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The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. –Bill Gates

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Hosting matters. Whether you are using your website as a platform for your business or a place to voice your opinions, where you choose to host your content can have a significant impact on how your site performs. Choosing the wrong hosting company can lead to slower loading times and site outages, which can impact your rankings, increase your bounce rates, and reduce the number of people who can actually see what your website has to offer.

That is why so many people are researching questions like “How do you choose a web hosting provider?”, “What are the most important factors to consider in a hosting company?” and probably most importantly “What is the best web hosting company?”. Given all the factors that go into making a hosting decision, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

But there is no need to panic – we’ve done the research for you.

The PFA team is a group of technical experts that have been working online for over 20 years. We’ve run our own servers and data centers, built successful online businesses, and been involved in almost every facet of Internet technology.

We’ve actually used the registrars, hosting providers, website builders, and virtual private servers reviews. We’ve dealt with these companies’ support services – chat, email, and phone – and know which ones are great and which ones are terrible. So you can benefit from our experience and find the perfect place to host your website.

Registrars

The first step in creating a presence on the Internet is registering a domain name, and the place to purchase a domain name is through a domain registrar. Registrars are accredited by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), and are charged with handling the reservation of domain names, long with assigning IP addresses for those names. Many registrars can offer registration of the common top level domains (TLD’s) like .com, .net, .org, etc. But some country-specific and vanity TLD’s are only available from certain registrars.

Pricing varies from one registrar to another, so if your budget is low it may be worth shopping around. Another consideration is domain privacy – the service that hides your contact info to protect your privacy. Some registrars offer free domain privacy, while others want you to pay extra to conceal your contact information from public view.

Hosting

Once you own a domain name, the next step is to think about hosting it. A website host maintains servers that allow you to put the website files for your site online, and point your domain at it. Many people use the same company for both registrar and hosting, but that is not required and is often a poor choice. Your best bet is to evaluate the strengths of each type of company, and choose the one for each task with the best features that fit within your budget.

Whether you are looking for web hosting sites for WordPress or some other content management system, one consideration to think about when it comes to hosting is your secure certificate (SSL). Secure certificates ensure visitors to your site send and receive information through an encrypted channel, ensuring privacy. Some hosting companies require you to purchase SSL certificates to install on your website, while make it easy to use free SSL certificates from companies like Let’s Encrypt.

Another factor to consider with hosting is the database. WordPress and other content management systems utilize a database on the back end, and in most cases that database is MySql. MySql hosting therefore plays a large part in how well a website performs.

Website Builders

If you plan on creating your own website, you might want to think about using a website builder to simplify the process. Coding a site from scratch using html is beyond the skills of most people, so using a tool that allows you to graphically design your site and writes the code for you can be a real benefit. There are trade-offs with any design tool, and some website builders are better than others, so researching the best website builder for your needs is a smart move to make.

Virtual Private Servers

A virtual private server (or VPS) is service sold by many hosting companies. A VPS is setup to run its own operating system, and as the customer you get admin access. It is distinct from other virtual machines, so you can install any software that will run on it. In many ways it is similar to having your own stand-alone server on the Internet, but since it is virtual (defined in software) the hosting company can run multiple VPS machines on the same hardware. And since it is software defined, it can easily be created, configured, and copied if necessary.

One benefit of a VPS is it is much less expensive than having your own dedicated hardware. The downside is that performance can be worse if it shares resources with many other VPS machines. That is why it is important to research how different hosting companies build and maintain their VPS equipment, to ensure you get the most bang for your money.