You run a website or just plan to create one: a news blog, an online toolset, a marketplace, a streaming platform, a thematic blog, or some other niche. To make it a powerful source of income, you need to host it so that it is accessible, usable, and fast. This makes you turn to Google and start looking for web hosting services suitable for your content and monetization needs. How to choose the right web hosting your online business?
Well, you can drop the search now because this guide is here to give you well-packaged instructions on choosing web hosting. We will cover such topics as hosting types, paid and free services examples, tips on selecting a hosting depending on your niche, and more.
Traditionally, let’s start with some definitions and then sort each issue out!
What’s web hosting, what’s it for, and how does it work?
Before you learn which web hosting to choose for your needs, we should define how websites become available on the Internet.
Websites are hosted and stored on the Internet on special computers called servers. Servers are physical computers that work non-stop and provide users with 24/7 access to all the websites they house.
These servers are owned by companies called hosting providers. Each hosting provider has many such servers in its arsenal.
The hosting provider is responsible for maintaining the continuous operation of each server, protecting them from malicious attacks, and guarantees the proper and fast transfer of content (text, images, files) from the server to users’ browsers.
Web hosting is an online service provided by a hosting provider that allows you to host a website on their server, essentially connecting it to the Internet. You rent space on the server where you can store all the files of your site and the data necessary for its proper running. In addition to space, the hosting provider also provides you with the technology and services you need for users to see your website on the Internet.
The user interacts with the hosting provider’s server like this:
Users connect to the Internet via their PC or mobile phone. When a client wants to access a web page, a copy of the page is downloaded from the hosting provider’s server to their PC or mobile phone and displayed in their device’s browser.
This means that if you want users to see your website and its content, perform the target action, write reviews and comments, invite their friends to check the site out, you need to put it on the Internet.
So how do you host a website?
To host your site on the Internet, you require a web hosting service. First, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the types of hostings out there.
Types of hosting platforms
1. Shared virtual hosting
Shared hosting is a great and affordable solution for most small websites that don’t yet get a lot of traffic. This type of web hosting is also a good choice for young projects.
You use hosting services in conjunction with other individuals and companies, the number of which can be in the thousands. Websites are hosted on a single server that is connected to the Internet. Server resources, such as computing power, memory, disk space and others, are evenly distributed between clients, and the cost of server maintenance is also divided between them.
To better understand shared hosting, imagine a college dormitory with multiple floors and rooms on each one. Let’s say that the campus is a server. Using shared hosting is like owning a room on one of the dormitory’s floors, with the remaining rooms being occupied by other students.
When to choose shared hosting? They are perfect for small projects. But keep in mind that once your website or that of your hosting neighbor scales, the server’s productivity may drop as a result. As your project develops and you start attracting more traffic, this option will no longer suffice.
- Low cost.
- The domain is usually free.
- A setup server.
- A clear and intuitive control panel.
- Beginner-friendly since no special technical knowledge is required.
- The support team performs server maintenance and administration.
- Limited options to customize the server.
- Traffic flows on other sites can take a toll on server performance and slow down your own website.
- Limited disk space and bandwidth.
2. Virtual private server (VPS)
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) or Virtual Dedicated Servers (VDS) are great for average-sized projects with rapidly developing websites.
Technically, VPS is a subtype of shared hosting, but it’s a sort of dedicated shared hosting.
Multiple users are all on a single server, but there are not nearly as many as with shared hosting. VPS offers more disk space, many more settings, as well as better performance and bandwidth than shared hosting. VPS is more expensive than shared hosting and will require you to perform specific technical tasks.
In the case of a VPS, one server is divided into separate “virtual” servers, each of which has its own operating system. Your hosting provider will give you a separate section on the server. You get your allocated space and a specific share of the processing power and memory. This provides a sort of insurance against cases when your “neighbors'” websites may malfunction.
- Dedicated resources on the server.
- The productivity is usually good.
- Lots of disk space and high bandwidth.
- Great possibilities for customization.
