over the basics of hosting.  We will cover an explanation of hosting types and which important features to keep in mind while researching a hosting plan.

Important Features to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

Shopping for a web host today proves daunting for most of us, mainly owing to the numerous service providers claiming to offer high quality services. The majority of companies make more or less the same claims like offering; unlimited bandwidth, email, unlimited disk space etc.

You want to find a web host that provides the best possible uptime, website builders, round the clock support and more.

We’ve compiled a list of important features to consider as you embark on a due diligence on your shortlisted web host companies.

How to Choose a Web Hosting Service

1. Determine Your Hosting Needs

We all get excited when starting a new project, but in order to chose the best web hosting provider you first need to know your needs. Determining your needs from the beginning is essential and will set you up for success in the long term. Before continuing – sit down and ask yourself a few questions about what you need:

  • What are my website goals?
  • What kind of website will I be building (blog, eCommerce, etc.)?
  • What level of traffic are you expecting?
  • Are you in need of specific language support (Perl, Python, etc.)?
  • Do you need specific applications or plugins?
  • Are you looking for specific CMS (content management system, i.e. WordPress) support?

With these questions in mind, envision what your website will look like a year from now. Consider what you may need to successfully achieve that goal. This may be your content, but also tools that will help you deliver that content.

If you are just starting out, there are plenty of options to get your feet wet and learn about building a website. In this case, we recommend you start with a solid shared hosting plan, like this one from Bluehost.

Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting.

These packages are cheap, easy to set up and maintain. You will find the majority of hosting providers offer various levels of shared hosting options, making it easy to get started for almost anyone with any budget.

2. Web Hosting Terminology

TermDefinition
Disk SpaceThe amount of data that can be stored on the physical web server. The bigger a website, the more disk space it needs. Typically measured in GB.
BandwidthThe amount of data that can be transferred between your website, its users and the greater internet. Typically described as the amount of traffic (visitors) a website can handle.
UptimeMeasured as the length of time a server has been up and running, as a percentage. Ex: 99.9% uptime.
Sub DomainsA sub domain is an additional website under the primary domain, with its own unique content. Sub domains replace the www in a web address with another word. For example, a sub domain of this website would look like help.hostingaffinity.com, or shop.hostingaffinity.com
Parked DomainsA parked domain is one that you own, but is held on the side, or “parked” until you are ready to develop it.
Linux and Windows ServersThese are the two most common operating systems of web hosting servers. Linux configured servers are the most common, offering versatility, vast programming language support, cPanel and a variety of applications. Windows configured servers are often slightly more expensive and are built to support Windows technologies and enterprise level systems.
CMSContent Management System: A CMS is the software that provides the architecture and structure upon which you can build a website. Typically access through a web browser, a CMS allows you to access the “back-end” of your website. Here is where you configure, build and deploy the website that your visitors will see when visiting your web address.
cPanelTypically used with Linux servers, cPanel is the administration panel of a hosting account. From cPanel, you can access files on your server, configure email accounts, run applications and more.
Website MigrationThe process of moving all the files of a website from one location (server) to another.
SSD Drives
Solid State Drives: like Hard Disk Drives, SSD drives are the physical hardware components that makeup servers. SSD, unlike hard drives, do not have moving parts and utilize flash memory, vastly increasing speed.
HTTP/2Hyper Text Transfer Protocol: allows retrieval of data from devices connected to the internet in a secure protected manner.
CDNContent Delivery Network: stores a cached version of your website on various servers in physical locations throughout the world. Increases site speed by serving your website content to visitors from the nearest server location.
SSL
Secure Sockets Layer: security protocol that creates encrypted links between a server and browser.
CachingTemporary storage of website files that reduce server response time and bandwidth usage.
DNSDomain Name System: allows browsers to read domain names as IP addresses. Name servers are an integral part of the DNS of your website.
Name ServersServer specifically used to manage domains owned by customers of a web host.
FTP/ SFTPFile Transfer Protocol: protocol used to transfer files between a computer and server. FileZilla is a common FTP client program used to transfer files.
Website StagingA “testing ground” where a website can be developed before being sent live on the internet. Website staging is used to test updates before applying them, building new sites, and testing for bugs.

3. Price and Money Back Guarantee

Perhaps the first thing you’ll look at before choosing a hosting company; a cost comparison is essential but shouldn’t be the determining factor.

