How to Choose The Best Web Hosting for Your Online Store: The 5-Point Checklist

By Bhagwad Park April 6, 2020

Today I am privileged to invite Bhagwad Park to talk about tips you can use to choose the best web hosting for online store.

 In this comprehensive guide Bhagwad will cover:

  • Why paying for a site builder is a terrible investment
  • Getting a host with good customer support
  • Why you should not pay for SSL
  • Why you should not fall for unrealistically cheap hosting plans
  • Choosing a web host that has automatic backups and restoration

So if you want your small online store to be successful, you’ll love Bhagwad guide.

Bhagwad take it away!

Thanks Bill!

I remember how green I was when I first started web hosting.

I had just decided to host my own site instead of using a free platform like Blogspot or WordPress and was so excited! Having my own domain name and managing everything myself seemed so professional – and it was.

This was way back in 2008 when I purchased my first shared hosting at Bluehost. Since then I’ve learned a LOT, as you can imagine.

Technology has changed dramatically as well. SSL certificates were unheard of for example.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to fight off spam, how to optimize my site for speed, learned PHP coding, played around with multiple CDNs, developed some WordPress plugins of my own, and more.

So experience is something I have in spades.

In this article, I’ll share 5 tips with you that I wish I had known when I first started hosting.

Hopefully, they’ll help you avoid some of the mistakes I made when kickstarting my website.

So here goes!

1. Don’t Use a Website Builder Like Wix

It’s often more useful to be told what to avoid than what to do, because making a mistake is more costly than not being perfectly optimized.

In the context of web hosting, I would say that choosing a paid site builder to host your website is the biggest mistake you can make in the long run – and one that you can’t correct later on without a great deal of trouble.

I understand the appeal of site builders – the most prominent being Wix. They allow you to get started with your website without knowing anything about HTML, coding, and without needing to deal with the hassles of web hosting, worrying about CPU usage, plugin compatibility, and a lot more.

With a site builder, you can get started designing your site almost immediately – in fact, you can just choose from a bunch of templates, and the software will do everything for you.

Sounds perfect right?

But don’t be fooled.

The biggest disadvantage of site builders is that they never allow you to leave their platform once you finish building your site.

So while you may be happy with the outcome today, what if you change your mind tomorrow?

Maybe you want to migrate to a new technology.

Maybe Wix raises their prices and you can’t afford to keep up anymore?

What if the company gets shut down, or taken over by a corporation that you don’t want to do business with?

What if Wix themselves ban you for some reason?

Going with a site builder for your site is like building a house that you can never sell, and for which you need to keep paying rent for the rest of your life.

It’s a terrible investment of time and effort. And the bigger your site gets, the more effort you invest into it, the more you get locked down.

So take my advice and stay away from site builders!

2. Get Hosting with Good Customer Support

Customer support with web hosting is like insurance. You think you don’t need it, and you often moan about its cost.

But the one time when disaster strikes, you thank the gods for your foresight!

Picture this scenario.

You wake up one morning groggy-eyed and see that your site is down. It’s like a jolt of electricity and panic sets in!

You see that it’s some weird error with the SSL certificate configuration, and you have no idea why. In situations like this, having web hosting with solid customer support can be a lifesaver.

I’ll be frank – good support isn’t cheap. It’s easily the least scalable of all the services a web host provides.

The cheapest web hosts skimp hard on expertise, reliability, and the number of support reps per thousand customers.

Which is why it’s worth paying a little bit extra. One big favorite is NameHero hosting which has the most personalized support team I’ve seen.

But they’re not the only one. SiteGround has excellent customer service as well, as do more expensive web hosts like Liquid Web, Kinsta, and RoseHosting.

It’s a fine line to walk. You want cost-effective hosting, but you also need excellent customer service.

That’s why I recommend NameHero. In my opinion, they provide the best mix of quality and value when it comes to shared hosting – even more than SiteGround.

3. Don’t Pay for SSL

Even if you’re not setting up an online store, you need an SSL certificate (HTTPS) in order for your viewers to trust you.

Even if you don’t collect any personalized information from your visitors, you need SSL.

And without it, browsers might display a warning to your customers, and search engines will penalize you in their rankings. In today’s world, SSL is absolutely necessary.

But that doesn’t mean you need to pay for it. Most reputable hosts these days will give you an HTTPS certificate for free.

That includes NameHero as mentioned above. But avoid web hosts such as GoDaddy like the plague.

These unscrupulous hosts practically extort you into paying for SSL – in the case of GoDaddy, starting at $79/year! Given that GoDaddy is one of the largest hosting companies on the planet, it’s nothing short of scandalous that they charge their customers for SSL.

Don’t be a sucker – make sure that you get SSL for free as part of your web hosting package.

4. Don’t Be Lured in With Super Cheap Web Hosting

I understand that you’re just starting out and want to save money. But don’t fall for unrealistically cheap hosting plans.

If someone is offering to host your website for pennies a month, just know that there’s a catch. There is always a catch.

 Even if you ignore the impossibility of providing any kind of decent customer support at such low prices, web hosting itself costs hard cash. And 50 cents a month ain’t paying for it!

If you do see a host offering hosting at ludicrously low prices, there will be severe compromises.

For example:

  • Limit of 1 MySQL database
  • Limit of 1 GB storage space
  • Massive overselling of hosting space
  • Tiny bandwidth allowances

If you get suckered into buying web hosting this cheap, you can be sure of paying the true price eventually.

When your traffic picks up, your site will slow down, and you’ll be forced into upgrading to a more expensive plan, that might not be best for you.

Not to mention that your customers will be angry with the slow loading times. You yourself might waste hours trying to “optimize” your site to load quickly, when the root cause is bad hosting – nothing more!

There are even web hosts that promise to host your site for free! After all this, I suppose I don’t need to tell you not to fall for that pitch, right?

5. Buy Hosting with Automatic Backups and Restores

Sooner or later, your site will go down.

It can be for any number of reasons.

A malfunctioning plugin, a site update gone wrong, hacking, data corruption…the possibilities are endless.

It doesn’t matter how well you run your site, or how careful you are. One day it will get messed up, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What you can do, is to be prepared. And that means choosing a web host that has automatic backups and restorations.

Once again, it’s like insurance – you don’t need it most of the time, but when you do, it’s a lifesaver.

Cheap web hosts tend to have severe restrictions on backups, or they lack the functionality entirely.

Some might even make you pay for restorations or limit the number of times you can restore your site.

Avoid all this. Make sure that your web host not only takes free backups of your site, but also that it allows you to restore those backups without needing to raise a ticket or paying a fee.

The aforementioned web host NameHero has this functionality, for example. They recently implemented the JetBackup cPanel plugin that automates the entire restoration process.

In addition, NameHero also allows you to create “snapshots” of your website before you make any major changes, and you can restore these snapshots within 7-days.

It doesn’t matter which web host you choose – just make sure you can revert your site back to what it was a few days ago. Without this, you’re just begging for disaster!

Editor’s note: From my own experience, SiteGround offers the best platform for hosting an eCommerce business.

Their additional layer of security, customer support are a boon for growing an online store.

If you want to scale your online store, then SiteGround is the right web host.

Over to You

If I had to condense a lot of the above advice into a single line, it would be this “Look at the total cost of ownership of hosting” instead of just the upfront price.

Good customer support, automatic backups, breathing room for your site to grow…these are just a few things that will save you money and time in the long run.

I’m not saying that you need to go out and buy some crazy expensive web hosting plan. J

ust don’t fall for the very cheapest one you can find.

That’s it from me.

I hope your web hosting journey works out and your online store meets with the success it deserves.

Just remember to take that insurance!

I hope this guide showed you how to choose the best web hosting for online store.

Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

Are you going to start using the above tips?

Or do you have additional tips to share?.

Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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Bhagwad Park

Bhagwad Park is a freelance writer and owner of the website WP-Tweaks. He’s an expert on WordPress and web hosting and has been writing about them since 2009.

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