The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Best Website Hosting Company

By: | Updated: July 22, 2021

Choosing a website hosting company isn’t an easy thing. There are so many things to consider from disk space and bandwidth to features and price. Not to mention, you have to decide between the different types of hosting.

Our goal is to give you all the information you need to make the best possible choice when it comes to your website hosting company. Use the ultimate beginner’s guide to choosing the best website hosting company below to help you make this difficult decision.

Your Hosting Needs Come First-Best Website Hosting Company

Before you get into wondering about the many different things a hosting company can provide, you need to have an idea of what you really need. Every website is a little bit different. Addressing the features and resources you need with the right website hosting company comes first.

Some of the questions you will want to ask yourself include:

  • What type of website will you be building?
  • Will you need special software for your website?
  • Do you plan to attract a large amount of daily visitors?
  • Will you need any Windows Applications?
  • Do you need a CMS, such as Joomla, WordPress or Drupal?

All of these basic questions are very important and will help you figure out what you need for the next 12 months from a hosting company.

For beginners, it’s best to starts with a top shared hosting account. This type of account won’t cost very much and will give you plenty of features and resources. You can always upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting as your site grows. A shared hosting account gives you time to learn without breaking the bank.

Uptime from Your Hosting Company

The most important thing any hosting company can give you is 24/7/365 support and server monitoring. This means, they will be able to give you a good uptime score, in most cases. If they don’t monitor the servers every minute of every day, uptime will suffer.

An uptime score that is acceptable is 99.5% or higher. The best hosting companies will give you 99.99% uptime and it will be guaranteed. If the uptime dips to only 99%, it’s considered an unacceptable score.

You can simply track your website hosting account with server monitoring tools during the first 30 days of your hosting account. Since most hosting companies provide a 30-day money back guarantee or a trial period, this is a good time to check the uptime and make sure it checks out.

Ability to Host Multiple Websites

Even if you only plan to start one website, you cannot predict what the future will bring. It’s best to get a hosting account that will allow you to host multiple domains on the same account.

Most of the best hosting companies will offer unlimited domain hosting or at least give you up to 25 domain add-ons. This will ensure you can park domains, when necessary, and you can take on other projects, if you prefer.

Upgradable Option

A hosting company that doesn’t offer VPS accounts and/or dedicated options doesn’t give you the opportunity to upgrade. You want to be able to upgrade as your site grows.

Shared hosting accounts are quite powerful today and you may not need to upgrade for a few years. This type of account will support a WordPress blog until it reaches about 1,000 visitors per day. Once you get to this level, VPS or dedicated hosting will become necessary or you will find that your site lags.

VPS and dedicated hosting provides more processing power and assigned resources. These types of hosting are created to help you handle more traffic without slow load times. Make sure your website hosting company offers VPS and/or dedicated hosting if you plan to grow.

What’s the Renewal Price?

We often get sucked into a hosting account based on some special deal that seems incredible. However, it’s important to understand that the special discount won’t last forever.

For example, when you sign up for a shared hosting account from FatCow, you get the special introductory rate of $3.15 per month. You can lock this price in for up to three years, but you will need to pay upfront for it. However, once that three-year period expired, your hosting will renew at the regular rate of $8.99 per month on a three-year plan.

This is very common and all of the best hosting companies offer an introductory rate much lower than the renewal rate. It’s important to lock in the special discounted price for as long as you possibly can. Some companies will only allow you to lock this price in for three to six months, but FatCow website hosting allows you to lock it in for two or three years.

Money Back Guarantee

If you decide you don’t want to stick with the website hosting company you originally chose, what’s their policy with returns. Of course, you will need to make this decision within the trial or money back period, which is usually the first 30 days. However, not all companies provide a full refund or a no questions asked refund.

For example, when you choose FatCow website hosting, you get a 30-day money back guarantee. This guarantee allows you to get a full refund of the hosting fees you have paid, if you cancel within the first 30 days. They don’t even ask questions.

However, some hosting companies will charge a ridiculous cancellation fee or they will only give you a pro-rated refund. This isn’t a good guarantee and should tell you how good the hosting company really is. Before you sign up, check the guarantee for any fine print.

Account Suspension Policies

Website hosting companies all have a policy for handling account suspensions. They may suspend or disconnect your account if you start using up too many resources. This is where the “unlimited” becomes limited.

Make sure you read the Term Of Service, especially when it comes to account suspension. Most of the best website hosting companies, such as FatCow, will simply ask you to upgrade if your sites start pulling too many resources. If you get too much traffic and it slows down the entire server, they may ask you to upgrade to a VPS account, which you will want to do, anyway.

Are they Environmentally Friendly?

Web hosting companies use a ton of resources, but some are eco-friendly. The eco-friendly hosting companies will take care of the environment by lowering their carbon footprint. This makes a huge difference ad choosing a web hosting company that runs on renewable energy or offsets the energy consumption with green certificates is very important.

FatCow hosting, for example, is powered 100% by wind energy. This means they are one of the greenest hosting companies you can choose.

How Long have they Been Around?

Hosting companies all have some experience, but the ones that have been around the longest often turn out to be the best. The last thing you want to do is sign up with a fly-by-night company that gets bought out by a larger company or shuts their doors a few months after you sign up.

Any hosting company without at least 10 years of experience isn’t worth your time. FatCow was established in 1998 and is one of the oldest hosting companies you will find. This gives them the necessary experience and the track record you should be looking for when it comes to trusting the best website hosting company.

A User-Friendly Control Panel

There are two main control panels many consider to be the best and most user-friendly: vDeck and cPanel. Others may lack features or may simply be hard to work with. Choosing a hosting company that uses one of these two control panels will make it much easier on you as a beginner.

Live Chat Support Provided 24/7

Any website hosting company worth using will provide live chat support 24/7/365. If they don’t provide this type of support, you may not be able to get the help you need when something goes wrong. This can make it very difficult when you need to get your site back up and running, but don’t have anybody to contact.

FatCow provides 24/7 support through live chat and they have been known as one of the best support teams for years. If you want to ensure you have somebody there for you whenever you need them, choose FatCow website hosting.

Making the Final Website Hosting Decision

The final decision for website hosting comes down to your needs and budget. For 95% of beginners, a shared website hosting account will work just fine. However you still want to make sure the host you choose allows you to upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting when you reach that point.

We recommend FatCow website hosting because they have the best introductory rate for shared hosting. They also provide you with everything you could possibly need including award-winning technical support. If you do reach a time when shared hosting isn’t enough, FatCow will allow you to upgrade.

If you want to take the worry out of your hosting decision, just choose FatCow.

by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.