Know Your Needs: 10 Website Requirements to Know Before Choosing A Web Host

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Looking inwards is a key part of the web hosting selection process.

With such a massive number of web hosting service providers to choose from, many have opted to skew their products in different ways to differentiate themselves from others. For examples, one host might specialize in speed and security where another might offer the best budget-oriented plans.

Understanding the various aspects of your website requirements is essential in selecting the right web hosting service that meets your needs effectively. Below is a detailed explanation of each factor you should consider.

1. Website Types

The type of website (blog, portfolio, eCommerce, etc) you plan to create directly influences your hosting needs. Different types require varying resources, functionalities, and support levels. For instance, an eCommerce site needs secure transaction capabilities and more robust hosting to handle product listings and customer traffic, while a personal blog might require less bandwidth and storage.

HostScore Recommendations

  • Static information site: Shared hosting
  • New blog: Shared hosting
  • Blog with medium traffic: Shared, VPS, or cloud hosting
  • Freelancer portfolio site: Shared or VPS hosting
  • Forum site: Cloud hosting
  • eCommerce: Cloud or dedicated hosting

2. Website Traffic Volume

Anticipated traffic volume is crucial in choosing a hosting plan. High-traffic sites need more bandwidth to ensure fast loading times and a smooth user experience, while sites with lower traffic can opt for more basic options. Understanding your current and expected traffic helps in selecting a plan that can scale accordingly without unnecessary costs.

HostScore Recommendations

Recommended hosting solutions for sites with different traffic volume:

  • Low traffic (less than 10,000 visits per month): Shared Hosting
  • Medium (between 10,000 – 200,000 visits per month): VPS or Cloud Hosting
  • High (more than 200,000 visits per month): Cloud or Dedicated Hosting

3. Content Type

The nature of your content (text, images, videos, interactive elements) impacts your storage and bandwidth requirements. High-resolution images and videos consume more server resources, requiring hosting plans with ample storage and data transfer capabilities. Conversely, text-centric sites with fewer media elements may require less.

HostScore Recommendations

  • Normal blog (mainly texts with some images): Shared or VPS hosting with CDN support
  • Blog with lots of videos: Shared or VPS hosting, host video on third-party platform like YouTube or Vimeo
  • Forum with large user base: Cloud hosting with third-party image hosting services (imgur, etc)
  • eCommerce / online store: Cloud or Dedicated hosting with CDN and eCommerce support. Consider using bundled services like Shopify or Big Commerce.

4. Website Technology Stack

Different websites can make use of different technologies, including programming languages, databases, and frameworks. Not all hosts may offer everything. Hence, your website’s technology stack influences the hosting services you can use.

Certain hosting providers specialize in specific technologies or offer optimized environments for WordPress, Node.js, etc. Compatibility with your tech stack ensures better performance and less technical hassle.

HostScore Recommendations

  • Minimum requirements: Multi versions PHP and one-click installer for all popular applications (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Simple Machines Forum, etc). Root access in VPS hosting environment.
  • Good to have features: Node.js, Python, Ruby on Rail, and Apache Tomcat support in shared environment; choices to host in Windows Server OS

5. Security Needs

Websites, especially those handling sensitive information (for examples: personal data, payment information), require robust security measures. The level of security needed varies; for instance, eCommerce sites require higher security levels than personal blogs.

HostScore Recommendations

  • Minimum requirements: Look for web hosting providers offering free SSL certificates, basic hack protections, and daily backup
  • Good to have features: Built-in bot fighting system, auto malware scanning and built-in firewalls
  • Advanced security features: Advanced DDoS protection, hack restore services, advanced web application firewall (WAF)

6. Budget

Your budget plays a significant role in your hosting choice. If your website project is going to be limited by cost, then you need to find something that will fit well in your price range. While normally this is a poor deciding factor, it does nonetheless remain one.

Costs can vary widely based on the type of hosting (shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud) and additional features (SSL certificates, domain registration, premium support). It’s important to balance your needs with what you can afford, considering both upfront and ongoing expenses.

HostScore Recommendations

Expect to pay between $4 – $10 per month for a basic shared hosting and $25 – $40 per month for mid-range VPS hosting.
  • Shared Hosting signup: $4 – $10 per month
  • VPS Hosting signup: $25 – $40 per month
  • Managed Cloud Hosting: $15 – $200 per month
  • Dedicated Hosting: Prices vary for different server configuration

7. Management Level

Hosting a website can be as easy or difficult as you like. Web hosting services offer different management levels, from fully managed, where the provider handles maintenance and updates, to self-managed, where you’re responsible for server management.

Your technical expertise and willingness to manage the backend will determine the best fit. Are you familiar enough to get by with anything, or will you need more support from the hosting provider?

HostScore Recommendations

  • Generally, a managed hosting provider is ideal for those without technical skills or the desire to handle server administration tasks.

8. Compliance

Certain websites, especially those in healthcare, finance, and retail, must adhere to specific regulations (HIPAA, GDPR, PCI-DSS) regarding data protection and privacy. Ensure your web hosting provider complies with relevant laws to avoid legal issues and protect user data.

HostScore Recommendations

  • If your website needs special compliance, talk to sales support before signing up.

9. Integration Needs

Consider the external services and applications your website needs to integrate with, such as payment processors, CRM systems, and email marketing tools. Your hosting should support these integrations seamlessly, without compromising on performance or security.

HostScore Recommendations

  • For eCommerce – Go with VPS or Cloud Hosting plan for payment processors or third party API support.
  • If your website needs special API integration, talk to sales support before signing up.

10. Number of Websites to Host

The ability to host multiple websites on one account significantly influences hosting shoppers’ choices, as it offers both flexibility and cost-efficiency, especially for those managing several sites. This feature allows for streamlined management and reduced overall hosting expenses, making plans that permit multiple or unlimited websites particularly attractive to web developers, digital marketers, and businesses with a portfolio of websites.

HostScore Recommendations

  • For beginners starting their first website: Choose lowest shared hosting account that allow only one website per account
  • For users with less than 100 low traffic websites: Go with mid-level shared hosting plan that allow 100 websites
  • For experienced users with mid-traffic websites: Go with VPS or Cloud hosting that allow you to host unlimited domains in one account.

By thoroughly understanding these aspects, you can choose a web hosting service that not only fits your current requirements but is also well-equipped to grow with your website.

Other Factors in Choosing a Web Host

Article by Jerry Low

Jerry Low has immersed himself in web technologies for over a decade and has built many successful sites from scratch. He is a self-professed geek who has made it his life’s ambition to keep the web hosting industry honest. For latest personal updates and news, follow Jerry on Facebook and Twitter.
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