Whether your business is just starting out online or have been making waves in the digital marketplace for some time, you would have utilised web hosting services in one form or another.
After all, web hosts form the basis of the entire internet providing the physical server infrastructure to hold websites, cloud services, mobile applications and everything you see online.
Even if you don’t realise it, your website platform may already be providing integrated web hosting, but if you are trying to host on your own, then here are some considerations for web hosting in Singapore to keep in mind.
The simplest answer is because without web hosting you can’t get online, the question you should be asking is why should I get my own web hosting instead of relying on services which provide integrated/shared hosting?
Firstly, while you using platforms or services and sharing their web hosting may seem like a convenient and cheap option, the first you give up is control.
Control is important to any business because when something goes wrong and it's out of your control… It’s still your problem, except you can’t do anything about it! Hence, it is much better to take control and preempt problems instead of relying on integrated hosting services whose stability or security could be hit and negatively impact your business.
Secondly, it could be costing you much more than you realise.
Web hosting services can actually be very cheap but using providers which provide you hosting integrated with their platforms may be costing you a premium integrated into the service fees despite providing less bandwidth (or maximum speed), storage space or other features.
Lastly, with the rise of public scrutiny on data privacy and security, every business is expected to double down on their digital security measures. This is the promise of the best web hosting platforms of today, providing businesses with one of the best data protection measures in the industry to date.
Failure to invest in a website hosting service with security features could cost your brand severely in the event of any data breach, hence why the importance of having a secure reliable web hosting service cannot be understated.
In the local context, you will have to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). What’s more, if you serve European visitors… you will have to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is much stricter as well.
There are seven main factors you have to consider:
Let’s break them down one by one:
Server speed and bandwidth is basically the maximum speed and amount of traffic which your website is able to serve concurrently. You can think of it like a highway, having a greater bandwidth is like having more lanes for traffic to flow through and speed is basically the speed limit on the highway.
Server uptime refers to the amount of time which the server keeps running, this is usually reflected as a percentage with industry minimum being 99.9% guaranteed uptime. That’s approximately 45 minutes of downtime every month, which most reputable hosts will offer.
This is important as it determines how likely your website will suffer downtime and for how long which reflects poorly on your brand!
Our advice is to go for the top hosts which offer 99.99% guaranteed uptime (less than 5 minutes of downtime every month) ensuring your website is always available for your customers.
Storage is simply how much space you have on the server to keep video, pictures, customer data and so on.
Most hosts provide more than sufficient storage on even their basic plans for normal website operations but do note if you are running an e-commerce or platform, the storage requirements are much higher.
Fourth, security is actually not just the digital security of the web hosting solution but also the physical security of the actual server infrastructure. After all, while you can engage additional firewall services, there’s very little you can do to strengthen the physical security of the servers holding your company’s data...
Complexity is basically how hard it is to set-up, use and maintain the web hosting service. This is mitigated by either the solution providing user-friendly interfaces, guided processes or just hiring partners to deal with it.
Support determines the level of help that the providers give you when things go wrong, and this is crucial as it could be the difference which determines whether your site goes down for 5 minutes and 5 hours.
Pricing is a no-brainer which is basically how much you pay. Just beware though, paying more doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting better in web hosting solutions.
This is because servers are heavily dependent on economies of scale and large players may be able to provide you much cheaper prices than smaller ones.
As a bonus factor to consider, do think about scalability or how much it will cost to expand your server to accommodate your business growth in the future. This is a common pitfall as migrating your web host is often troublesome and paying a lower fee in the beginning may cost you a lot more in the long run if you get locked in.
In no order of popularity or merit, we present the following ten web hosts for your consideration.
Siteground is an affordable fully managed web hosting solution with Singapore-based servers (powered by Google Cloud) starting from just US$6.99 / month. They are known for strong 24/7 support which combined with the ease of setup makes them a great solution for anyone new to web hosting.
Their services also play especially well with Wordpress, having a custom plugin which helps to further optimise your site loading speed.
A2 Hosting is similar to Siteground but can be even more affordable if you have limited speed / traffic requirements with their rates starting from just US$2.99 / month. They also boast a 24/7 support with a strong knowledge base. They also play with Wordpress well, having specialised shared or managed hosting for Wordpress sites.
One unique selling point of their solution is an anytime money-back guarantee which we have yet to see on other solutions.
Exabytes SG boasts a wide range of services right on their site, but personally we find them pricer for the features provided.