When you note considerable price variations, recall the old platitude – you get what you pay for.

Choosing the lowest priced option isn’t always the best idea, particularly if you want to generate income from your site. Quality hardware and non-outsourced support don’t come for free, thus a provider that levies $1.99 monthly won’t cut it.

Take a close look at specific features offered by each company you are considering, and only then make price comparisons.

Money Back Guarantee

When you sign up with a hosting company and purchase a plan, you’ll most likely be offered a free trial period. During this time you can test the quality of the service offered by the plan.

Should you be dissatisfied with the service for one reason or another, you can opt out of the plan; that is, cancel it.

Although some companies offer full money-back guaranteed in case you decide to exit the hosting plan during their services’ trial periods, others won’t allow you to move your files until you pay a certain amount.

Still, there are others that offer money-back guarantees at any time, whether during or after trial period. In most of such cases, you’ll get a full refund of your money if you cancel a plan during its trial period and a pro-rated refund in case you decide to unsubscribe after that period.

review of web hosting guarantees

Refund Policy Conclusion

It is important that you check the refund policy of a company from its terms of service when doing a website hosting comparison.

Look for the section about about client’s refund upon the lapse of or during the trial period of their services and ask these questions: 

  1. Does it require a cancellation charge or extra fees?
  2. Is the refund in full or pro-rated?
  3. Is there a fee for website migration?

A hosting company with a full money-back guarantee demonstrates its commitment to customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, a company that doesn’t have such policy seems to be more inclined to revenue generation at the expense of customer satisfaction and less transparent about such policies.

4. Types of Hosting

Hinging on your level of proficiency, web hosting – the process of making available web pages and websites to many users – may prove simple or daunting.

While hosts act as the storage place for sites, they vary in reliability, server speed, technical knowledge requirement and storage capacity. Let’s look into the most common types of web hosting:

Shared Hosting

Ideal for: Entry level hostingsmall businesses, bloggers or community groups.

Your website is shares a server with other sites ranging from a couple hundred to thousands. All domains share server resources like the central processing unit (CPU), and the random access memory (RAM).

People keen on running forums may find shared hosting relatively simple, straight forward, and easy to setup. Shared hosting plans often come with handy with website building tools, email clients and 1-click WordPress install.

The best shared hosting companies make it easy to get started hosting a website. Oftentimes you will find a discounted entry level rate when you pay in advance (typically a 3 year period). You can expect to pay as little as a dollar or two to get started with shared hosting.

The Cons: 

  • Traffic surges owing to shared server environment. Someone else on the shared server sees a massive increase in traffic could affect user experience on your website by slowing it down.
  • Security concerns posed with a shared server environment. You cannot install your own antivirus or malware prevention software.
  • Limited server customization 

Managed Hosting

Ideal for: Those who lack technical knowledge and want their site to run fully optimized and smoothly. Growing businesses who’s hosting plan can grow with them, allowing for rapid scaling.

Managed hosting offers website owners the freedom to focus on what they care about the most. By eliminating the need for technical server setup and maintenance, managed hosting plans come with a number of perks. 

With one of these plans you will get automatic caching and WordPress updates, built in CDN, database, speed and security optimizations. A focus on rapid, high quality customer support is another key selling point of the best managed web hosting companies.

The Cons: 

  • Managed hosting is almost always focused on WordPress hosting only. However this shouldn’t be a problem for the majority of users.
  • Managed WordPress hosting plans come at a slightly higher price point. Expect to pay $15-$30/ month for one of these plans.
  • Sometimes these hosts have a list of banned plugins, so be sure to check if any of your favorites are on the list before signing up.
  • It goes without saying, but users have less control with a manged hosting plan.

VPS Hosting

Ideal for: Those in need of more control and server side customization, but not keen on investing in a dedicated server.

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting service emulates a dedicated server despite operating in a shared hosting environment.

VPS hosting entails splitting one server into multiple virtual servers where each site is hosted on one of these dedicated virtual servers, although the physical hardware is shared with other websites.

VPS bears cost incentives of shared hosting but affords control of a dedicated host – an impeccable choice for expert users and requiring specific package and software installations.