- Traffic flows to other sites do not affect the performance of your website in any way.
- The owner can perform any sort of operation on the server.
- Easy to scale.
- More expensive than shared hosting.
- Requires technical and server management knowledge.
3. Dedicated server
Dedicated server hosting is a physical server that is entirely at your disposal and dedicated exclusively to your website. This is one of the more expensive hosting options for websites with significant traffic flows.
Renting a dedicated server is like having your own local server but with professional support from your hosting provider.
You don’t have to share resources with other users and can control everything that happens on the server down to the OS. Dedicated hosting gives you complete freedom of action. You can choose the operating system and software, use and customize the entire hosting environment however you need to.
But keep in mind that you will have to perform all the technical tasks yourself when renting a dedicated server. Whereas should you choose shared hosting or a VPS, it’s the hosting provider who deals with such matters.
- Complete control over your server configuration.
- Plenty of disk space and high bandwidth.
- High reliability: other users do not affect your site’s performance.
- The owner has the right to perform any sort of operation on the server.
- High level of security.
- High cost.
- Requires technical and server management knowledge.
4. Managed hosting
Managed hosting is when the hosting provider manages your server. You may find it suitable if you want to spend as little time as possible dealing with technical matters, and your budget can handle something a little more expensive. Also, this type of hosting is suitable if you will be processing credit card data a lot.
Such hostings usually work with specific types of websites like WordPress, Ghost, or online stores.
- Site management, security, and updates are all carried out by the service.
- Speed and performance optimization.
- Optimization at the VPS or dedicated server level without the need to manage it yourself.
- More expensive than virtual hostings.
- Usually, from one account, you can create fewer websites than on shared hostings.
5. Cloud hosting
Cloud hosting implies you place your website in the cloud storage; this is one of the most secure options on the market. They provide you with multiple servers (server cluster). Each one houses a copy of your website. If problems arise, all traffic will be redirected to a properly functioning server. As traffic increases, the cloud space will expand. You pay for as much cloud space as you use.
- No downtime.
- Server issues don’t automatically crash your website;
additional resources on demand;
pay only for how much you use;
more scalable than a VPS.
- Calculating your expenses can be a bit problematic.
- Not all the operations on the server are constantly available.
Paid VS Free hosting services
Above, we have covered common types of web hosting services. They can be paid and free, of course. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of paid and free hostings.
Free hosting services
Free hostings are suitable for hosting personal pages, small non-commercial projects. In many cases, free hostings are used by startup projects, when you can’t accurately predict how well the website will perform, whether it will attract sufficient user attention.
- The main advantage of free hostings is that it’s, well, free.
- Creating and publishing a page takes a couple of minutes.
- Built-in website builders are improving every year; there are many templates that will make your site look lovely and unique.
- Built-in stocks of licensed images, photos and videos, free of additional charge.
- No warranties. Your website doesn’t belong to you. The hosting provider, at its discretion, can place an ad on your website, block or just downright delete it without providing any reason as to why.
- Technical and system limitations, for example, when it comes to executing specific scripts.
- Usually, not much disk space.
- The website opens slowly. This reduces the number of users and hinders search engine optimization.
- Free websites are usually hosted on third-level domains. Sites on such domains don’t particularly inspire user trust and are also less indexed by search engines.
Paid hosting services
Most website owners prefer paid hostings since they’re reliable and provide more options.
- Reliable since they guarantee to deliver the services you paid for.
- Provide you with special resources that will make sure your website runs smoothly.
- Allow you to configure the server for any sort of project, regardless of system requirements, as long as you choose a VPS plan or rent a dedicated server.
- Alow for selecting a plan that suits your needs best.
- Provide 24/7 tech support.
- Compared to free hosting, there is a need to pay for hosting services and pay for domain use.
Thus, we can conclude that free hostings are suitable for a home page or a small block. You can also use it to see if your project is viable but other than that, it’s not the best choice for commercial projects or large websites.
