The choice of best hosting is very often underestimated. Yet making a comparison, hosting is important for your website as well as the choice of apartment for our home.
It is important that the apartment is sufficiently large for our needs, that it has a sufficiently secure armored door, that it is not in a too crowded and noisy building, that it has some minimum comforts such as heating (better if autonomous).
According to our budget we could decide at the beginning not to worry about crowding or living in a house with old and inefficient heating and for the first periods it can really be the best choice, with a series of necessary precautions.
Cheap hosting or Professional hosting
Very often customers ask what is changing between the different commercial offers.
“This hosting offers unlimited space so it’s better than the other one that only offers 10 GB”
“This hosting uses a control panel that lets you install 8000 applications in one click”
“Why do I have to pay for additional traffic if this company offers unlimited for a few dollars?”
So let’s try to debunk some myths with the help of 3 useful tips …
1. Stay away from those who offer unlimited web space
If a company is offering unlimited web space for a few tens of dollars stay away. The easiest way to be on the market with such aggressive pricing policies is to sacrifice quality from resources. In particular, the first one sacrificed could be the hard disk.
Hard disks much more capacious and much slower just to exploit the customer’s ignorance.
How many GB of space does my website really need?
A WordPress site could take up from 0.5 GB to a maximum of 5 GB if you use lots of images and start writing hundreds of articles at the most.
A Laravel site may instead need 1 GB to 10 GB depending on the complexity.
2. What characteristics should the ideal hosting for my project have?
The simplest answer is that it depends on the project. But there are some minimal features without which you should choose other providers …
1) SSD disks (on a performance blog we could not put it as the first point? We have been experimenting with NVMe SSD for some months but there are no commercial hosting yet ready to offer it)
2) PHP7 (PHP7 is about 30% faster than PHP 5.6; unfortunately it is still used very little!)
3) HTTPS / HTTP2 / Gzip (we talked in depth about the advantages of using HTTP2 if your current or future hosting has not yet foreseen its implementation is out of the market. Change it!)
4) 24/7 Technical Support (technical support is essential to be active also for problem resolution and not only for taking charge 24h-24h. The web is full of negative experiences with Aruba where failures at 5pm on Friday were managed the following Monday or the first following working day. Is it really worth to save a few tens of dollars?)
5) Transparency (the location of the Datacenter, the characteristics of the servers, the available resources and any limits must be clearly specified)
There are other features that are advisable but not mandatory. They are a plus. But it depends on your budget (and CDN and Premium DNS could also be managed outside your provider) …
1) Nginx (Apache is the most widespread but the use of Nginx either alone or in combination makes it possible to significantly increase performance, it is no coincidence that sites with greater traffic use Nginx)
2) DNS Premium (in our hosting we use DNSMadeEasy as an Anycast DNS service with many access points in the world)
3) Decent Time To First Byte
4) CDN (the CDN can be very important to download the main server and serve the resources optimally, even the CDN is important to be configurable in HTTPS and to support HTTP2
5) Separate Email Hosting (managing emails on separate and optimized servers is a good plus point as any problems on the email side will not affect your site’s IP reputation
6) Dedicated IP (possibility to request a dedicated IP at an additional cost)
3. Do you really need a Control Panel? (CPanel, Plesk …)
Control panels are a very simple way to independently manage your web space. Unfortunately, they occupy many resources and very often, they are used very little compared to the real potential.
Do you really need a control panel to install one thousand applications?
How many functions do you really need for a commercial control panel?
Ultimately the question is: are you looking for a web space to experiment or do business?
PhpMyAdmin, a FileManager (for those who really need it), access to Logs and Backups should be enough for any need and can be easily installed and configured even without the use of a commercial control panel like Plesk or Cpanel.
Bonus: if those who follow your business necessarily need a commercial control panel to manage your site, ask yourself a few questions!
What are the minimum characteristics of a Professional Hosting?
If you try to stay in an ideal quality / price ratio if your project is not just a hobby but has the ambition to become a business, you need to look at least at least …
- No unlimited resources (potentially sacrificing quality)
- SSD disks (if you really care about performance)
- PHP7 (30% faster than PHP 5.6)
- HTTPS and HTTP2 (as above)
- 24/7 Technical Support (resolution of problems even on weekends)
In addition, the ideal would also be to have the following features …
- Nginx (increase performance!)
- DNS Premium (we reduce the time needed to know the IP of the host server)
- CDN (available separately so not a real requirement)
- No Control Panel (unless you really need it!)