The Cons: 

  • As with standard shared hosting, other sites hosted in the server affect site performance. 
  • VPS plans are unable to handle high volume traffic or spikes in usage like a dedicated server, as resources are sometimes not allocated properly.
  • More expensive than shared hosting.

Dedicated Hosting

Ideal for: Growing websites who need more resources in order to scale. Websites with high traffic volume, or large eCommerce sites for example.

Dedicated server hosting affords site owners immense control of the server. You exclusively rent the server upon which your site is exclusively hosted.

You have admin access, thus giving you control of all things ranging from the operating system to security. However, such control comes at a cost.

Dedicated servers – called Bare Metal Servers – in some quarters cost more compared to other options and are only cost effective for sites boating of high traffic in need of a well performing server and high control levels.

The Cons:

  • High price point makes dedicated servers an option for only those with high performing sites. 
  • Technical expertise is necessary for the setup and management of the server.
  • Security is completely managed by you, so technical knowledge is necessary

Read our guide on shared vs VPS hosting

5. Server Type And Response Time

You should also do server hosting comparison before you make a choice of your site’s host. Basically, the web hosting market is dominated by two server types’ the Linux-based and Windows servers. The difference between the two basically narrows down to their compatibility with various web applications.

Linux Web Hosting

The majority of hosting companies use a Linux-based server because it offers web designers more awesome, free, open-source applications to work with.

These applications include ready-to-use website themes, discussion forums, CMS solutions and blogs. A web hosting service that runs on the Linux operating system will be a better choice than Windows hosting service if your site doesn’t need specific Windows applications

Advantages of Linux-based Servers

  • Open source means Linux is built in collaboration between the best of the best, allowing security flaws to be discovered easily.
  • Programming Language Support: If you intend to apply PHP, Python, Ruby, or MySQL to your site, then you can’t go wrong with a Linux web hosting server. Web hosting companies will always detail which specific languages they support. If you need support for a specific language, be sure to check your hosting provider includes it on their list.
  • Large amount of features available

Windows Web Hosting

Contrary to the free open source solutions offered by Linux web hosting, you’ll most likely be charged to use the majority of Windows solutions. Nevertheless, one strong point about Windows servers is that they have high-performance web application frameworks as compared to Linux servers.

Although Linux offers an enticing open source model, they are not as popular as Windows applications at the enterprise level.

Windows SharePoint and Exchange applications are widely used by website developers and managers as they make their work easier in addition to aiding communication.

Advantages of Windows-based Servers

  • Scalability
  • Developed professionally and consistently updated.
  • ASP (Active Server Pages)
  • Can use MS Access to power website development.
  • Globally recognized Windows graphical interface is familiar to users of other Windows operating systems.

Server Response Time

No one likes to have a slow website and no customer will have the patience to put up with a slow site. It is an absolute turn off! 

The speed of your site is dependent on your web hosting provider. A host with a slow network or overburdened servers will certainly make your site load at a snail’s pace.

Often referred to as Time To First Byte (TTFB), server responsiveness has become extremely important in recent years.The longer a website takes to load, the more likely that visitor is to leave and go elsewhere. We have all become accustomed to instant gratification, and server response time is a driving factor of this.

Page speed has now become a ranking factor with Google’s mobile first index.

It is extremely important to vet your list of hosting choices and investigate their server response time.

website speed test

Check site speeds and server responsiveness with Pingdom, Bitcatcha, and Webpagetest.

6. Uptime And Server Reliability

Uptime Guarantees

Hosting providers make a meal out of uptime guarantees. Often, they seldom compensate subscribers for downtime.

Uptime isn’t only about losing out on potential sales – it’s about current and prospective customers losing trust in you. Experiencing downtime today may lead more problems down the line.

How Downtime is Limited

Limiting site downtime is vital. Even a short period of downtime can be costly for small businesses. Among costs normally incurred include: business disruption, staff overtime costs and lost revenue.

Genuine hosts provide an SLA which sets a defined minimum threshold for expected uptime. For instance, a 99.7% uptime guarantee provides assurance that the site will not suffer prolonged disruption from DDoS attacks, hardware failures and ineffectual CMS maintenance.

Knowing the Impacts of Uptime vs Downtime

Having a clear understanding of how uptime and downtime may potentially harm or benefit your business is important. 

For instance, the difference between a 99% and 99.9% uptime is significant.