How to choose hosting: common and technical tips
So, what should a website owner keep in mind when choosing web hosting? Let’s take a closer look. First, let’s highlight the key points that fundamentally determine how every aspect of your website is going to work.
When choosing web hosting, the first thing you look at is its reliability, the loading time, as well as the prices, and whether it offers competent 24/7 tech support.
Choose a reliable hosting provider
The reliability of the hosting provider is the essential criteria to consider when choosing a web host.
If the server fails to cope with its most important task — load and open content quickly, the user simply won’t be able even to access your website
In this case, any sort of monetization, optimization or scaling is absolutely out of the question.
How to determine how reliable a hosting provider is? The fastest and easiest way is to check the rating, poke around customer reviews, dig up any other info about the hosting. Here’s a couple of websites that rate hosting providers.
Go for a fast-working hosting provider
Powerful and productive servers are critical to proper website performance. Your website needs to load and open quickly. If it doesn’t, you lose a large percentage of your potential customers before they can even see your product.
Regarding this topic, Forbes says: nowadays, companies must clearly understand how many seconds their site and webpages take to load. A member of Google’s team claimed that studies have shown that 2 seconds is “the threshold for an acceptable loading time for an e-commerce website.” Even so, the company strives to reach loading times of 0.5 seconds. All this stems from high user expectations regarding website loading times: it was widely reported that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. And as many as 40% of users will leave the website if it does not load within 3 seconds.
This number is even higher for mobile traffic: 53% will leave if the website takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Make sure you can get qualified tech support
No hosting, regardless of reputation or quality performance, can 100% guarantee that you won’t encounter some form of issue. You may be faced with various technical problems, albeit minor ones. Resolving them quickly and efficiently is vital.
Check available support channels, service times. Opt for a service with 24/7 tech support. This point is crucial. After all, problems don’t always occur from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Friday. Help is often needed late at night or on weekends and during holidays.
The quality of the support you get is also important. Check out customer reviews, do a Google background check on the hosting provider. Crashes happen to everything. The important thing is how quickly and professionally the company deals with them.
Find out whether the hosting technically supports your type of website
Different types of sites like WordPress, Ghost (blogging platform), or static HTML (blogs, landing pages, galleries, portfolios, news, and information sites) require different technical approaches to web hosting. It is imperative to find out what your site is built on and make sure the hosting you want supports the technical requirements for your type of website.
Types of technical requirements
Determine how much disk space you need to store data
Server space refers to the amount of data that the hosting allows you to download. If your site contains mostly text only, for example, a blog or a business website, you won’t have any problems with storage. But if you have a lot of data, for example, a large number of images or videos, digital products, you need to make sure that the hosting has enough space for all your stuff.
Come up with how much bandwidth you need to transfer data
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that the hosting allows users to download from a drive on the server.
For example, you have 10 images weighing 200 KB each – that’s 2 MB in total. If 100 people see the image, then 200 MB of bandwidth is used up. If it’s 1,000 people, then it’s 2 GB.
For most projects, the bandwidth the hosting provides is enough. But if you work with large volumes of data and are sure that the traffic flow to your website will be massive, you need to choose a hosting that will provide you with as much bandwidth as you need.
Leave room for the development of your website
Web hosting should give you the ability to develop your projects and scale them easily.
Ask the hosting provider, should your website grow, whether the hosting will be able to promptly provide you with a more expensive plan and independently move you to it without temporarily shutting down the website.
Think of how many websites you can launch with the selected tariff plan
How many websites are you planning to launch on this hosting? Usually, the cheapest package allows you to create one website with a top-level domain. If that’s all you need, then there’s no issue. But if, say, in the future, you’re considering creating another one, check whether the provider will allow you to shift to a different plan smoothly. If your initial plan is to launch multiple websites, choose a suitable tariff plan right away.
Establish your web hosting budget
It would be best if you determined how much you can spend per month. This is necessary to choose a suitable type of hosting and license.
Choose a hosting type and a provider for your website
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a web host, you can select the type of hosting and hosting provider that suits you best.
