How to choose a web host in four steps
Every website needs a web host – a company that provides the servers that store and power your site. Hosting is typically offered through your domain registrar, and you may have a few options to sort through. Before you make a selection, we've broken down four simple steps that can help you determine which web host is right for you:
1. Figure out your website needs
What will you be doing with your website? The right web host will support the platforms or building tools that you need to create the site you want, as well as provide your site with adequate storage, speed and reliability. For example, do you need to process online payments? Are you writing a blog or creating a visual gallery? Some web hosts offer web-building tools and infrastructure that specialise in particular types of websites or functions. One that works for somebody else may not be the right fit for you.
Web hosting is often part of the package with website builders.
2. Consider your web-building and bundling options
Are you building your own site, or looking to use a DIY web-builder? There are several options for how you want your services bundled.
- Web host and builder combined: Many web-building services also offer hosting. This allows you to build your own website and get hosting as part of the package. Examples of web hosts that also include builders include Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify and Blogger. Google Domains partners with all of these combined web hosts and builders. Read more in our post: How to choose a web builder.
- Web host separate from builder: You can opt for a web host that doesn't include web building if you're building your own website or using a specific builder that doesn't include hosting, such as WordPress. (You can use the WordPress tool to publish your site to your own host, or use their own hosting service, Bluehost.) Google Domains allows you to work with WordPress by Bluehost or choose a third-party web hosting provider.
3. Do some research
Once you know what you need for your website and what services you're looking for, it's time to research your web host and builder options. There are some in-depth articles that can help you find and compare various hosts and builders (take a look at webhostingsecretsrevealed, thesitewizard, webdesign and our post on how to choose a web builder) or you can do some searching on your own. Make a short list of your top options.
Think about your site needs now and in the future.
4. Compare key factors
Specific things to look for in a web host and site builder will vary depending on your needs, so use the list below to figure out what matters most to you.
- Price of signup and renewal: In addition to the cost of signup, make sure that you check for renewal rates and skim the fine print for any hidden fees or obligations.
- Technical needs: Make sure that the web host and site builder you select meets all of your site requirements, and also check for things that you may want or need in the future, such as:
- Number of domains you can host
- Server space, speed and reliability
- Bandwidth and usage limits
- Management settings and ease of use: Think about who will be doing the bulk of the site management – such as updating site content – you or a web professional?
- Support services: How important is it that someone is available 24/7? Are you comfortable with email, phone and/or chat support?
- Customisation: Will you be able to create and update the site that you want?
- Ease of setup: How fast can you get your new site online?
- Cancellation policy: Is there any red tape or fine print that looks iffy?
Once you've found a web host and builder that meets your needs, you'll be one step closer to creating your website. If you're ready to get started, get a great domain name and plenty of hosting options from Google Domains.