A site hosted by a host offering a 99% uptime may experience over three and a half days downtime in a year, with possible grave consequences. An uptime of 99.9% – also referred to as three nines – only allows eight hours and forty-five minutes of downtime annually.

Luckily for site owners today, they can find online reviews on web host providers to get the opinions of current or previous customers.

7. Disk Space And Bandwidth

The term disk space must ring a bell for anyone seeking hosting services or is already subscribed to one. The term is mentioned by nearly all hosting service providers.

Disk space refers to the physical space available on a server for storing your site’s content. Content includes; images, files, databases, videos, and scripts among others. In a few instances, disk space is used to store email clients and content.

Thus, when your site is hosted, your content is stored using disk space. Upon updating, new content is saved to the disk automatically with no action on your part.

Different hosting providers offer varying amounts of disk space depending on the type of hosting and specific plan.

For example, with shared hosting plans, disk space is shared by many clients who occupy one server. In such instances, disk space is marketed as “unlimited”, however this is not possible due to the physical limits of the server hardware. For robust hosting like dedicated or VPS, the space is limited to the volume of hard disk on the server.

what is shared hosting
Many companies claim to offer unlimited disk space, unfortunately, owing to lack of information, customers take the bait.

Bandwidth

The amount of bandwidth your hosting company offers to your website has much influence on the site’s performance. Bandwidth is simply the amount of data that can be transferred to and from your site.

The amount of bandwidth allocation you get from your hosting company will determine how fast your visitors will be able to access the information of your website. A site with high bandwidth enables more people to access its information more quickly and simultaneously as compared to a website with low bandwidth.

Bandwidth Options

Some web hosting companies provide their clients with unmetered bandwidth under certain plans, meaning that if you subscribe to those plans, you’ll be charged a fixed price for data transfer.

While deciding on a hosting plan, you’ll normally have to choose between unmetered bandwidth or a plan with pricing based on traffic volume (bandwidth).

Whichever company and plan you choose, you need to find out the amount of traffic your site will be able to accommodate based on that plan. This information can most likely be found on the hosting plan features page, or in the plan terms and conditions.

Which Option is Best for Me?

In terms of bandwidth, your choice should be guided by the needs of your website; both the current and future requirements.

How much traffic does your site experience or expected to have?

If your site is already live and hosted, you can check the traffic report provided by the hosting company, or Google Analytics to get this information.

Is your traffic inconsistent and perhaps low? A hosting package with price tied to traffic will be a prudent choice. Otherwise, an unmetered bandwidth plan will be more favorable.

Some of the companies that provide unlimited bandwidth on their web servers include HostGator, Bluehost, Justhost, and IX Web Hosting.

Keep in mind the importance of considering the future while  conducting your web hosting comparison. It is important that you choose a hosting solution that will be able to accommodate the growing traffic of your website.

You don’t want to keep on hopping from one hosting service provider to another, do you? It is important to find a scalable solution.

8. Security

The security of your site depends not only on the behavior of its administrator and the strength of its password, but also on the infrastructure of the hosting company.

In fact, many websites experience security issues arising from the infrastructure of their hosting service providers. For that reason, it is paramount that you confirm that the hosting solution that you consider using for your site is secure and can’t be easily compromised by hackers and fraudsters, among other online security threats. 

The fundamental features of a secure host include:

  • Strong, proven firewall solutions
  • Network monitoring services
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Automatic backups and restore points located off server
  • Antivirus and malware scanning/ elimination programs
  • SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates for sensitive data (like payments) to and from the server
  • Management support for file management, logins, software updates as well as access and user permissions

9. Customer Support

It is almost certain that you are going to experience at least one challenge as you setup and maintain your website. In such as case, you’ll need someone with hosting expertise who can help, irrespective the time of the day.

Therefore, before you choose a host, try to know a few things about its customer support, for instance, their responsiveness and the ways in which you can reach them.

Prioritize a hosting company having an in-house customer support department instead of outsourced support. Customer support is paramount in your decision to select a web hosting provider. Inevitably problems will arise, and you will sleep better at night knowing you have a team of responsive professionals 

Customer Support Channels

A web host with highly responsive, 24/7-staffed customer support team demonstrates much dedication to customer satisfaction. 24/7 live customer support, preferably with social media visibility will come in handy for prompt, professional assistance to your website operation needs. 

