The web and web hosting has continued to expand and grow this year. While there are certainly some basic tips everyone should follow when deciding to purchase web hosting (many of which you can find on this site), I thought we’d focus more here on tips relating to the current trends of web hosting companies and how best your website can benefit here in 2013 as well as going into next year.
Look Carefully at Sales Prices
Although this has always been a good tip (you need to consider renewal rates as well as the specific sale price terms of the particular web host), I think it’s a good idea to include it here due to the continued competition among web hosting companies to get your business. For example, in the past there may have been a particular ad featuring a super low price (even .01 per month!). However, this was usually only for the first few months, after which the price increased. These days, that may not be the case. If you look at iPage, they have been offering their hosting plan for as little as $1 mo.—and this is for the entire initial term. So there are some super deals out there, but again, study the sales terms carefully.
Consider a CDN if you Have Lots of Content
One of the recent trends of web hosting companies is to incorporate content delivery networks (CDN) with their web hosting. A CDN can speed up your site load times so your users can get quicker access. It can be especially useful if your website contains a lot of images and other multimedia content. See my previous post for more information on content delivery networks.
Look for Mobile Friendly Web Hosts
With the number of smartphone and tablet computer users continuing to expand, you definitely want your website to be readily accessible and useable to these visitors. Web hosting companies are finally starting to address this issue and some are now offering mobile ready website building.
Make Sure your Web Hosting Company offers Quality Chat Support
These days, multitasking is a way of life for most of us. If you need assistance from your hosting company but you still need to continue working on other tasks at your computer, then live chat support is the way to go. For me, chat support has always been my number one choice and I’d definitely recommend you choose a web host that offers live chat in addition to the other methods of support.
Look for Green Web Hosting
Today, most people are more concerned with the environment. Many web hosting companies are doing their part by operating green data centers and using wind energy. Those hosts that offer green web hosting should be easy to identify on their sites.
Be Sure your Web Hosting Plan Includes Tools for SEO and Web Analytics
With search engine optimization and web analytics continuing to become more important to all website owners, you should check your prospective web hosting plan to see if it includes tools for tasks like search engine submission and integration with Google Webmaster Tools. If you have cPanel hosting, you’ll also have access to web analytics from Logaholic.
Don’t Forget about those Free Ad Credits
While search engine and social media advertising isn’t for everyone, if you do plan to employ this method of promotion, be sure your hosting plan includes credits for Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook. Some hosts only offer one or two, but you can find companies that give you all three.
Be Able to Access Your Email Anywhere
Fortunately most web hosting companies do a good job of allowing you to access your email through the web. But since using webmail is preferable to many users these days, be sure your hosting plan includes these tools so you can get to your email from anywhere—including your smartphone.
Be Aware of Smartphone and Tablet Apps
Again, as these types of mobile devices grow in popularity, you may want to access your web hosting account via a smartphone or tablet app. While there aren’t currently that many available (Go Daddy and 1&1 come to mind), they can be found. I would expect that more web hosts will be releasing apps in the near future. But until then, just be aware that there are some apps currently available for you to try out.
Consider Upgrading to VPS or Dedicated Hosting if your Website is Maxed Out
Just like the first tip on this list, moving to VPS or a dedicated server is not a new idea of course, but recently some top rated web hosting companies that previously have only offered shared hosting are now also featuring VPS and dedicated hosting (Bluehost, iPage, etc.). If you’re already with one of these web hosts, it will now be much easier to upgrade.