Choosing a Good Web Host

One of the most important yet hardest decisions to make for your website. Be it a corporate or personal website, choosing a good web host is choosing where to invest for a better future.

Facing the reality that a simple Google search for web hosts yields numerous results (along with a plethora of ads), it becomes increasingly challenging to select a web host for your initial or subsequent website.

This article outlines the crucial factors to consider when choosing your forthcoming web hosting provider, drawing from both my professional and firsthand experiences of managing over a hundred websites for clients.

The viewpoints expressed in this article are personal, considering that the typical individual searching for web hosting solutions possesses limited technical expertise.

My Background In Web Hosting

Since the inception of my business in early 2016, I've been hosting websites, reaching over one hundred clients worldwide in the span of seven years.

Initially, when Bissesar-Tech was founded, my understanding of web hosting principles was minimal, and I was uncertain about how to choose the right web hosting company. However, through time and experience, I've learned to effectively assess various web hosting providers, accumulating a mix of positive and negative experiences, even with the most renowned ones.

With that brief introduction about my journey, let's delve deeper into the specifics.


I refer to costs as "investment" because web hosting is a crucial component of an organization's digital infrastructure. The web host you select significantly influences this investment and its potential effect on the business's other digital infrastructure elements.

With that in mind, let's dissect the investment aspect into the following components:

Provider Investment

In simple terms, it refers to the total amount you will pay throughout your subscription period to the web host where your website will be hosted.

Typically, this is a set fee and is influenced by several factors, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Server or datacenter location
  • Operating system of the web host
  • Number of mailboxes (email accounts)
  • Allowed bandwidth
  • Number of SQL databases
  • Control panel type
  • SSL certificates1

Maintenance Investment

If you have not managed your own web hosting before, or are otherwise not so tech-savvy, you might have to engage someone who can manage your web hosting for you.

In-house IT personnel are mostly used by mid-large sized business, and may not be a viable option for a small business, especially one that is just starting out.

While most web hosting providers do provide support, this may be limited in scope, that is, the services they are willing to perform for you for free. The important issue of maintaining security and confidentiality also arises in terms of creating email accounts and storing files that might contain personal information2.


Of course, the most important thing to consider when buying hosting for your business is the how impressive the list of features is.

Now this varies greatly between web hosts, but they all seem to follow a basic structure of the essentials, which are then fine-tuned, depending on their selling points.

Essential Features

We will discuss the commonly-used features that are essential for web hosting to work in the most basic form.

Disk Space

One of the most important aspects of web hosting is how much disk space you can get. This will depend on the size of your website and database files, and your mailboxes if you are also hosting your emails with the same web host.

In an ordinary situation, a typical WordPress website will take around 3 GB of disk space. This number will vary depending on various factors such as the complexity of your website’s design, number of plugins used, image and other media sizes and how frequently they are used, etc.

For a business that is just starting out, it is generally recommended to consider buying a hosting package that offers at least 50 GB of disk space.

Storage Type

Now that we have addressed the disk space part of things, let’s move to the types of storage most web hosts offer. Basically, there are two types of storage on offer; SSD (Solid State Drive) and HDD (Hard Disk Drive).

SSD Storage is best to ensure faster page load times. It is the more modern form of storage which does not rely on mechanical parts as opposed to an HDD storage type.

HDD Storage on the other hand, is slower and prone to errors in the long run, which of course, depends on how well your web host is maintaining its hardware and other configurations.

In my opinion, any business should really consider investing in an SSD storage-based web hosting for faster page load times, more stability, and better value overall.

Number of Websites or Domains and Subdomains

While most basic websites will only need one domain name to be hosted, more advanced businesses may have multiple websites, and may even need some subdomains to host different parts of their website or web application.

Most economy web hosting providers will limit how many subdomains you can host with their low-level hosting packages, and only a single website hosting is allowed by default.

Because the demand for these features vary, it will depend on your business requirements. The basic recommendation here is to buy a hosting package that allows the right number of websites you are hosting now, as well as any other number of websites you plan to host in the near-future. It is also recommended to buy a package that allows you to host unlimited subdomains. Note that this may cause the disk space allocation to increase, thus increasing the package price even further.


The most important part of any website is its security. A good and properly configured SSL certificate will ensure connection between your website and its visitors is encrypted. Essentially, this means that any interaction, including your visitors entering their information, on your website cannot be seen by a third-party.

Most search engines require all websites to have a properly functioning SSL certificate before they will list it in their search results, which is more reason to have a good web host that supports the easy implementation of SSL certificates.

Many modern hosts allow customers to purchase SSL certificates through them. Although they may not directly be the issuers of an SSL certificates, some often have reseller agreements with many reputable issuers around the globe.

Among all the usual paid options is a free SSL certificate known as Let’s Encrypt.

Let’s Encrypt has gained huge popularity and trust over the years. All major web browsers support Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, and a lot of modern hosts include this for free with their hosting packages.

If the host does not issue SSL certificates you choose, you can always purchase an SSL certificate directly from the issuer or an SSL marketplace, and then manually install it on your domain.

DDoS Protection

Distributed Denial of Service (or DDos for short) is a type of web attack that has cost many big companies thousands of dollars in the past. It is a form of attack that makes your website or web application unavailable to visitors and users, often achieved by sending multiple automated requests to exhaust the server’s resources.

