When you are first looking to build a website, all web hosting can look the same. A web host is who stores your site so that visitors can access it. As long as the server stays up, what’s the difference? There actually can be quite a lot of difference. A lot of them depend on price and performance. However, it is also crucial to pay attention to other web hosting features.
We will mostly be going over features in regards to managed hosting. The reason is that non-managed web hosting does not really have many (if any) features. The best hint is in the name. If your host is not providing managed hosting, then they are pretty much only giving your website a spot on their servers. That is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you are new to the game, the features of managed hosting are a huge help.
If you are curious to learn more about the features of managed hosting, use the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Important Web Hosting Features for Speed and Reliability
There are a wide variety of features. These include everything just shy of bells and whistles. However, a lot of them help the hosted site perform better. They are focused on the basics of keeping your site online and performing consistently well.
Sometimes, you will see a host advertising for occasional speed reports. Likely, they will team up with a third party that will run a scheduled report every month or so. This can be a valuable feature because they can alert you to issues and show you where they are coming from. Also, more often than not, they will give you a breakdown of some options to help correct the issue.
Some hosts offer CDN (Content Delivery Network) services. A CDN is a network of servers spread all over the world to help web traffic run smoothly, quickly, and safely. They also work to cache specific content. These qualities help make your website run faster and naturally reduces the amount of bandwidth your site would need otherwise.
Assets. We are talking about images, videos, files, scripts, or anything else you want on your website. Want your logo at the top? That will need to be stored so your website can use it. Your blog needs them. They also take up space. Your website needs to be able to refer to and pull the objects you tell it to. Aside from trying to embed everything from existing sites (do not do this), you need to make sure you have enough storage space for your website.
The amount of storage you need depends on what your website does. Are you showing off a large portfolio of your 4k photography? Make sure to know how much space you will need for all of those images. If you are looking to run a blog with the occasional “medium” sized image, then it is less of a priority. And in the latter case, if you expand enough to need more space, you can likely upgrade your package.
In one way or another, it happens to all of us. Maybe a freak storm knocked something important online. Perhaps you wanted to see what your website looked like as one, long webpage. Or maybe even your cat went nuts on your keyboard and there’s no telling what might have happened. Regardless, you are stuck wishing you had that original website back. That’s where backups come in.
Backups are essential. You always want a failsafe in place something goes wrong. Not all backups are equal, however. Pay attention to how each host defines the details. How often does it create a backup? How long is each backup available for? If your host does a monthly backup, that might cost you a lot of content.
Miscellaneous Features to Look for in Web Hosting
Many features go beyond performance. There is a lot of extra functionality you can get from some managed hosts. These are the features that will not affect how quickly your site loads or anything like that. However, they are things that can be essential to your website.
Keep in mind, these are qualities you are likely to find when you look for managed hosting. Unmanaged hosting is focused on getting your site online and leaving everything else to you. And it should go without saying that the only features you get with self-hosting are the ones you give yourself. That is a choice best avoided unless you really know what you are doing and do it very well.
FTP and SFTP
If you commonly have files you need to transfer and manage, then you are looking for a host that offers FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Website hosting is not inherently prepared to allow an FTP connection. Considering how valuable it is, it is safe to assume that your host will list this as a feature if they can accommodate it.
If security is a concern at all, make sure your host offers SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) options instead. This is what you are looking for when you need encryption to help keep your file transfers more secure.
If your site will handle any kind of eCommerce at all, keep an eye out for hosts offering free SSL. This certification is an extra layer of security that is designed to keep payment information safe. It is required to have this if you plan on accepting payments online. Typically, you have to pay a yearly fee to renew your SSL. Many hosts see the value in this and will offer it as part of their hosting packages. If you can get it for free, why not?
Dashboards and development environments
Managing your website and your hosting can be complicated. It helps when you have a host that offers a user-friendly dashboard to help simplify the process. A great dashboard will give you access to data about your sites, let you manage your websites, and let you make any changes you need to your account.
Another feature worth looking into is development environments. It is intimidating to know that any changes you make to your site go live immediately. And sometimes, even the idea of previewing one change before publishing does not give you a clear picture of what you want to do. Instead, you can make these changes to a dev environment and run with it. It exists for you to test different things, and gives you peace of mind when looking at different themes and layouts for your site.
Managed WordPress features
When building a site with WordPress, using a managed WordPress host gives you access to many more kinds of features. These hosts are able to communicate with your WordPress site a little more. This way, you can get features like the monitoring of your plugins, uptime, and WordPress updates.
Otherwise, you need to always be on your toes when WordPress updates. This includes making sure all of your plugins are still supported under the new update. Without monitoring, things like that can be easily overlooked. And going too long without updating or checking your plugins can cause a lot of problems with your site.
The Best Web Hosting Features
At the end of the day, what features of website hosting plans are the best? In general, any feature that increases the performance of your site is worth your time. Keep an eye out to make sure you are not being overcharged for any performance boosts that may be overkill. Other than that, the best miscellaneous features really depend on what your site needs.
For your blog or WordPress site, your best choice in web hosting is with a managed WordPress host. They offer the best speed and reliability for your site without giving you a large bill. And when it comes to WordPress hosting, nobody does it better than WP Super Host. We have the fast speeds and suite of great features that your site needs. Not only that, we even offer free SSL certificates, daily backups, access to backups for 30 days, speed reports, CDN, FTP access, and WordPress monitoring. Check out our packages and features now to get started.
Hosting features are often forgotten. That is a shame because many of these features go a long way to enhancing your website. Learn what your site personally needs before considering hosts. Then, pay attention to what each host offers.
Even with dropping a lot of money, it is likely that you will not get access to all of the web hosting features you like. That is why it is important to pay attention to your needs and satisfy those. That is when you know you picked the right web host. Whether you need detailed monitoring, a dev environment, or free SSL certificates, make sure you get what you need.