There were just four web hosts in the infancy of the internet in 1969. There are now 1.2 billion registered host names worldwide! But with industry growth comes enticing new deals and cheaper packages – so, how do you know which web hosting plan is right for you?

A bad web host can lead to slow/ lagging websites, more crashes, and limited web space. Not only is this bad for your site’s performance, but 1 in 4 internet users claimed they’d exit a site which didn’t load within 3 seconds, and 46% said they would never revisit it again after.

As web hosting experts, we've come up with a list of top-tips to help those looking to buy web space and kickstart their business.

Top tips for choosing the right web host

1. Make sure you’re using secure web hosting

One of the most important steps in building a website, is security. It's one of the top priorities and ensures the cyber security of both your business’ and customers’ information. The simplest way to do this is by making sure your website is SSL certified (secure sockets layer).

There are many benefits to improving website protection. One of the most important is providing a secure connection that encrypts personal data and payment information. And you know that little padlock that appears next to the URL of most sites? This is from your SSL certificate and tells visitors that you're providing that secure connection and keeping their data safe and secure.

2. Page loading and speed testing matters

Website speed is everything. In fact, it’s estimated that slow-loading pages cost the US economy over $500 million each year, with a single-second delay reducing conversions by an astounding 7%. Incredibly, as many as 40% of all consumers would abandon a website if it took longer than three seconds to load.

Put yourself in the best possible position to satisfy customer demand by considering the benefits of varying bandwidths. Or if you’re setting up a site for a bigger business and you’re expecting a lot of traffic, perhaps unlimited bandwidth is your best bet. This would give you wholly unrestricted connectivity and a speedy site no matter the traffic or on-page content.

3. Combine web hosting and domain registration

There are numerous supporting steps involved in establishing a website, from coming up with and registering the perfect domain name to setting up a purpose-built business email. You can simplify the process though, by keeping your eye out for a web hosting platform that does it all. This includes domain name registration or transfers, email hosting and even free SSL certificates as part of their packages.

This makes it more straightforward to create your website, and also streamlines the admin processes and means you can manage each working element more easily.

4. Don’t just go for the cheapest web hosting package

Your website is your own unique digital space for you to publish information about your brand and engage with consumers and everyone’s requirements are slightly different.

For instance, 34,800 Brits recently Google-searched for "host a free website". On the other hand,  2,040 people were looking to develop their ecommerce offering, with "best web hosting for small business" being one of the most searched for web hosting terms in Google.

So, it’s important to make sure your web hosting package supports your needs exactly.

Additionally, consider the scalability of your website, and whether there’s room for growth as your brand develops in visibility and reach. You might not need too many features just yet, but be careful not to limit yourself before you even get started.

5. Consider a specialist web hosting company

Creating a website can be a time-consuming process, and one which often requires organisation, patience, and skill. And, with an average of 1.8 billion worldwide websites online at any one time, it’s important to get it right or you run the risk of falling behind.

Fortunately, you can effortlessly skip over many hurdles that come with building  your site by choosing a specialist web hosting company. With countless hosting platforms to pick from, make sure to find one that also offers round the clock support, for everything from everyday queries to server concerns.

Understanding how to get the most out of your website and web hosting package can make all the difference, when it comes to handling customers, creating on-site content, and managing growth.