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How to Choose the Best Host for your Website by Flywheel

Guest Author on October 3, 2018
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You finally got your website ready to launch! All the content is there, the design is stellar, and you’ve picked the best domain name. Now you’re ready to go live!

Launching your site is flooding your head with questions: What hosting solution is best for you? How do you know it’s reliable? What if your site goes down? Are you paying too much or too little?

With so many website hosting options, it can be rather overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re going to take a deeper look into all these questions and set the record straight. So, make note of your site structure, get ready to do your research, and let’s get started! Here’s what we’re going to cover:

Understanding your site needs

Before we dive into what you need from a hosting provider, it’s important to figure out what kind of features and support your site needs. Take note of these because, depending on your site setup and host, features and cost can vary quite a bit.

Reliable uptime

What kind of traffic are you expecting? If you’re just trying to maintain a personal portfolio site, you might not have heavy traffic. However, if you’re ready to launch a high-traffic or business website, you’ll likely need stronger, more reliable performance.

Traffic heavily impacts the speed and performance of your website. Whether your visitors come from desktop or mobile devices, optimizing your website will create a faster, better interactive visitor experience.

Many hosts have an average uptime you can compare. It’s important to do one (or both) of the following: First, choose the plan that best fits your needs and traffic expectations. Second, never settle for a host that charges you for traffic overages if this is a big concern!

Here’s an example: You’re running an e-commerce site, and Black Friday is around the corner. You might want to talk to your host or get a dedicated server in order to handle the traffic spikes coming your way. After all, if your site crashes or the load time is more than a couple seconds, you’re instantly losing sales.

Strong security measures

Obviously, no one wants to have their site hacked, suffer from malware, or deal with spam. There are many hosting options that come with some security measures already in place. Ask yourself if your site is at a greater security risk. Do you have important, confidential information that needs stronger protection?

Every website needs security, and if your site is handling sensitive information, you need extra solid security! If this isn’t your forte, find a host that can help you set up security measures or help handle a situation if anything were to happen to your site.

Check with your hosting provider to see what kind of security options are worked into their platform or plan. You might get things like free SSL or malware scanning. Some hosts charge for things like SSL installation or malware removal, while others come with it already included for free.

Easy-to-use dashboards

How hands-on do you want to be while managing your website? Do you need more or less control over your options? Are you looking for a team to help you manage the technical details?

If you like using the dashboard, you can get a sense of what the experience will be like working with your host. This can also be a good indicator of the level of support you can expect. Some hosts expect you to have a lot of technical knowledge, whereas some try to simplify the process.

Knowledgeable support

Support is also a big consideration – you want a team of experts to have your back! Having a positive support experience is what will likely make or break the simplicity of working with your website host. This also provides you with peace knowing someone has your back.

You want to get the most bang for your buck, so if you think you’re going to need great support, consider what’s included in your hosting plan and what level of support and simplicity you can expect.

Know your hosting options

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the features and support to consider when looking for a host, let’s walk through the most common hosting options.

First and foremost, consider your site setup. Is your website completely custom? Are you using a content management system like WordPress or Drupal? Did you use a site creator like Wix or Squarespace? There are different hosting options depending on how your site was created.

Host your own website

Are you ready to handle hosting, server provisioning, security management, etc? Although it involves a bit more work, you can set up your own server with enough patience and technical knowledge. You’ll need to consider f if you have the time to manage this on top of maintaining your website.

So, even if you have the technical skills, consider a specialized or managed host if you’re balancing time and control. Your hosting provider might be able to help you better understand your options, work to customize your plan, and optimize the setup for your website! A hosting provider might be a great option to help you get back those billable hours of your time and support you along the way.

Traditional hosting

There are tons of website hosts out there that can handle almost any site setup, and the biggest things to compare are the features and guarantees that come with your plan. For example, if you’re paying five dollars a month for shared hosting and minimal support, that might work for a small personal blog but probably not for an ecommerce website. If you’re paying $200 a month for that same small, light-traffic blog, you might be paying much more than you ought to be.

Specialized and managed hosting

There are also hosts that specialize in certain types of websites. These types of hosts are great because everything they provide is built with that in mind. For example, if you’re running a WordPress website, there are tons of WordPress-specific hosting options. So, if you want the optimal setup for your site, a WordPress host is going to have features in place, servers setup, and support teams trained specifically for WordPress.

If you want someone else to handle all the technical, nitty-gritty details of hosting, consider managed hosting. Managed hosts typically have dedicated servers or cloud hosting to aid in your site speed and performance as well. This means you have a committed team that can help you solve problems and keep your site in tip-top shape, rather than having to make all the little changes yourself.

Are you just creating and handing off sites for clients? A managed host is also a great way to have someone else on your “team” to answer support questions and make sure everything’s running smoothly. This way you can get back to doing your best design and development work rather than spending billable hours setting up servers and answering emails (plus, with the right host, you might just get some referral kickbacks!).

What features you should look for

At this point, consider your workflow. Are you working with a team of people? Do you need add-ons like CDN to increase performance or free SSL certificates for every website? There are many features many hosts offer, and as you’re doing more research, it’s important to consider which ones are offered in your plan.

Some common features that come with hosting are:

This is just the start. When you consider how many options your host offers, it’s important to remember your workflow. This way you’re able to streamline your work and keep track of everything all from one place with the right setup.

How to determine the right host

With all the options laid out, how are you really supposed to pick from the countless hosts out there? Here are a few go-to tips:

Ask for a demo

Test out the platform

perform a speed test

Read reviews

Ask the community

Key takeaways

Now that you know what to look for when considering web hosts, are you ready to make a decision? There are so many options out there, but the good news is there are plenty of great hosts. If you want to try a few, there’s nothing wrong with that, but hopefully you now have the information to make the best choice for you and your website!


Britt is the Content Coordinator at Flywheel, a delightful managed WordPress host. While she is also an active writer for Flywheel’s blog, Layout, she also helps manage it and create various types of content for the company. To connect and share ideas, shoot her an email at