In order to make accessible your website, you will have to put it online at a host.
You will have to choose a host and a suitable accommodation, which is not always obvious given the multitude of offers on the market.
This article is part of our guide to how to create a website, it aims to help you see more clearly and understand what are the most important criteria for choosing your web host.
Which accommodation formula to choose?
Before we look at the choice of the host in itself, let us take a moment to look at the accommodation options.
When you arrive for the first time on the site of a host is usually panic: you are offered to choose from a multitude of different formulas all expressed with technical terms you are not familiar: shared hosting, dedicated servers, cheap windows VPS hosting, cloud hosting, etc.
Let’s try to see a little more clearly.
Very schematically, your website will be hosted on one or more servers that will have given technical performance: namely a disk space and a quantity of memory.
In this context, the first question to ask is that of the mode of accommodation, here you have the choice between:
Shared hosting : several websites, including yours, share the same server
VPS hosting : windows and linux VPS hosting
Dedicated hosting : you have a server for yourself
The cloud : you have several dedicated servers and can increase or decrease their number as you see fit
As you can imagine, the cost of hosting and the performance of your website will vary greatly depending on the type of accommodation.
The hosting will cost you between 1 and 20 € per month in shared hosting, between 100 and 500 € per month for a budget dedicated servers, and up to several thousand euros in the cloud.
So how to choose? This in fact quite simple. Ask yourself the following 2 questions:
How much will I invest each month in my website in advertising, content creation, and SEO?
Can I afford to be offline from time to time?
Internet is a very effective customer acquisition channel but not free. Without a minimum investment, it is unlikely that your website attracts a lot of traffic.
We therefore recommend that you first consider the cost of hosting, and the performance associated with it, as an integral part of your web marketing budget. This reasoning is valid if you start from scratch if you already have a certain volume of traffic it is better to reason with thousands of unique visitors per month.
You can always change if necessary
If you are afraid of deceiving yourself of accommodation, know that it is generally very easy to switch to a more efficient formula if needed. It is however often more difficult to go back – the hosts behave a little like the telephone operators on this point. It is therefore better to go on a less efficient basic formula and change when the level of activity justifies it than the opposite.
How to choose my host?
The choice in hosting is quite wide, here are some important criteria to consider before you decide:
- The service
- The location of the data centers
- The specialisation
The reliability of the host is measured by the availability of the server, expressed as a percentage of the total rental period.
For example, if you rent a server for a month of 30 days, the total number of hours of rent is 30d x 24h = 720h. So if the host plans to perform 1 hour of maintenance on the server, the server availability will be (720h – 1h maintenance) / 720h = 99.86%.
The host will guarantee a percentage of availability in the lease, it is expressed in number of 9:
99% (or two 9, bad),
99.9% (or three 9, ok),
99.99% (or four 9s, good).
Here check that you are offered at least three 9 (99.9%) and that these are guaranteed in the contract.
The after-sales service of your host is key because it’s him you depend on to put your site back online in case of problems on the server.
The points to check here are the opening hours of the hotline, its cost, and the responsiveness in case of emergency.
There are usually no big differences from one web host to the other about the supported technologies, so make sure you get at least:
50 GB of disk space
10 GB of MySQL database storage
some email addresses
Secure FTP access to import files
PHP and WordPress support
Another point of detail on the technology, when creating your account at the host you will probably ask you to choose between a cheap Linux VPS and Windows, it may seem surprising if you are a PC user, but in 99% of cases, Linux will be better suited (and cheaper). If in doubt ask the agency that is responsible for creating your website.
The location of the data centers
The location of the data centers (centers hosting the servers) is important for two reasons:
the protection of personal data and loading speed.
We will not go into detail about the protection of personal data. Just be aware that European data protection laws are very strict, and if you collect data about your visitors, it helps a lot if your servers are located in Europe.
Regarding the loading speed, the problem is quite simple: the data moves at a fixed speed depending on the mode of transport (speed of light for the fiber for example), so mechanically more your servers are away from the user’s computer and the longer the connection is slow. There is no need to fix too much on the site, just make sure that the servers are located in France or in a neighboring country.
The last criterion according to us is the specialty of the host. Some hosts are cloud specialists and are doing just that, others stand out rather on shared and dedicated hosting.
Our advice here is to choose your host based on its specialization to take full advantage of its expertise.
Google Cloud has arrived more recently on the market, their offer also looks interesting. It may be the platform that offers the best support for Java.
So, we hope that this article has allowed you to better understand how to choose the host of your website, do not hesitate to share your reactions in the comments.