Web Hosting Guide
Choosing the right web hosting company is not easy. To ensure the success of your business venture it is important that your company’s web presence is above par. While no one can underplay the importance of content, it is also important that the website is up and available 24/7. For this to occur, you need a dependable web host for your business. Some of the more common factors verified before inking the contract with the hosting services company are:
- Physical location of the service provider.
- Availability of space.
- Whether support has been outsourced or not.
But knowing the answers for these is just not enough. In this article, the different criteria to look out for in a web hosting partner are listed for you:
1. Specific Requirements
The hosting service provider should be able to meet your business needs, such as the disk space, bandwidth, dedicated IP, etc., that you require. If yours is a heavy traffic website, then the host should have a high configured server with high speed Internet to ensure the website availability and performance. Most websites would require about 20 MB or so of web space. Hence even if a service provider promises 100 GB, this should not influence your choice.
The hosting company you choose should be able to provide you with 24/7 help desk support. Most companies provide email support, but this is not enough. If the company is providing telephone support, then you can be sure that the time taken for issue resolution will be much less. Check the response times of the host for both tech and customer support. This should be on the top of your checklist for choosing the hosting partner.
3. Line of Business
Before signing the contract, know the company’s service areas. If they are into too many services, then steer clear of them. Their focus might not be too much into hosting or into holding on to you as a client.
Verify whether the partner has the flexibility of different server types, multiple languages, and other key features. Today you might not be working on PHP, but later on you might; hence the host needs to be able to support you irrespective of the language, platform, etc.
The web hosting company should communicate with the customers proactively and keep them informed about the different maintenance protocols being executed, new services being added, etc.
6. Ease of Use
The web hosting service provider should provide the client with a simple to use, intuitive control panel to manage the different tasks. Without the control panel, you will be completely dependent on tech support even for simple tasks.
Ensure that you are not paying valuable dollars for the host’s brand. The price should be in line with the service provided and should not be based on the host’s brand image alone. Another aspect to look out for here is the payment plans. Usual web hosts have monthly, quarterly, or annual payment plans with the annual plan giving the highest discount; but opting for an annual plan may result in you being locked in with the host for a minimum period of one year, which might not be a great idea.
Check with other companies and clients on the service levels delivered by the web host. As in the case of any product, the customer is the best spokesman for the company.
The web host should be able to guarantee high uptime and should be fast. Ideally, it is safe to go with those companies that promise an uptime of 99.5% or even more. Watch out for the penalty clauses in case they fall below this uptime. You should be able to gain some refund for the downtime.
If you are planning on having an ecommerce or ebusiness site, then it is absolutely vital that the hosting partner has SSL. This might cost a little bit more, but it is essential for maintaining the security of crucial data involved when paying with a card on the Internet.
11. Add on features
The host should be able to provide you with email addresses on your own domain, with the mail being forwarded to your email address or to a mailbox on the hosting account. Features such as autoresponder should also be possible.
12. Web Server
Maybe as a non-technical person you might feel the webserver and the operating system used does not matter. But in practical situations, they matter. Depending on the type of applications and programs that you plan on using, you can either go in for the Linux or Windows server. When it comes to Apache Web Server, you can leverage on the many features available without having to depend on the web host.
Most of the hosting service providers do not have their own web servers. They usually take them on lease from another hosting provider. Do not go to these resellers. It is always beneficial to go to the original hosting services company so as to ensure that you can take advantage of all the support and features they have available.
At the end of the day it is important not to base your judgment on the numbers shared alone. Know your particular requirements, and go in for the hosting service provider that meets your needs. The provider should be well known by reputation, having a long list of satisfied customers sharing their experiences. Your service provider should be able to provide you with a scalable, reliable, fast hosting environment, where you do not need to depend on the partner tech team for your everyday needs. The idea is to be independent of the tech support.