A webserver can cost as little as $0/month to lease, up to thousands per month. And they may end up doing the same thing - with no noticeable difference for your site visitors.
It could even end up as more time consuming to go with the expensive kind.
I usually tell people who have WordPress websites, to sign up with a fully managed WordPress hosting plan. While they often cost a little more, they take out a lot of the work required to set up, optimize, and maintain. They can greatly improve the development workflow too.
You can see my reviews on some WordPress & Shared hosting companies that I’ve used.
Good vs. Bad web hosting basically has to do with how much time and money you’re spending with your host, and how you feel about them, in relation to what could be.
Choosing the right web host depends a lot on your situation, as many people also like to forge different types of relationships with their web host. And many websites have different needs.
If you find the need to contact your web host rarely, if ever, that’s a great sign. If you find yourself struggling with the same process frequently, it could be the time to switch.
Different Types of Website Hosting
There are many different ways websites are hosted. Most website owners can keep it in the $0-$35 monthly price range, you can host as little as one, and as many as a dozen with that.
With so many choices putting time towards finding the best plan can be worthwhile.
Shared vs Dedicated Hosting
Shared hosting has been the go-to for most businesses. Whereas a dedicated server means you have an entire server to yourself. Most websites don’t need the resources that come with having a dedicated server.
Virtual Private Servers are another type, like an in-between, where a single server is divided into multiples virtually. Still, practically most cases don’t need this amount of server resources.
The amount of time it can take to maintain and set up your own virtual or dedicated server is enough incentive to stay away from it 🙌.
Self-Hosted WordPress Hosting (WP-Engine, SiteGround, Kinsta)
Nowadays most web hosts have WordPress integration in one way or another. Since WordPress is open-source, big hosting companies have had to create their own WP Management into their systems. Opening a big opportunity for smaller companies that offer a better service.
Getting a good WordPress host can save you a lot of time and money. For example, some WordPress hosting providers monitor and configure the core files for you. Giving utmost quality assurance, performance, and security.
Static Site Hosting (CloudFlare Pages, Netlify, GitHub Pages)
Static websites can cost little to nothing to host, that’s how light-weight they are. However, there are new challenges that come with static websites, too.
All-in-One Hosting (SquareSpace, Shopify, Wix)
Some website frameworks also come with proprietary hosting, or attachment to the software in different ways. Such websites can’t be migrated, so abandoning their service could mean having to rebuild it on a new framework.
All-in-one situations can make the process as easy as possible. With domain registration and many steps included in one place. It often doesn’t translate to the most valuable option in the long run. Though for some, that difference in cost is hardly worth considering.
While you also don’t get complete ownership of the software, you also don’t burden as much responsibility. An all-in-one service without the need for ownership of the technology is suitable for some.
Cloud Hosting (Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, Cloudways)
Cloud services charge based on bandwidth, while enabling extreme performance. This makes them suitable for businesses who intend to have a tech staff full-time.
Merely because it takes getting introduced to Shell and a Command Line Interface to communicate with the server. If you can get over the learning curve, it could be a great choice. They can start as little as $1 a month. You can also end up overpaying from errors and misconfigurations.
Most people, who have no interest in learning some Cloud Engineering, can get a lot more out of the other options. A good cache, with a Content Delivery Network, is already blazing fast, cloud server performance is not a big deal in most cases.
The benefits to having the right web host
Paying a little more for a reliable and high quality service can come with so many advantages, that you end up saving a lot more in different ways. It can mount up to a lot of time and money in the big picture.
- Simple Backups & Restoration Tools
- With automatic backups, you can feel safe knowing there is a large recovery window if anything goes wrong.
- A good web host is more reliable for restoration, you can expect it to always work.
- Quality hosting can have a simple interface to restore backups
- Development & Staging Environments
- It’s not a good idea to work on live websites, especially if there is traffic. Separate environments can let you test before making changes.
- Multiple environments also makes things easier to troubleshoot and debug. Enabling you to make changes without worrying about down time.
- A good web host will make the deployment of more environments easy and quick. Saving a lot of time for future development.
- Collaboration Tools
- It’s better to avoid giving others access to your personal accounts. A modern host allows you to invite people via email, to have access to your server.
- Less Haggle & Fees
- Good web hosts charge you a modest rate with the features everyone needs; like security and uptime.
- A good host often does not market more products and services to you, unlike the many big companies out there; who for example, turn free email accounts into hundreds in renewal charges.
Switching Web Hosts
For many, changing web hosts sounds intimidating, or a big deal - it can be in a good way. For a web developer, it’s about as simple as moving files to a new folder.
There is no worry of data loss or downtime when a migration is done right.
Most web hosting companies do not charge anything to transfer your website to their server, and many have tools to automate the process. The typical price of a website migration, when not offered for free, is about $75-$150 in the US. The process typically takes between 30 minutes to 4 hours - with most of the time going towards waiting for files to transfer.
Migrating your website to a new host should feel seamless. If your new web host is awesome, it could improve the experience for you and your users from there on out.
Why Performance Matters
People feel the need to upgrade their web hosting plan if their websites run slow. Which might seem like a plausible solution but it’s counter-productive.
If your website has room to perform better (which most do), you may not need extra server resources to deliver it to users.
A lighter website consumes less bandwidth and processing power. And it gets served to your visitors quicker too, improving their experience.
Clean code can matter too, making it less likely for errors and infinite loops of kinds.
Any time spent being bothered by your hosting situation, is time that could be better spent.
If you think you’re spending too much time or money with your current host, there right one is surely out there 😄. Staying with a bad host is technically a bad relationship.
You can send me a text message or email if you’d like some help!