We covered the types of hostings above. Just to recap, here’s the list again:
- shared hosting,
- virtual private server hosting (VPS).
- dedicated server hosting,
- managed hosting,
- cloud hosting.
Now let’s take a look at the best hosting providers out there.
Hosting providers: learning pros and cons
Reliable paid web hosting services
This is one of the cheapest options out there.
Hosting plans start at $2.95 per month ($7.99 without any discounts) to $7.95 per month ($14.99 without discounts). In return, you get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited websites, and storage (except with the cheapest plan where you can only host one website and have a 50GB storage limit).
You receive a free domain regardless of what package you choose, but Bluehost retains ownership of it even if you decide to change your hosting.
You will also receive a special offer from WooCommerce hosting, making it easier to launch an online store.
Bluehost offers 24/7 tech support and has a 30-day refund policy.
- Discount prices are valid only for the first year of service, after that they go up.
- Making a copy of one of your website backups will cost you extra.
One of the best hosting companies. It offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee and has a 45-day refund policy.
Prices for new customers are very attractive: from $3.95 a month on shared hosting to just $5.95 for a business plan that includes a free private SSL (a security protocol that ensures that the connection between the users and server is safe) and a dedicated IP address, needed for online stores.
Additionally, Hostgator has special WordPress hosting packages for a similar price. Please note that all these prices are for the first month only. For each subsequent month, the fee gets slightly higher. You can scale cloud services up to 4x with no downtime or data migration, providing you with the flexibility you need when you don’t know how well your site will perform.
In terms of domains, bandwidth, and storage, the pricing models are similar to Bluehost’s, with only the lowest ones having any sort of limits in this regard.
- Not all plans provide a private SSL.
- The domain name is provided free of charge only when you purchase a one-, two-, or three-year plan.
- Restoring an older version of your website or making a copy of one of your website backups will cost you extra.
While SiteGround isn’t quite as big as Bluehost or HostGator, it’s an incredibly popular choice among marketers.
Prices are slightly higher, starting at $ 3.95 and up to $ 11.95 per month. This is the price for new customers. The standard price is actually double that. Another major drawback is that all of its plans are limited in terms of both storage and bandwidth.
Storage is limited to a meager 10 GB in the cheapest plan, with a bandwidth of around 25,000 visitors per month and 30 GB with 100,000 visitors in the most expensive one. One of the main reasons for these limitations is that all servers only use Solid State Drives (SSD), which significantly speeds up data retrieval.
The most important advantage when selling hosting is the quality of the service and customer support.
SiteGround also has great WordPress optimization packages. While this hosting is a bit more expensive than the rest, it offers the best speed and the best productivity, which in today’s world is a fundamental advantage since many people lack the patience to wait for slow loading websites.
- The “StartUp” plan (the cheapest one) allows you to host only one website.
- Only the top 2 most expensive plans allow you to make backups whenever you want.
- Discount prices are valid only for the first year of service, after that they go up.
- All plans have limits in terms of both storage and bandwidth.
A simple and transparent hosting company. They deliver everything they claim. Like SiteGround, it provides the best performance at the expense of storage and bandwidth (which are limited). Its minimum tier shared hosting package includes 5GB of storage and 50GB of bandwidth. There is an even smaller plan, but the price difference is negligible ($5.92 instead of $8), and the storage capacity and bandwidth are literally 10 times less. On the other hand, the more expensive plan offers 30GB of storage and 500GB of bandwidth for $25 per month.
Just like all the other hostings we’ve covered, ASmallOrange offers one-click WordPress installation and optimized packages for it. Additionally, the hosting provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee and a free .com domain, and unlimited websites on all plans.
Despite some complaints about customer support, primarily due to bandwidth issues, this is one of the few web hosting solutions that have a 90-day refund policy.
- User complaints about the quality of tech support.
This company is definitely in the top 10.