Here are some of the most popular customer support channels:

  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Ticketing system
  • Knowledge base with articles, videos and tutorials
best hosting customer support

Siteground is among the top rated web hosting companies in terms of customer support.

10. Backup and Restore

The worst can happen when least expected. From the loss of your entire database to website hacking, some of these things might happen to you no matter how much you loathe and avoid them.

Cyber threats such as ransomware, among other online extortionist activities, are not exclusively a worry to finance website owners but have also been a pain on the neck of general websites as well. These malicious online activities can cause serious server or local hard disk failures, leading to data loss, reputation damage, and negative business impact.

Recovery from an Accidental Mistake

On the other hand, accidental deletion of content or files is not so far fetched.

The best way to prepare for disasters such as these is to get a web host with a solid back up service. Your website hosting provider should be able to help you recover your backed up data, should such a bad luck occur.

If you want to avoid the headache that comes with accidental loss of data, then choose a host that offers full backups on a regular basis.

Common Backup and Restore Questions to Ask

  • Does the service provider offer regular site data backups?
  • If offered, are the backups automated or performed manually?
  • How easy is it for you to create your website’s auto backups should you choose the host service company?
  • How easily can you restore your back up files after a disaster? Will you be able to do it yourself or you’ll have to rely on their support for the data recovery?
  • Does the company charge for data backup and restoration services? If they do, how much is the fee? It is reasonable?
  • Are the backup services governed by certain rules? If yes, get to know more about the rules.

11. Content Delivery Network

CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) are the pillar of content delivery. CDNs work by server your website content to your visitors from the nearest physical location. Essentially its like having your site hosted on various servers all over the world.

Imagine this, if someone in London is trying to access your website which is hosted in San Francisco, it will undoubtedly load slower than if it was hosted in London. Using a CDN, that visitor will be served your site content from London, rather than San Francisco, drastically increasing website load speed.

There are two types of CDNs available; PUSH and PULL. Some websites work best with pull CDNs, while others flourish using push content delivery networks.

Push CDN

Push CDNs work like a secondary server. They allow the user to upload content directly to the CDN providers server and link back to it.

Pull CDN

Pull CDNs work entirely different from the push. With this type of content delivery network, the user is not responsible for uploading files, but rather the CDN “pulls” the files automatically. This option is quick to set up and also minimizes storage space.

Using a content delivery network has many advantages, including:

  • Exceptional performance
  • Lower bandwidth costs
  • High scalability
  • Excellent security
  • Helps boost site ranking on Google
best cdn
Cloudflare offers a free CDN so anyone can get started!

For most websites, setting up and using a CDN can be painless and automated. Push and Pull CDNs are each suited for specific types of websites and one can work better than the other, depending on your needs.

    12. Website Migration

    Things keep on changing and so are your web hosting needs. Considering that, at one time, you might need to shift from one website hosting company to another. 

    Therefore, as you consider signing up with a hosting company, you need to understand the terms and conditions concerning website transfers. 

    It is worth noting that you can have your domain name registered at one company and then have your site hosted by a different company.

    These are some of the questions that you should seek answers for while choosing a host:

    • What are the dos and the don’ts concerning the company’s website migration process?
    • Does the company charge a fee for the migration? If yes, how much?

    The best web hosting service provider offers free website migrations.

    13. eCommerce Support

    If you (intend to) have an e-commerce website and you’d need to use shopping cart software, it will be prudent to go for a hosting company with efficient and enough e-commerce features such as:

    • Extra security requirements like SSL certificates
    • One-click shopping cart
    • Email marketing tools and integrations
    • Dedicated IP addresses
    • Payment service integration, such as PayPal

    Highly responsive and efficient eCommerce support will come in handy while building an eCommerce website. You may find you need help regarding the use of the shopping cart software while processing business transactions, for example. eCommerce sites are relatively different from other websites and come with their own specific technical needs.

    14. Email

    Do you want to have your email accounts hosted together with your website?

    While using your hosting provider as an email service as well is not necessary, there are some advantages.

    Using hosted email services allow you to create email addresses at your own domain. This can be done for branding reasons or simply to appear more professional.

    As you are doing a hosting comparison, also consider a company that offers email accounts if you think you might want branded email addresses in the future.

