One of the most important decisions you’d have to make when creating your own website is choosing your web hosting provider.
A web host is essentially the service that connects your site to the internet so you need to ensure that your hosting company can support your business needs and wouldn’t create unnecessary hurdles to your website’s success.
But with the thousands, if not millions of web hosting companies out there, how do you decide which one to choose?
This post provides the 6 factors for you to look at and compare to ensure that you’re making an informed decision and end up with a provider whose service is tailored to your specific needs.
Most of us will look at price first when choosing a hosting provider. However, this shouldn’t be your most important consideration. Remember the saying, “You get what you pay for?” This is especially true with web hosting. Things like non-outsourced support and quality hardware cost money, and a hosting company that charges $1.99 per month likely won’t offer these features. Take a closer look at the features that each host provides first, and THEN compare prices.
Areas of Specialization
Not all web hosts are right for all kinds of customers. A web hosting provider may offer services that are perfect for customers with small blogs but inappropriate for a business, or vice versa. So look into a company’s specialty or area of expertise before you buy, and go with one that understands your particular needs as a customer.
Think about the platform that you are using and go with the company that focuses on it. If you’re using WordPress as your platform, for example, you might want to consider using Bluehost, one of the few hosting companies actually recommended by WordPress. If you want a VPS or dedicated server, you should consider companies that have made providing those their specialty area.
Whether you are a new webmaster or a more experienced digital business owner, you’ll want a reliable customer support team behind your web hosting plan. When your site, for some unknown reason, goes down, can you call up and get a real, live person on the phone? How soon can you get access to the required support?
The web host should provide 24×7 technical support. They need to have live chat, ticket and phone support to make it easier for you to reach them when necessary.
Read online reviews carefully so that you can see if the company has a good reputation for customer support. Do not settle for sites that only provide support via forum posts or email as you will likely have to wait hours to days for a response.
The reliability of the company that provides your web hosting plan is crucial. Your web host should be operating on a powerful server and stable network connections with at least a 99.5% and above up-time score. Anything below 99% is unacceptable. Also, make sure the server has multiple backup locations (mirrored servers) so that if one goes down, they have another already online and ready to go.
The security of your website is something you cannot afford to ignore if your online reputation and the safety of your customers and visitors matter to you. Without a secure server, your customers may be hesitant to transmit personal and financial information through your website.
The provider should make sure that all server Operating Systems are loaded, hardened and managed to ensure maximum web security. Encryption capabilities and the ability to set up a dedicated secure server for your company are security features you should also look for in your web hosting plan.
Specs and Limitations
Find out if you can easily park your company’s other domain names on your account and make sure your web host will let you host multiple domains. It’s also important to be aware of any storage and bandwidth limitations to ensure that your plan has enough space for your website to operate effectively. Make sure that you can increase the space provided for your web hosting plan if necessary since bandwidth restrictions can hinder the ability of website visitors to download or upload data.