This post is part of the weekly Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.
Hi Daniel, I have one not so quick but for me an essential question for you. I hope you will have time to help me.
I would like to start a solid website, with the prospect of monetizing it and making it reputable after a required period of steady growth. As I understand hosting is an important part in that process I would like to choose the right host. However, I have no idea which hosting company to opt for, neither do I know which of the packages to select.
Let’s suppose money is not an issue, which hosting company and package should I choose as a starting point? And can I easily upgrade my hosting package when I start having a lot of visitors?
The first thing you need to avoid are the oversellers. Who are those? They are basically the companies that offer miraculous server specs (e.g., huge disk space and monthly bandwitdh) while charging a modest monthly price.
Here is one example: Dreamhost is currently offering unlimited disk space and bandwidth, all for a $5.95 monthly.
Beginners could see this offer and think “Wow, that is sure a good value for money, let me buy it right now.”
This is a big mistake for two reasons.
First of all, disk space and bandwidth are NOT important factors for choosing a web host. Why? Because even the smaller plans out there will hold your website, however big it might be. Daily Blog Tips gets around 300,000 monthly page views and burns only 50G of monthly bandwidth, and uses only 800M of disk space.
For a starting blog or website, 10G of monthly bandwidth and 500M of disk space would already be enough.
The second reason of that mistake is the fact that when companies offer such huge specs for low prices, they inevitably need to pack hundreds, if not thousands of websites on a single server. That is, your website will be hosted on a server with hundreds of others, and it will also share the server resources (CPU and RAM mainly) with those.
The result? Slow loading times, frequent downtimes, and problems that might come from the stupid behavior of other users on your server.
If you want to avoid oversellers, therefore, choose a company that offers reasonable specs for a reasonable price.
I use Doreo to host my sites (disclaimer: they are also my sponsor). The starter plan there in fact will offer you 60G of bandwidth and 2G of disk space. Those specs are much smaller than some other companies out there, but that is what you got do if you want to keep the number of websites per server low, and maintain the service quality high.
Before signing up with any hosting company, though, it is also a good idea to check for user reviews online, and to test their customer support service. So once you find a company that a) is not an overseller, b) has good user reviews on the web and c) has good customer support, you are ready to sign-up.
Good luck with it.