Picking the right host service for your website means looking for the right type of hosting package as well as making sure you select a company that has good customer service / technical support, a good backup system to backup your files, and malware scanning to ensure your site is free of viruses.

Secure Hosting

Many sites nowadays are implementing secure hosting through the use of TLS (Transport Layer Security protocol) and an SSL certificate. This encrypts the data sent back and forth between the user’s computer and the server. Instead of HTTP, all URL’s for the site start with “HTTPS“. TLS is a newer version of the standard SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology.

Most government sites, educational sites, nonprofits, and large institutions are now switching over to secure hosting and the use of an SSL certificate – it is more secure,  and it allows you to take advantage of some newer internet technologies including HTTP/2 Enabled Servers and Brotli compression. Secure hosting through the use of an SSL certificate is also now a ranking signal for Google.

Since 2018, HTTPS is used more often by web users than the original non-secure HTTP, primarily to keep user communications, identities, and web browsing safe and secure.

In addition, the newest of the HTTP protocols – HTTP/2 – adds new features (compression, multiplexing, prioritization) in order to reduce latency and increase performance and security. HTTP/2 is being adopted by a growing number of websites, and most browsers will only implement support for HTTP/2 over TLS. So, in order to run HTTP/2, your site must use an SSL certificate and HTTPS.

Solid State Drives

Many of the top hosts now offer Solid State Drive technology for data stored on their servers. Solid State Drives drastically improves the performance of your site.

HTTP/2 Enabled Servers

The new HTTP/2 protocol will dramatically improve your site’s performance by increasing the speed of loading pages. HTTP/2 requires an encrypted connection to function so you will also need to install an SSL certificate (which most top hosting companies include in their hosting packages).

Brotli Compression

Brotli is a new lossless data compression developed by Google. Compared to the traditional gzip compression, Brotli will reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed, and it will load content up to 30% faster.

Brotli is HTTPS only. Browsers will only accept the encoding on a site that uses HTTPS. Another reason why sites are switching over to HTTPS.

Automated Backups

Look for a host that offers regular daily or even hourly backups of your site. Some hosts only offer a limited once a month backup. You want a host service that offers you ongoing scheduled backups made at least once a day.

Malware Scanning

Any quality web host will also offer malware scanning to ensure that your site is free of malware and any other malicious code.

Different Types of Hosting Packages

Most of the major web hosting companies will offer four types of packages to choose from: shared hosting, dedicated hosting, VPS hosting, and managed host services. We will review each package to determine which one is best suited for your site.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is suitable for individuals, start ups and small companies who have less traffic and require less bandwidth. With this type of hosting, you share a server with several other websites.

The benefits of such a package is it is the most affordable option and involves little effort maintaining the server since everything is done for you. The drawback is you are limited in terms of the amount of server resources and often at peak times performance can drop.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting packages usually use shared servers, but the servers are dedicated, configured, and optimized for sites that are solely running WordPress. In addition, some host companies offer premium WordPress packages that usually offer more server resources.

Managed WordPress Hosting is usually more expensive and usually has limits on the number of sites you can setup under one account. If you are creating an e-commerce site that will be processing orders online, managed hosting will ensure you have sufficient security.

Managed WordPress hosting will give you a secure, optimized server without the headaches of regular admin tasks. If you are running a WordPress site and are willing to pay a bit more than shared hosting, managed hosting is probably the best choice for you.

VPS Hosting

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. With a VPS hosting package, a single server is sectioned off into separate “virtual” servers, each with their own operating system instance. It is similar to shared hosting in that there is still multiple customers using one server, however there are significantly less people per server.

A drawback is some VPS hosting packages will require you to perform some of the server maintenance and optimization tasks. VPS allows for tons of storage space and bandwidth. VPS costs slightly more than shared hosting, but the performance is also much better than shared hosting. If you don’t have someone who can perform server admin tasks then look for a fully managed VPS package.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is exactly as it sounds, an entire server is dedicated to hosting only your site. You don’t have to share resources with any other sites, and you can control and customize the server. Dedicated hosting gives you tons of storage space and bandwidth as well as the ability to customize the server.

However, Dedicated Hosting packages are usually more expensive than Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting packages. In addition, Dedicated Hosting usually requires you to perform all server admin tasks. Fully managed dedicated hosting is available with some hosting companies but it usually involves much higher monthly fees.

Best Hosting Option

With many VPS and Dedicated packages you are required to customize, optimize and maintain the server. Even on shared hosting someone might be handling all your server admin but it’s completely up to you to take care of your own site management.

For example, if you have a self-managed WordPress site or an e-commerce site some of the things you’ll be responsible for are:

• Installing and updating your site’s CMS software
• Creating site backups
• Blocking spam and brute force attacks to server
• Securing the server to protect any customer related info

With Managed WordPress Hosting, the host provider will usually do all of the tasks listed above. The host will also optimize the server for speed and performance.