The company is based in California and uses wind power to power its servers, directing excess energy from the wind farm to the local grid. There is only one hosting plan with unlimited storage, websites, and data transfers. It will cost you $3.95. Except, if you check the fine print, you’ll know that that price is valid only if you pay 3 years in advance; otherwise the hosting will charge $9.95 a month.
One of the major drawbacks is that it performs slightly below average, which means that your websites’ users may be faced with long loading times. Additionally, customer support isn’t the best in the area either. The hosting offers a free domain and a 30-day refund policy.
All in all, you get a good set of services for your money, and you don’t need to juggle around different pricing options. Not to mention, it’s good for the environment!
- The discount is provided only if you purchase a 3 year plan.
- Insufficient performance affects website loading speeds.
- Users complain about the quality of tech support.
Most used free web hosting services
- Free hosting.
- Website builder.
- Free SSL security.
- Apps for your websites made with Weebly.
- Mobile app developer.
- The free plan does not include custom domains.
- Your web pages will contain brand ads.
- Weebly’s website builder does not allow you to edit its source code for custom HTML and CSS.
- Free hosting.
- Website builder.
- Online store.
- Free templates.
- Wix Apps.
- Your web pages contain Wix display ads and branding (including “wixsite.com” in the URL) that you cannot disable.
- Storage and bandwidth are limited to 500 MB each.
- The free plan doesn’t provide tracking and analytical tools.
- WordPress is trusted, popular and respected by bloggers.
- Lots of free easy-to-install themes.
- The free plan includes Jetpack fundamentals such as basic SEO, website stats, and social media sharing features.
- Website URLs have wordpress.com in them.
- Your web pages contain display ads and branding that you cannot disable.
- There is no email or live chat tech support, although you do have access to assistance forums.
Which hosting is better for website traffic monetization
First off, there is no direct connection between the hosting you choose and the quality of traffic you drive to the website. Any website can be monetized and turned into a source of income. But there are some tricky moments you ought to be aware of before you place ads on your website and start getting money. Let’s make all of them crystal-clear.
Hosting and advertising: how Adsterra ad codes run on websites
All publishers and bloggers are concerned about how advertising codes and formats may affect their websites’ loading speed and, consequently, ranking in the search engines. Here is some good news: you may leave behind this concern 🙂 But still, we need to clarify two issues that you, as a website owner, should keep in mind.
Ad codes don’t affect pagespeed when placed correctly
Adsterra provides you with lightweight codes that don’t affect the page load speed. At the same time, you need to be attentive while adding ad scripts to your pages. Please read the instructions given in your publisher’s account. E.g., our new CPM-boosting Social Bar ads can be placed only before the “” tag. All these instructions are already on the Adsterra platform; they appear each time you apply for the next ad code 🙂
Heavy website content requires powerful hosting
If you run a website with heavy content (live streaming, movies) on free shared hosting, this alone can break down all your attempts to make money on website traffic. Users are expecting super-easy access and great experience, not connection breaches. And it makes it even worse if you saturate your pages with ads.
Granted you have placed the codes correctly and chosen an appropriate hosting, you can start growing your passive income! Five steps to put ads on any website:
- Register as a publisher.
- Hit ADD NEW WEBSITE.
- Choose an ad format and fill out a short form.
- Wait a couple of minutes until we approve your website and check your email.
- Get the ad code you requested and place the code on your website.
That’s all it takes to start monetizing your traffic with the Adsterra ad network. Of course, if you’ve just built a new website and don’t drive any traffic yet, your ads won’t bring you money. But once traffic begins to grow, you will find it very easy to earn from every 1,000 impressions of ads and increase your payouts.
When choosing a hosting provider, you ought to carefully examine all the points that concern your niche, content type, and further website development.
Pay special attention to the hosting’s reputation as well as how well it performs. The user will stay with you and become your buyer, only provided that your website opens and loads quickly.
Do you still not know what to do with your website? Make money on it, of course! The Adsterra advertising network will become your trusty partner on your journey to monetize your website. This is both the most simple and most profitable solution out there.