Choosing the right web host for your site might not be as exciting as picking color schemes, design templates, graphics and images, but it an essential step on the road to success.

Your website’s speed, availability, usability and security all depend on you choosing well. No pressure but, getting it wrong can cause a lot of headaches down the line. And with web hosting plans ranging from free to thousands of dollars every month, any mistakes could also end up costing you a pretty penny.

In this guide, I’ll give you the benefit of my years of experience reviewing and analyzing the best and the worst web hosts in the market, so you can pick a service that will complement your website and help your online business grow.

Understanding web hosts

Before we get into the ins and outs of what different web hosts offer, you need to understand exactly what it is these companies do and how they work.

And getting a handle on web hosting means asking some pretty strange questions like ‘where does a website exist when no one’s using it?’ and ‘how do people get a website’s data when they click a link?’. The answers are more intuitive than you might think.

All data needs to be stored somewhere. Your computer files are stored on its hard disc. When that’s full, you probably store the extra on an external hard drive or in the cloud via companies like Dropbox. When you want your data, you have to go into that storage device and get it and you can only do that when it’s connected to your computer.

The same principle applies to your website, except its data is stored in servers and they are owned b