It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of jumping into building a website.

I get caught up in the excitement myself. But, before you can build it, you need to have a place for your website to live. It’s web hosting that addresses where it will reside.

Unless you have a fairly good budget to invest in the hardware, backup processes (redundancies) and tech support to keep your website up and running on a local server or computer, you’re going to need to explore web hosting companies and the plans they offer.

Honestly, you can probably talk to ten different people and get ten different answers about the best web hosting. That goes for me, too. I don’t want to muddy the waters and go into my favorite web host providers.  It really depends on what you need and what works best for you.

Google “best web hosting” and see how many different results come up and how the rankings and reviews vary. Instead, I’ll share what I look for when shopping for web hosting and why it matters. Then you can jump in and research web hosting plans and find the best solution for your website.

Five Web Hosting Points to Ponder

hosting is paid annually or monthly with renewable terms.

Many web hosting companies offer discounts if you pay for a year or two in advance. If you’re starting small, you may want to ask the web hosting company how easy it is for you to upgrade your plan. This way if you pay for a year and find yourself outgrowing what you started with, you can upgrade, as needed.

Web hosting companies offer page builders, but there ’s a trade off.

Page builders are template driven and can work for some people. However, they have limitations on how the site can be customized. Most importantly, if you use a page builder for a website, you may need to rebuild your entire website if you need to move it to another server.

Sometimes web hosting companies offer a great introductory price.

The thing to watch out for is how much the price will go up when you renew your hosting. Sometimes the price can increase, even double, on renewal. Just make sure you read all of the fine print.

You will need to upgrade your hosting at some point.

Just like computers and cellphones, web hosting needs to be upgraded periodically. I’ve had clients that had hosting plans that were 5 years old. As you can imagine, their website took forever to load or had server timeouts. Just be aware that you will need to upgrade because old hosting can take a site down and you could lose everything.

Plans that offer unlimited options are not always unlimited.

Web hosting services can offer unlimited domains, unlimited storage, unlimited email, etc., but just like cellphone plans, unlimited can mean different things. Many hosting companies limit the number of inodes, or the number of files, you can have on the server. This includes files, emails, and anything that is stored on the server. So, if you have an email account that has 5,000 emails on the server, that’s 5,000 inodes being used by just one email account. I’ve found that inode limits aren’t always clearly listed on web host plan comparisons.

If you’re talking to a sales rep about a web hosting plan, ask about inode limits. Believe me, inode numbers can go up fast.