    15. CMS Support

    wordpress web hosting reviews

    Building Websites is Easy with a Good CMS

    Things are becoming easier day by day for website owners and developers, thanks to the development of content management systems. A content management system (CMS) is simply a software developed specifically for the creation, editing, organisation and publishing of digital content. 

    CMS software gives even those with minimal IT expertise the ability to create and manage content easily and intuitively, without crushing their budgets.

    Easy to Use CMS Interface

    Considering that they are meant to simplify website management and development activities, the majority of content management systems have very easy-to-use user interface. In as such, the editing, publishing management and creation of your site’s content such as product descriptions/specifications, product photos, videos, blogs articles, press releases and the likes becomes a breeze.

    Basically, a good CMS should help you customize your site in a way that meets the exact needs of your business, besides making the site have a consistent look.

    There are two types of content management systems; open source and proprietary.

    Open Source CMS Options

    Open source content management systems, especially WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are among the most widely used because they are easy to use, besides being extremely customizable. 

    Overall, WordPress is the giant, powering more over 50% of all the websites on the internet. WordPress is a popular CMS with many people because of its easy combustibility, usability, ease of maintenance and for the fact that it is free to download, install and upgrade.

    WordPress

    Considering the importance of an efficient CMS like WordPress, consider a hosting company that doesn’t only offer the content management system, but also provides a helping hand should you need assistance using the tool. 

    A caring host should offer 24/7 CMS support, preferably for WordPress. Confirm how responsive and helpful the support is. WordPress is extremely important to keep in mind as you perform web hosting comparisons.

    16. SSL Certificates

    A secured site is of great importance when it comes to making a sale online. 

    No matter how great your services and products are- if your potential clients don’t feel protected when providing sensitive personal information and payment details, then you’ll lose a sale. SSL Certificates evoke trust in your clients by providing a visible indicator that the website is protected. It proves you’re a trustworthy vendor.

    How do SSL certificates work?

    SSL, commonly known as the Secure Sockets Layer works by encrypting data conveyed between your website server and your client’s browser. Depending on the number of transactions you anticipate to process and the complexity of your business, there are various levels of protection and encryption that are needed. 

    To choose the right SSL Certificate, take these factors into mind:

    Speed of Issuance – How soon do you want to start accepting online payments? If the answer is “immediately,” then you need to choose an SSL certificate that can be issued promptly.

    Number of Domains and Price – You can choose to save a few bucks by purchasing a multi-year certificate. More over, consider the number of domains you might want to secure in the future as you compare hosting prices.

    SSL Certificate Warranty – When it comes to website security, the guaranteed dollar amount of the SSL Certificate is proportional to the level of protection and encryption. The higher the assurance of the SSL Certificate, the higher the guarantee.

    Auto Renew – 404 error is one of the most annoying messages clients would hate to appear on their mobile, tablets or even desktops. Renew your SSL Certificate to avoid such.

    17. Control Panel

    A Control Panel is your point of control for the back-end of your website. 

    Irrespective of your level of familiarity with technology, there are some website development and management activities that you can do on your own without hassle or requiring help from support. For instance, WordPress installation, email and FTP accounts set up. All of this is done through an easy to use interface in cPanel.

    cPanel vs Proprietary Control Panel Solutions

    There are different types of control panel options, such as cPanel and Plesk. cPanel is the most common and very easy to use.

    A hosting company offering cPanel oftentimes comes with free basic features such as one-click script installs (Fantastico, Simple Script or Softaculous), WordPress, Cron, and the like.

    Other web-hosting service providers have intuitive and user-friendly proprietary control panels. It is advisable that you check ease of use and user interface of your prospective hosting company’s control panel.

    bluehost cpanel
    Bluehost cPanel is user friendly and easy to navigate.

    18. Website Builders

    We live in an era whereby drag and drop website builders have become the norm. They help you build a magical yet proficient website, just the way you want. More so, drag and drop builders are affordable (many offer a free option to get started), and you don’t need to hire coders or designers.

    Before you get too excited and run off to start building your site, you need a launch plan.

    Define the goals and features you would want to see on your site. If you are uncertain of what you want, check other websites (even your competitors!) for inspiration.

