A critical component you need to consider is which web host provider is best for your situation.

Though providers may all pretend to be the same, not every host is suitable for your particular needs and expectations. By thoroughly investigating the various kinds of hosts, you can avoid making critical mistakes that could damage your career.

The various types of web hosting

There are at least a handful of different web hosts. Understanding which kind you need and the features each has to offer will point you in a particular direction.

Take a look at six of the most common:

Shared hosting.
Dedicated hosting.
Reseller hosting.
VPS hosting.
Cloud hosting.
Clustered hosting.

Determining your criteria and needs

Creative professionals--and web designers in particular--are in an interesting position when it comes to choosing a web host and plan. That's because clients will inevitably look at your website and judge your work based on what they see.

Although the host itself will probably not have any effect on your ability to build a visually compelling site, it can certainly affect the security and download speed. With that in mind, here are some of the factors and criteria you'll want to evaluate:

Cost.
Compatibility.
Reliability.

Questions to ask

While most reputable hosting providers have thorough websites that list all their features and points of differentiation, it's never a bad idea to insist on a talk or live chat with a representative to get a more in-depth look at the situation.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

Make a sound decision

If it's not yet clear, you'll need to make two decisions. First, you'll need to select a type of hosting plan.

In most cases, freelance designers will probably want to go with either shared, reseller, or cloud hosting. If you run a large company with lots of website traffic, however, a dedicated hosting plan may suit you best.

Second, you'll need to select the hosting provider. There are a number of reputable hosts on the web, as well as some not-so-great ones. Do your research and find out which host is best for the plan you're looking to purchase.

By making sure you understand the differences between the various types of hosting, homing in on your specific needs and criteria, and asking the right questions, you can make an educated decision on which provider to go with.

It would be a shame to choose the wrong one, so take your time and try not to rush the process.

Published on: Mar 24, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.