Should I Pay for Website Hosting?

In today’s competitive world, all businesses irrespective of their size should own a website to help them in engaging their clients online. Websites must be updated regularly with fresh content and should be hosted on reliable servers that will guarantee fast load speeds and an uptime score of 99.5% and above. This will ensure your clients are taken care of in case they want to find out more about your business, the products and services you have on offer or want to leave feedback on a service rendered or a product purchased.
The question is not whether you should pay for web hosting, but rather how much you should pay to have your site online. Web hosting services vary from one provider to another and from one plan to the other. What another person may gladly pay for is not what you will necessarily find suitable for your needs.

The question is not whether you should pay for web hosting, but rather how much you should pay to have your site online.

Free Hosting and Its Catch

Most startups and newbies are easily lured into free hosting through website builders. This may seem attractive, but cheap is expensive in the long run. If you have a plan for your business, a goal to achieve and a mission to accomplish, you certainly need much more than free hosting services full of banners and ads that will turn off your customers. Some web host providers trick you into accepting their freebies only to be caught up in the middle of a tough decision on whether to pay or abandon a site you have worked on for a long time.
In order to determine the much you should pay for web hosting, you need to ask yourself a number of questions pertaining to your business and your website needs.

What are My Current and Future Needs?

It is imperative to have a clear perspective of your current and future needs as far as web hosting is concerned. For instance, you need to know the number of websites or blogs you intend to have 2 or 3 years down the line and the magnitude of traffic you are likely to experience over time. This will help you in selecting an appropriate package that allows you to add additional domains with time without shifting from one plan to another. Thinking ahead also helps you in planning your finances so that your needs are always aligned to your budget.

How Much Space and Bandwidth Do I Require?

The two major considerations when shopping for a hosting package are the storage space and bandwidth. The much you need depends on the size of website you are seeking to host. A large and complex website will need a much larger storage or disk space compared to a static HTML website. On the other hand, bandwidth refers to the capacity of your website to handle traffic. If you are just starting out and do not expect much traffic, you may subscribe for minimal bandwidth. However, this is not entirely advisable because you need to set yourself up for growth. Where the bandwidth is restricted, ask your provider to define it with respect to daily or weekly site traffic.

What Type of Website Do I Want to Host?

This is a pertinent hosting question whose answer will lead you into the kind of database you will require. Many clients find WordPress easier to use and friendlier to update. If you have WordPress, Joomla or Drupal Content Management Systems (CMS), you will require one MySQL database for every website. Simply, MySQL is a data system which allows your content to link up with your CMS. You should ask your developer the CMS your website is using before choosing and paying for a hosting package.

Where is My Target Audience Located?

From the surface, it looks okay to host your website and pay for your plans without questioning the country where the servers are located. However, from an SEO perspective, it makes a lot of visibility sense to host your website in the country or geographical location where your audience or target market is. If the market you are focusing on is in the United States, you should host your website right there.

What Level of Security Do I Require?

When you are carrying on your business online, your security is much more important than the number of transactions you process in a day. Your hosting provider must clearly detail the security features the hosting package you are buying comes with. When processing payments through the web, selling products through an ecommerce store or keeping private customer information such as credit card details, you will need Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) which range between $30 and $50 per year.

What Uptime Score Does My Provider Guarantee?

Regardless of the type of website you run, you cannot afford a hosting package that always experiences downtimes. In search engine optimization language, downtimes cause traffic to bounce off to other sites making your website to go down in value in the eyes of search engine spiders. This affects your visibility and ranking. An uptime score of 99.5% is recommended and worth paying for. In the event your potential provider does not give you a straightforward answer, you can use free online tools to assess this and also pick a few websites hosted under the same plan or provider and try loading them.

So, How Much Should You Spend?

Businesses that are starting up or those that are not as big should spend between $5 and $7 a month. This is a safe bet because they do not need much in server resources and hence can opt for shared hosting. Avoid hosting plans that charge you anything between $1 and $2 a month because it isn’t worthy the headache of fighting frustrating ads and inferior customer service.
If you are planning to host a single website with limited content, a $3 economy package plan can be appropriate for you. For Virtual Private Servers, you will pay at least $29.99 per month, but you will get more control over your hosting environment. Dedicated servers are considered very prime and spacious enough to host any type of website. However, they are expensive and the least you will spend is $99.99 per month.
Whereas we advocate for bigger space in bandwidth, never settle for big packages that are going to drain your resources unless you are hosting sensitive, extremely huge or many websites on the same server.

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