How to Choose a Web Hosting Company

Below, you will find an unedited excerpt from my new book about building Internet-based businesses, Online Business from Scratch. To receive updates about the book, visitwww.fromscratchbook.com.

In order to launch your website, you will need a basic web hosting account that will provide the technology and infrastructure needed to serve your website up to the world. Your web host may also register your domain name for you, provide a customized email account that matches your domain name and offer other services. You may already be aware of some well-known web-hosting companies, like DreamHost, HostGator, GoDaddy and BlueHost. There are also hundreds of other smaller companies that offer website hosting that you have never heard of. Almost every web-hosting company will offer a basic WordPress hosting package for between $5.00 and $20.00 per month, but the quality of service that you’ll receive can vary widely from provider to provider.

When shopping for something online, your first inclination is probably to read reviews and compare prices. This is a challenging proposition for web-hosting companies because the prices are extremely similar from host to host. It also doesn’t help that every web-hosting company in the world has a mix of both very positive and extremely negative reviews. Some customers will never have a problem with their web host and will be more than happy with the service they receive. Other customers of the same web-host might have a bunch of problems with their website and be extremely frustrated with their web host. Many review sites also receive affiliate commissions from the hosting companies they write about, so you don’t know whether or not they are actually providing you their objective opinion. Review sites tend to not be very helpful in selecting a web host and I suggest you don’t try to include them as part of your decision making progress.

In my personal experience, many of the big-name web-hosting companies offer a very similar level of service at nearly identical prices. Whether you choose DreamHost, HostGator, GoDaddy, 1&1, BlueHost, Liquid Web, Media Temple or Site Ground, you’ll be able to get a basic WordPress hosting account for between $5.00 and $10.00 per month. Starter hosting packages from any of these companies will be more than sufficient to get your site off the ground. At sub $10.00 per month prices, you probably shouldn’t expect to get much in terms of technical support from your web-hosting company. Web hosting companies cannot profitably afford to provide great customer service for cheap shared hosting plans. If you are willing to pay a bit more and want better customer support, you might choose a premium WordPress hosting service like WPEngine (www.wpengine.com), which starts at $29.00 per month. Services like WPEngine tend to offer faster and more reliable hosting, as well as better customer service.

When I was first getting started, I used a basic web hosting account from DreamHost (www.dreamhost.com) which costs $8.00 per month. The nice part of that service is that they will install WordPress on your web-hosting account with a single click, which can prevent some early technical headaches that you many encounter. I have since had to lease a series of dedicated servers because of the large amount of traffic our websites receive, but DreamHost served my business reasonably well for the first several years of operations. I currently lease dedicated servers from Web Hosting Buzz (www.webhostingbuzz.com).