    Explore further: website builders comparison chart

    Drag and Drop Editors - Ease of Use

    Website builders make the creation of a website a hassle-free affair, without the need to code manually. Many hosting companies appreciate the importance of these site creation tools and partner with website builder solutions to offer them as part of the hosting package. Yet again, other hosts offer their own proprietary website builders.

    Importance of User Experience (UX)

    The look of your site is another essential factor you should consider when choosing a website builder. 

    Today, website builders offer solutions to fully customize various website functions, such as e-commerce, image galleries, newsletter publishing, and more. 

    It is equally as important to ensure your website is mobile friendly. Be sure that your drag and drop website builder supports responsive design.

    There are numerous website builders out there, ranging from simple to complex in ease of use and functionality.

    Some of the easy to use website builders often come as a package, where you must also buy your hosting plan from that company.

    Easy to Use Website Builders
    Complex Website Builders

    Weebly – It’s an incredibly easy-to-use website builder. It’s simply a solution that makes it possible for anyone of any skill level to get started. The platform helps you in managing inventory, tracking orders, and handling taxes.

    Squarespace – It’s a design-oriented website builder with emphasis on mobile optimization, provides glossy and sophisticated templates, and drag and drop editing tools for building portfolios and websites.

    Shopify – A cloud-based and hosted eCommerce platform. It means you don’t have to worry about maintaining or upgrading software. Shopify gives you a chance to start, grow, and manage your online business effortlessly.

    WordPress Builders– There are various website builders for websites using the WordPress framework. Most simply, you can choose a pre-made theme and publish your own content. For those looking for more control and freedom to design, drag and drop editors such as Beaver Builder and Elementor top the charts.

    18. Developer Tools

    These tools offer extra functionality to those with more technical experience, or those willing to learn. Let’s take a look at a few developer tools that may come in handy in specific instances:

    Programming Language Support

    While all web hosts support the standard programming languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, some websites might need to use a specific language to accomplish one various task or another. It is important to check with your prospective hosting company that specific coding languages are supported.

    FTP Accounts

    File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is one of the vital technological assets available to all business industries. It’s a technique of transferring files directly from a computer to your web hosting server. FTP and SFTP are extremely handy for accessing the raw data files on your website, making changes, and publishing directly from within.

    Database Support

    The world of data is rapidly changing and evolving. When creating a site, you need to have a superior database system to control the access of the data kept in the database. Most commonly, web hosting providers will support My SQL or MS SQL databases.

    Cron Jobs

    In addition to an excellent website and impressive theme, you need to get organized. Essentially, Cron Jobs will help you with this onerous task. They are used for planning tasks to run on a scheduled basis. They are not only relevant in administration but also in automating system maintenance.

    Cron Jobs can help automate a number of tasks:

    • Easily send daily newsletter emails
    • Erase and expired cached data files in a well-organized interval
    • Update the summary table in your database on a regular basis.
    • Fetch recent tweets and Facebook notifications and cache them in a text file
    • Auto-check your site content for broken links.
    • Schedule Cron jobs to delete or deactivate accounts that have reached their expiration date.

    Shell (SSH) Access

    Professional web hosting companies will provide you with various ways to access your website. Secure Socket Shell (SSH) creates a secure remote access to your server.One of the best reasons to use the SSH protocol is that it encrypts all data transfer, even on the most unsecured connections.

    Use SSH to Stay Encrypted, Stay Safe

    By using SSH, you’ll have protected yourself from many nefarious hacking activities, such as:

    DNS Spoofing – A hacking attack where the DNS (Domain Name System) is compromised.  Hackers usually do this to redirect traffic to another computer. After completing the attack, they gain full access to confidential and sensitive information.

    Data Transmission Sniffing – If you try to gain access to your account through an unsecured connection, bad guys can eavesdrop on the data transmission. Through sniffing, they can gather vital information which they can extensively use for illicit activities.

    Data Manipulation – When compromised, malicious individuals can manipulate data at the server level.

    IP address Spoofing – Attackers can generate packets with forged source IP address, used to impersonate another system and steal data.

    Final Thoughts on How to Choose a Web Host

    We hope you have found this article useful! These are only some of the most important web hosting features we have found pertinent to everyone. While on your journey to compare the best web hosting companies, you will find even more features specific to your needs.

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out and drop us a line We are always happy to provide support and insight. Happy hosting! 🙂

    Additional resources to continue learning about web hosting: