How to find the best Hosting Provider

Every day new projects appear on the world wide web. Personal websites or blogs, company websites, new online shops – they all have one thing in common: they require a suitable hosting solution.

While the private sector, as well as small and medium-sized companies, have been using external resources for quite some time, the trend towards outsourcing server infrastructure is also evident in larger companies. This is because self-hosting can be quite complex and many hosts have quite attractive offers that are hard to refuse. Both newcomers and experts face a tough decision: web space, own server, or the flexible cloud solution? Which web hosting package is best suited to the software being used? And what does the respective host actually do to ensure the availability and security of the data?

Which criteria is relevant when choosing a host

Before deciding which host offers the best package, you should first determine exactly what you need from the hosting solution. Not every provider offers the full range of features and services, but this is usually not necessary: the hosting provider that’s right for you depends on the specific requirements and conditions of your web project. By comparing your requirements with what the different providers are offering, you increase your chances of finding the perfect solution. Here, we provide you with the most important criteria for choosing the right web hosting package – which can vary greatly depending on your web project.

Hardware resources and software support

Every web project uses hardware and software, which is why you first need to determine which resources and features you need. This could be sufficient web space, or a complete server environment, which additionally has enough memory and processor power. You can choose between traditional physical servers and flexible virtual servers. The latter plays an increasingly important role thanks to the freedom that specific hardware allows, which enables excellent scalability and high availability for the web project. You should also check whether the provider or the chosen web hosting package restricts some of the resources when certain traffic numbers or the band width is exceeded.

Before selecting a hosting provider, you should also know which software it supports. For example, are you free to choose which operating system you want to use, or does the host set it as a requirement? The same question applies to programming languages, web server software, and database management systems, as well as all other programs that you use for web development and content management. In the meantime, many hosts offer to install popular software, such as content management systems, with just one click. If a service like this is offered, you can assume that the respective tools and programs work as expected. This will save the time and effort of installation and set-up.

Resource management and administration possibilities

If you don’t want to host a small blog or simple static website, but want to put an ambitious project online with potential for growth, then factors such as resource scalability play an important role. With some packages, you can control the hardware performance that you need, whereas other packages require you to move to a new server in the event of an extreme increase in traffic. The decisive factor here is whether you decide on dedicated or shared hosting: with the first option, the entire booked resources are available only to you, but when it comes to shared hosting, you share the resources with other users.

The different forms of hosting are also associated with different administrative requirements and possibilities. In general, the more effort you save on setting up and maintaining the server, the less administrative rights you will normally have. For example, if you need root access, make sure the provider and the package offer it.

Possibilities with domain registration and transfer

The domain belonging to the web project can, but does not have to be registered with the selected web host. It is important that the web host enables easy domain relocation, especially if you plan to change your own web presence to another host. You should also look into this before you decide on the provider, to avoid any bad surprises. If you require multiple domains, the number of domains being offered is obviously also important. The amount varies according to the provider and the chosen package.

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Support services and costs

Fast-reacting and readily available support (e-mail, telephone, or live chat) is crucial not only for beginners, but also for any users that have chosen managed server solutions, or comparable hosting variants. This is because when problems arise and cannot be rectified due to a lack of expertise or limited rights, a long waiting period can mean a significant loss of traffic or revenue – especially at peak times or even during season business. How experienced a provider is often plays an important role, since established hosts have already set up a comprehensive support team that is well-trained and organised. Some web hosting services also offer the possibility of booking a personal service employee who is then the contact person in case of problems.

It makes sense to compare prices and contract conditions when hosting in the UK. A provider should always disclose the set-up fees as well as the monthly costs and any additional ones that may occur since this is the only way to get an idea of the approximate overall costs. The contract period and cancellation period must also be clearly regulated.

Technical resources and safety concepts

For many modern web projects, it’s crucial that all project information is available at all times, is quickly transferable, as well as totally secure. In this case, the quality of the technology used by the vendor, as well as the security measures taken, are probably the most important criteria for analysis. To ensure the rapid transfer of data, hosts should have an excellent internet connection and rely on current, high-performance hardware (e.g. quick-access SSD hard disks) in its data centres. Some web hosting services allow selected content delivery networks (CDN) for a small fee. They assist the web server when delivering static content and large amounts of data, reducing the loading time of your web project.

While the technical performance affects the user experience and how a search engine evaluates the website, secure hosting is primarily for the protection of all relevant data. The more sensitive the hosted data and the more important it is for it to be permanently available, the more crucial it is for the provider to offer a comprehensive concept. Possible security measures include:

  • Regular updates and backups
  • Georedundance through separate data centres
  • Redundant power supply
  • TLS/SSL data encryption
  • Intrusion detection systems

Why secure hosting is so important

The digitalisation of the economy has led to profound changes in the structure of enterprises. Services and goods are distributed through digital channels, production processes are automated, and entire work areas are now being moved to the cloud. It’s apparent that the new situation offers first-class advantages for all those involved.

Simplifying the company’s structure has various advantages for customers and consumers: payment processes are conveniently handled via online banking. Christmas gifts can be ordered from the comfort of your own home via online shopping, and personal music, video, or photo collections don’t need to be displayed in cabinets and on shelves anymore, since they can be kept by a trustworthy online storage service – and can be accessed anywhere and at any time.

Cybercrime is becoming more of a problem as digital networking increases: companies are quickly targeted by hackers whose aim is to steal sensitive user data, such as passwords, addresses, bank details, which they then sell or publish – if comprehensive protective measures don’t stop them in their tracks. Even attacks which 'only' aim to paralyse web projects, infect them with spam or malware, are not uncommon. While the company network, including all components, can be secured on its own with the right know-how, the security of outsourced content, such as web presence, customer databases, project files…etc. is the sole responsibility of the selected hosting provider. You need a secure web host as a partner to ensure the protection of all sensitive data that is beyond your own area of responsibility.

As secure as can be!

Secure hosting is the key to building trust with your customers or users and contributes to your web project’s success. IONOS’s security campaign takes this into account; whether you’re creating a simple website with IONOS MyWebsite or hosting complex web applications on the IONOS cloud servers, you can count on the following protection and security standards with our hosting solutions:

  • 256-bit SSL encryption: data transfer of sites stored with IONOS as well as external sites can be protected with Symantec SSL encryption. This way, you gain the trust of your customers and at the same time can offer faster loading times and a better search engine ranking thanks to HTTP/2.
  • Hacker protection: external attacks on your web project are registered and defused using DDoS protection even before you’ve caught wind of it yourself.
  • 360 Gbit/s optical fiber link: our data centres operate with an external connection of over 360 Gbit/s, which enables excellent access times to your website or web application.
  • Georedundance: all shared hosting packages run parallel in two separate data centres. If one component or an entire data centre fails, the other one jumps in.
  • USV power supply: an emergency diesel generator unit, together with lead gel batteries, provides an uninterrupted power supply that is also available in the event of a temporary power failure.
  • Daily backups: copies of your data are made daily so that if you accidentally delete data, you can restore it at any time thanks to the backups.