Every website needs a web host – a company that provides the servers that store and power a website. Here are four simple steps that can help you find the right web host 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 website that 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 tools and infrastructure that specialise in particular types of websites or functionality. One that works for somebody else might not be the right fit for you, so make sure that you find a web host that really meets your particular needs.
Web hosting is often part of the package with website builders.
2. Consider your website-building and bundling options
Are you building your own website, or looking to use a DIY website builder like Wix or Squarespace? Consider whether or not you want your services bundled.
Web hosting and website builder combined: many web-building services also offer hosting. This allows you to build your website and get hosting as part of the package. Examples of website builders that also offer web hosting 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 hosting separate from website builder: you can opt for a web host that doesn't include web building if you're building an entirely custom website or using a specific website 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 lets you 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'll need, it's time to research your web host and website builder options. You can read our post on How to choose a website builder or you can do some searching on your own. Make a shortlist of your top options.
Think about your current and future site needs.
4. Compare key factors
Specific things to look for in a web host and website builder will vary depending on your needs, so use the list below to figure out what matters most to you.
- Price of sign-up and renewal: in addition to the cost of sign-up, 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 that you choose meets all of your site requirements, and also check for things you may want or need in the future, such as:
- 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, customise and update the site as you'd like?
- 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 website builder that meet your needs, you'll be one step closer to creating your website. If you're ready to get started, find the perfect domain name at domains.google.