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There are literally thousands of companies who offer website hosting. So, how do you narrow these down to a shortlist? And how do you then decide on the best one?

The first step is to establish your hosting needs. This will also help to narrow down the choices because many providers will not be able to offer you what you need. You need to be as clear as possible about what you need to ensure your website runs smoothly, efficiently, and reliably. 

Key things to consider here include:

  • Expected website traffic
  • Content type (videos/images/text)
  • Your budget
  • The level of customer service/technical assistance that you feel you might need
  • The amount of control you want
  • Levels of in-house expertise, knowledge, capability, and capacity

It’s worth pointing out here that if you’re using a self hosted platform like Shopify, then you will not even need to consider hosting as Shopify will run all this for you and include it in their subscription price.

Types of Hosting Services

Shopify aside, let’s look at the different types of hosting services out there. The main types of hosting available are: shared, dedicated, VPS, cloud, colocation, and managed:

  • A shared hosting service means that the server space and resources, such as the CPU and RAM are shared by multiple websites.
  • A dedicated hosting service is where an entire server is dedicated to a single website. This gives full root and admin access and exclusive use of the CPU, RAM and key resources.
  • A Virtual Private Server (VPS) gives each website its own virtual space and resources within the same physical server, which is still ‘shared’.
  • Cloud hosting involves using resources that are spread across several servers/computers. This is a scalable and flexible solution and is essentially a ‘pay as you use’ arrangement.
  • Colocation hosting involves renting space (racks or cabinets) in a private colocation centre, which provides the power, IP addresses, bandwidth, and cooling systems that a server needs.
  • Managed hosting means that as well as hosting the website, the provider also deals with other technical aspects including hardware/software setup, maintenance, updating, and monitoring.

Deciding which of the above best suits your needs will help you significantly reduce the potential number of providers in your shortlist. The next thing to look at – as with choosing your perfect digital marketing agency – is their reliability and performance.

Reliability and Performance

Reliability is crucial for all businesses that sell or promote their products / services online. You need customers to be able to access your site as and when they need to. So when choosing a hosting company, make sure that they offer an uptime guarantee of at least 99.9% (the industry standard).

As well as this, fast loading speeds are important because a ‘slow’ website is one of the main things that puts prospective customers off. It’s also really bad for your SEO. So, ensure that the hosting company can guarantee fast loading speeds and sufficient bandwidth.


Cybercrime is on the rise and more and more SMBs are being targeted, as they often have lax security in place but have enough funds to make a worthwhile target to would-be hackers. Hosting services are no exception to this. 

All online businesses must treat security as a priority to ensure customer information is protected so you should look for hosting companies who offer advanced security features such as SSL certificates, as well as regular backups/mirroring, malware scanning, and cyberthreat protection. 


As your business grows, you will need a website that can support this. You may need more content on the site, more bandwidth, or have to deal with higher volumes of traffic (or all three). So, look for a hosting provider that offers scalable solutions. They should be able to upgrade your bandwidth and storage without affecting website performance or causing downtime. The less scalable your hosting company, then the more likely you are to have to switch as your business grows (and that can be a real pain, believe me). 

Customer and Technical Support

Because any issues with your website can impact on customers, it’s key to be able to resolve issues ASAP and with minimal downtime. To facilitate this, you should look for a hosting provider that has customer and technical support available 24/7/365 and via multiple channels. These should include, at a minimum, phone, live chat, email and an online support platform with a ticketing system. 

Pricing and Transparency

In looking at prices, it is very easy to be swayed by what appears to be incredibly good value. Appearances can, however, be deceiving. When choosing a hosting company, you should look at what is included in the price and what isn’t. As well as hosting, you will likely also need domain registration, SSL certificates, site migration, and other extras. 

Reputation and Social Proof

There are many ‘new’ hosting companies out there, but it is arguably worth avoiding these as you have no idea how good (or bad) they are. Choosing a more experienced and well-established company will give you some reassurance that they won’t go bust or just vanish without a trace.

Consult user reviews and testimonials to get real user experiences. Choose a company that is highly regarded and that has provided excellent service and reliability to its customers. 

At Superb Digital, we have a lot of experience in dealing with hosting companies and managing migrations for our clients. If this is something you’re thinking about doing, then why not book a call and we can discuss your plans.