Having less storage space, bandwidths and even uptime assurance compared to other providers despite their rates starting from US$5.99 / month, we recommend Exabytes if you prefer convenience and having an all-in service provider.
This Lithuanian web host which also has Singapore-based servers can be said to be one of the most affordable hosting services with the amount of value they pack even into the entry plans starting from US$0.99 / month.
We highly recommend the upgrade to the US$2.89 / month plan as you get a free domain, free SSL certificate (assuring visitors that your site is secure), Cloudflare protection (firewall) and weekly backups.
They also have a 24/7 support and strong integration with Wordpress. If you haven’t realised by now most of these are really standard features for the web hosting industry.
Overall, we are comfortable recommending Hostinger for anyone starting a new website with minimal technical knowledge especially for the budget-conscious.
Vodien is a prominent Singaporean-based web hosting service provider, unfortunately our personal experience with them is that the support is lacking with responses being very slow which is also supported by other reviews on them.
That said, they possess the standard features of all the other web hosts, uptime guarantee, security assurance, backups and ease of installation.
Unfortunately, they are also more expensive overall with their comparable business web hosting services starting from SG$28 / month.
WP Engine stands out as the only Wordpress-focused hosting service which offers integrated services beyond the standard web hosting solutions focused on page speed,scale and security.
They also provide site building and management tools, strong ecosystem integration and support being specialised in Wordpress. Integrated page analytics also make things easy for anyone setting up on Wordpress.
However, with our experience as developers, all the services and integrations they offer can be set up cheaply (or even free) with a little expertise which brings us to their hefty price tag starting from US$25 / month.
All in all, they are a great option if you value having all the features and support without requiring any hassle of setup.
Now we are getting to the hosting providers that the other web hosting companies hide away from the general public.
Why? It’s because most of the other hosting companies are actually using servers from these big boys and reselling it to the general public!
That’s not to say they are cheating customers though as due to the scale by which they can purchase the server capacities, they gain massive economies of scale which they can then turn into discounts for the average consumer.
However, as with any value chain, skipping the reseller often does bring you greater value for money if you have sufficient demand!
First up, we have Amazon Web Services (AWS) named as the leader in Cloud services (which includes web hosting) for the tenth consecutive year in running by Gartner.
In our personal experience, it’s fair to crown them with the undisputed title of the most reliable servers (highest uptime guarantee), best value for money in terms of features to cost ratio, let’s not even bother talking about scalability and flexibility with the wide-ranging services they provide.
The best part? They offer a free tier for hosting for twelve months with the equivalent features of most starting services we discussed in the list above.
The caveat though is that you’ll have to navigate the complexity which is catered towards developers or at the very least the tech-savvy, at least they provide great 24/7 support, guides and knowledge bases.
Next up, Azure or Microsoft’s cloud computing services which also includes hosting services.
It serves many huge Fortune 500 companies, has a huge team of security experts ensuring their servers remain protected and has the same 12 months free offer like AWS with a bonus US$200 credit to spend on other paid services.
Unless you are a large company or have specialised needs, I wouldn’t suggest Azure given its complexity and focus on serving large clients. Furthermore, reviews on Azure are lackluster compared to AWS on their speeds and reliability.
However, if you are a developer looking to work on cloud-based enterprise systems or mobile apps, then Azure may be worth a look!
Google Cloud is Google’s own version of cloud computing services and obviously includes web hosting as well. With Google backing it, you can be sure of their hosting’s speed, reliability and security.
With a plethora of service offerings, you can be sure that whatever you need can be found on Google Cloud alongside an extensive knowledge base, more user-friendly interfaces (compared to AWS) and great 24/7 support.
They are also extremely competitive in pricing, offering always free services (up to a monthly limit) which covers the basic web hosting offerings in addition to US$300 of credit for paid services.
That said, their guaranteed uptime is 99.95% which is still slightly short of AWS’ 99.99% guarantee. Overall, we would rank them right alongside AWS but will note that working with Google Cloud will also likely entail some degree of complexity.
Frankly, there is no best web hosting solution, only what is the most ideal for your needs given that every solution has differing complexity and features.
That said, our professional recommendation will be for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the industry gold standard, while there’s greater complexity (which you can outsource), their pristine reputation, highest overall standards and extremely affordable rates makes it worthwhile in the long run.
Alternatively, you can also check out Hostinger which is great as a fuss-free affordable solution.
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