A good host will usually include a DDoS protection plan in their hosting at the server-level, which means all accounts hosted on their servers will receive the DDoS protection. While this is not uncommon, there still are some web hosts that do not offer this important feature by default or offer only a basic version of DDoS protection.

Ensure the host you are going ahead with includes this critical protection to your hosting account.

FTP Access

File Transfer Protocol (or FTP), is an important part of web hosting. As the name might suggest, it refers to the ability to transfer files to and from your hosting server.

Essentially, there are two ways in which file transfers can be done in a regular web hosting situation. The first one is via a control panel access to the hosting account’s files, which is best known as a file manager.

The second, and more commonly used way, is via an FTP client. This is the more developer-friendly way of managing files between the hosting server and a client device such as a laptop or desktop computer.

A good web host should have unrestricted access to create and manage FTP access via FTP accounts. Note however, that some hosting plans limit the number of FTP accounts you can have. If your website or web application will have many contributors or file managers, it is better to sign up with a host that provides the possibility of having more FTP accounts.

For a small website, or one managed only by a handful of file managers or contributors, most basic packages should suffice.


Most modern Content Management Systems (CMS) need a database to store website and user data. The most commonly used database system in web hosting is MySQL, although some developers prefer MariaDB or PostgreSQL.

The number of databases you will need will depend on how many websites you will be hosting among other factors. For most basic websites, ones running on WordPress will only need one MySQL database to function.

It is advisable to sign up for a plan that offers you at least one more database allowance in addition to your main website or application, which is quite a standard feature among most modern web hosts.


As a web hosting customer, and especially one who does not have all the technical knowledge required to properly maintain a server, access to good-quality support is imperative. Even if you do have substantial technical knowledge on maintaining a server, most basic web hosting plans will not offer you “root” access to the server, so the support team of the hosting provider must be engaged in some circumstances.

Most modern web hosting providers offer support in various forms. For a website that is critical, and the downtime of which might cause a lot of issues, support should ideally be available via the following channels:

  • Web chat
  • Tickets (often via the web hosting control panel or similar)
  • Email
  • Phone

Some web hosting providers provide support only via tickets, which is my personal preference as well. This allows their support team to properly investigate the issue you are reporting, as well as escalate it if needed – which is the case for most tickets.

In a nutshell, proper access to readily available support must be available as part of the plan you are signing up for.

Other Features

In addition to the above essential features, I recommend choosing a web host that offers other useful features in their standard package.

Server Location

The location of your web hosting provider’s servers have an impact on the speed at which your website is served to its visitors. For example, if most of your site visitors are located in Australia, choosing a web host that has a server location in Australia or somewhere in the Oceania region makes the most sense.

Some web hosting providers offer several location options when you sign up. Bear in mind however, that some locations may incur additional charges than the others. This is mainly because it is more expensive to run and maintain a server in certain countries, especially if it is not the home-country of the web hosting provider.

Your page load speed can sometimes be successfully mitigated by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), but this is an additional investment which is often provided by a third-party.

Security and Updates

In addition to DDoS protection, a good web hosting provider will apply regular security and other updates to its servers and other infrastructure. While the frequency at which these updates are applied may not be published by the provider, a thorough read of their hosting plan that details the operating system (OS) they use will give useful clues.

The importance of applying regular updates cannot be stressed enough. The number of hacking and hijacking attempts on unsecured and unprotected web hosting accounts are increasing at an alarming rate and any attempts to keep a system secure and updated is one of the best practices of server maintenance.

Type of Control Panel

Most modern web hosting providers will use cPanel. It is an easy-to-use web hosting control panel and is aimed at users that are not technically-advanced.

The type of control panel provided by your web hosting provider has some impact on the usability of their hosting services. This is because it might take you longer to find and use a feature if the control panel is not easy to navigate and use.

Another good control panel that is widely used is Plesk. It has been around for pretty long and has gained good reputation among web hosting enthusiasts and server administrators around the world.

There are some web hosting providers who even offer a choice between different control panels – depending on the package, and thus increasing or decreasing the total price you pay.

If you are beginner, I highly recommend using a web hosting provider that uses cPanel or Plesk. If you feel like you want to take on an adventure, there are other options that may also be considered.


It is very important to back up your website and web application files.

Most modern web hosting providers do not offer backups as part of their standard package, and the user is expected to make their own arrangements to back up their hosting content. While this may seem like a difficult task to achieve, it may not be all that difficult, depending on the control panel (see above) you are using, and whether you have access to another cloud backup service.

While most new users feel backing up content to the same server is sufficient, more seasoned server admins may strongly argue. The common best practice among the more respected server admins and developers is to back up your files on a remote location – in case something happens to the very server you are storing your hosting content and its backup.

Some hosting providers also offer add-on backup plans, who will usually have the backup configured in a remote setting.

Script Managers

This is an optional, but a highly-recommended feature, especially for beginners. Script managers allow users to install and manage a variety of scripts such as content management systems (CMS) and other popular lightweight web applications.

In my experience, the two most widely-used script managers are Softaculous and Webuzo. Usually, they are offered with most providers who use cPanel for managing and accessing hosting. Some other control panels have their own script managers, but the number of scripts offered may be limited to the most widely-used ones such as WordPress.

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