Shared web hosting is great for bloggers and small businesses; choose the plan with caution

You start a blog and put hard work on blogging. Soon its need for web resources grows and you look for a web host better than the one you have. 

This happens often with those who open their blog on a free blogging platform or they create the blog using a CMS and host it independently on a web host but they choose the web hosting company or plan that serves just their immediate purpose. 

Not much is lost if you face one of the above two issues. However, it is better that you research web hosting even when you are planning to start a new blog, and then invest money wisely on web hosting.

There are numerous sites on the web telling you which website hosts are the best. I can't dispute their reviews but caution you that in many cases, such reviews and recommendations are colored; they have some hidden commercial relationship with the web host they recommend

How to select the web host most suited for your website

Consider various factors that are relevant for your website/ blog, and then pick the web host that suits your needs. I discuss here some key points that many bloggers miss while looking at the numbers flaunted by web hosting companies to lure customers.

best web hosting company

Stick to a big web hosting company. 

Generally speaking, big web hosting companies maintain a minimum acceptable standard of resources and services. Though many users complain on web hosting forums, that big web hosts don't bother about small bloggers/ website owners, I still feel that they are much better than the one offering you a re-seller plan at half the cost offered by the big company.

You will not have issues with shared web hosting if you choose the plan wisely.

There are numerous web hosting options available in the market. Some common ones are: 

Shared web hosting. In this type of web hosting, a server is shared by many users, and this option itself has many variations. This is good for users who don't want to spend a lot of money on web hosting plans and don't mind some of its traffic and data transfer limitations of the shared plan. 

VPS hosting. This gives the user an independent virtual space on the web hosting server. This plan is great for businesses that want more power than shared hosting, but don't want to deal with dedicated hosting's prices. 

Dedicated hosting. This web hosting plan is both powerful and pricey; it is reserved for sites that experience incredibly high levels of traffic per day - bloggers and small businesses do not need this type of web hosting plan. 

Managed WordPress hosting is for those who want to build their sites on the back of the popular WordPress content management system (CMS), but don't want to bother with a lot of the back-end stuff (such as updating the apps and CMS, and enabling automatic backups). The web hosting company provides the necessary technical support.

In cloud hosting, you pay for only as much resources you use but is at present more expensive than shared web hosting. In fact, most big web hosting companies now provide cloud-based web hosting for all types of plans.

Small businesses and bloggers can run their websites for a long time on a cloud-based shared web hosting plan - and being on the cloud, they can ask for bigger resources if they need in future. This is the plan you should look for.

There can be a catch in any type of shared web hosting plan that you choose: some web hosts start charging exorbitantly once you upgrade; some companies are not discreet and allow shady websites that can hurt the entire server; some have too many websites sharing the server, so when the traffic in some of them spikes, other sites are badly affected. Therefore, look for reviews of shared web hosting plans offered by different companies. Again, big companies with high reputation are less likely to be indiscreet.

Server location is a very important factor in web hosting.

In olden times, you could buy hosting plans from only one location where the server of the web host was located. Now most big guys have servers in many countries, at least one in each continent (except Antarctica, of course) - and they direct visitors to their country's office. 

For example, if you are not located in the US and click on a link on a web host's advertisement on this blog itself, it might take you straight to the web host's site meant for your country, and the rates might be better than what are seen on the ad. 

Ideally, your web servers should be located near your audience so that the website/ blog opens fast. As site speed is a positive SEO signal, this also helps in search engine optimization of the website. In most cases, it is also more cost-effective to buy from a server in your location; it might also give you better customer service and in your native language. 

But be doubly sure that the local guys are as good as the main web hosting company. Check online forums and review sites, make local inquiries and also call them up. Why I emphasize this is because I have seen many reports that some hosts have unreliable franchisees or inefficient local units outside their headquarters.

Most bloggers are served well by Wordpress CMS; frills may be of no use.  

It is quite likely that your website/ blog is created on Wordpress. If so, you do not need a website builder if the web host is giving you the website builder at a cost. Small businesses and all bloggers will seldom need a website builder that has features beyond what Wordpress CMS can give - and it is free. 

If your website has been built on a website creation software, e.g. Wix, Weebly or Joomla CMS, check whether the web hosting company gives you the required hand-holding support. It should not happen that you buy the plan and then realize that hosting the website/ blog is creating issues and there is nobody in the company to give the type of technical support you need. 

Site uptime and web security are important things to consider in web hosting. 

All web hosting companies boast of a fantastic uptime, but many websites/ blogs suffer because the web hosting companies do not abide by their commetments on uptime

One reason I support big web hosting companies is website uptime. Though there are reports of poor service when their servers sometimes go down or get slow, they still are the most reliable lot. Small, local, web hosts might have a problem here.  

Security of the website is very important. That includes server security, secure connections, security certification, and data backup and recovery. Your website/ blog is at serious risk if the web hosting company does not care for these. Some web hosting companies do not provide security certification (HTTPS certificate to the website/ blog) or charge for that; some do not back up your website/ blog in lower-end shared web hosting plans. Do not compromise on your website's security even if you have to pay a higher sum for this. 

Do your own analysis before you buy the web hosting service.

Do not go by the fancy 'star' ratings or '4.5 out of 5' type ratings given by review sites. They usually do it for a monetary consideration. Even comments on review sites and forums may be manipulated. That is a reason I suggested above that you choose from one of the top web hosting companies operating in your country and then go for the best plan that suits your requirements and your budget. When analyzing your requirements, think of 5 years from now.

All the best!