Every Things You Need to Know About Web Hosting Before You Buy

Thinking of starting your own website for business, art or blogging? If you started a new business recently, a website can help show customers your products. Maybe you’re pursuing an artistic career and want a digital portfolio to show your work. Or you just want to get into blogging. No matter what your reason, we’ve compiled a guide of things to know about web hosting to help you choose the best service and plan for your needs.

Technically, you don’t need a hosting provider to host a website. Any computer can act as a web server. But, setting up a server is complicated, and there’s a lot to account for. That’s why most businesses work with web hosting providers, who use dedicated machines capable of offering the best performance and highest security.

At a glance, many web hosts may seem to offer similar services with slight variations in price. But look closer, and you’ll see significant differences. Not all hosting providers offer the same levels of service, storage, features, stability, protection, and scalability.

Hosting Plans to Choose From

Web hosting companies typically offer one or more different types of hosting plans, based on the technology or servers they operate and the scale of the infrastructure, often with consideration for the audiences, they intend to serve.

For example, some of the world’s largest web hosting companies provide complex dedicated and private hosting plans geared toward massive enterprises with expansive website needs.

The benefit of this level of website hosting is the servers aren’t shared with anyone, so activity and traffic to other sites will never impact your own performance. That means performance is predictable and consistent.

The downside to this level of hosting is, the cost of dedicated hosting and server rental quickly exceed the cost of hardware purchases, especially for larger enterprise sites that require more storage space and/or memory. There are significant upfront costs with this level of hosting, and you’ll need a much higher level of technical knowledge.

For startups and small to mid-sized businesses, shared web hosting is the most popular and commonly chosen type of hosting plan.

You can read more details about What Are The Differences Between Shared, Cloud, and Dedicated Hosting? In this article.


It doesn’t matter if you want to run a small personal blog or a large site for a global corporation, price is always going to be a factor. No matter where you host your site, you will have a range of different price points to choose from with the lowest cost options being for entry-level hosting and more expensive options for sites that require the best.

The cost of web hosting plans can be confusing. Listed prices are often introductory deals attached to contracts that usually last at least a year. These contracts then auto-renew at the regular rate at the end of the contract so your site stays up continuously. When the contract auto-renews, the normal rate is often much higher — sometimes double or even triple — than the introductory price. Contracts are usually paid upfront rather than month-to-month as well, despite companies listing the price as a monthly cost. Many services offer month-to-month plans, but those are usually listed at the regular rate. Sometimes services will add on additional services to your bill, too, so make sure when you check out you review your bill so you are only paying for what you want.

Bandwidth Isn’t the Same as Data Transfer

“Bandwidth” and “data transfer” are frequently used interchangeably to define the amount of data that your website serves to visitors, but the terms, technically, do not have the same definitions.

Bandwidth represents the total amount of data that can be transferred at one time, while data transfer is the throughput or the actual amount of information that can be used over a given period of time—typically a month. Think of it like this: a web host may have a maximum 5GB bandwidth, but depending on your hosting plan, your site may only allow 1GB of data transfers per month.

List of Features

You can always browse through the list of features that are included with each web hosting package. Understanding what each type of hosting has available is the best way to determine which one is right for you. When looking over the list of features at each level, make sure you know what the various terms mean so you know how they will impact your hosting experience.

Customer Support

Something every business should keep in mind is the level of customer service offered with a hosting account. Whenever there’s an issue with your site, you want to know if your hosting provider can be reached to fix the issue.

And the issue isn’t always that a website goes offline. Any number of issues can impact your business:

  • Email connectivity
  • Slow load times
  • Errors with scripts and pages loading

No hosting provider can guarantee 100% uptime and error-free hosting. When a problem occurs, it’s not just a matter of being able to reach customer support – it’s how you can reach them, and the solutions available to fix an issue.

Availability of customer service is a big deal when you’re running your business online. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store with operating hours, your website is online 24/7. Since your business is running around the clock, it’s ideal to find a hosting provider who can match that with the availability of its customer service.

Because if your site goes offline late at night, or on a weekend, you should be able to reach a support representative immediately to report (and quickly resolve) the issue.


Technology isn’t perfect and there will be times when servers go down for any number of reasons. Uptime is a measurement of how long servers, and the sites on those servers, stay up continuously without going down. Most web hosting services will say they will guarantee over 99.9% uptime. Any time your site goes down is scary, but these guarantees mean your site might be down for about 20 minutes a month. If your site is down for longer, you should contact your web hosting service. In many cases, your web hosting service will give you a credit worth a percentage of the monthly hosting fee for every hour their server is down.


Scalability is a major concern and should be one of the key things you consider when choosing a hosting provider. As your business grows, you’ll see a consistent and steady increase in website traffic, purchases, and queries on your website.

You’ll also find over time that new features and functionality may be required to maintain the same level of service or to offer new services to your customers. It’s important to know that the web hosting company you choose is capable of scaling your business.

Bonus: Don’t Choose a Free Hosting Account

While free hosting accounts might be functional ‘alright’ for a hobbyist, or someone starting a personal blog, they’re a poor choice if you’re launching a website used for professional purposes.

Free hosting accounts can come with a wealth of issues that impact the professionalism of your business and your brand, and could also impact your business in other ways, including:

  • Forced or required ads and scripts running on your site, that send your traffic outside your funnel
  • Slow load times and page load speeds impacting conversions and forcing customers to exit
  • Limitations on scripts and integrations, page counts, or number of products
  • Limitations on optimization and potential negative SEO that could impact your search visibility

Agnes Berry