Latest Hosting Posts
Your business website's design is all that you could have hoped for, and you're ready to take the site live as soon as you can find the right web hosting service.
Because that hosting service will in many ways control the online fate of your business, you should spend at least as much time in finding the right host as you did in getting your site designed.
But what to look for?
The competing ads of web hosting services are confusing and seem to tout the same features. What features are most important? What criteria can you use to distinguish one service from another?
If, like many business folks, you know little to nothing about web hosting services, you'll want to seek out reviews of these competing services to see which would be the best fit for your company's unique needs. Here are some suggestions on what to look for.
Price and Payment Plans
Although you need to find a host with rates that fit within your budgetary means, this is one area of your business where it's unwise to go cheap. As hackneyed as the expression is, it's true that you get what you pay for. Trying to cut corners when finding a hosting service probably will end up costing you more in the long run.
Many hosting services offer discounted monthly rates if you pay in advance for several months or a year. While these cheaper rates are an attractive feature and may be one you'll want to take advantage of in the future, stick with a monthly payment plan until you feel reasonably certain that the hosting service you've selected is definitely the right one for you.
There's a lot to be said for good customer service.
If you don't have time to spend listening to elevator music while waiting to talk to someone about problems with your site, look for hosts that get high marks from reviewers for customer -- mostly technical -- service. Once you've narrowed your search down to a handful of candidates, check out the time it actually takes to get a live technical service spokesperson on the line.
Few things are as frustrating to your customers as being unable to call up a website when they want to see what the day's bargains may be or to get some online help with a customer service issue.
Look for hosting services that have a solid reputation for reliability or uptime. In your negotiations with the hosting service you select, try to insert a contract provision that mandates a penalty on the host if downtime exceeds a specific benchmark. If you agree to a contract without some such penalty clause, the hosting service has no incentive to keep its servers running 100 percent of the time. Actually, an uptime guarantee of anything less than 99 percent is unacceptable.
Ease of Modification, Migration
If you're like most small businesses, you don't have your own in-house IT department and probably had to contract with an outside website designer to get a site designed to meet your needs.
Hopefully, your designer made provisions in the website design to allow you to make additions and changes as needed. You want a hosting service that allows you to make such changes with ease so that the site is kept timely and up to date.
If you're short on website savvy, look for hosting services that provide website owners with an easy-to-use interface for making changes on their websites.
Additionally, find a hosting service that allows you to pretty much pick up your site intact and move it to another host if you become dissatisfied with the level of service you're receiving.
Steer clear of hosts that cannot guarantee that you'll be able to migrate your site to another service with ease.
Many hosting services advertise unlimited disk space, which may sound intriguing but basically is an empty promise.
All storage space, no matter how vast, is finite, so steer clear of services that claim otherwise. However, pick a service plan that gives your site plenty of room to grow. It's a sure bet that almost before your site goes public, you'll be thinking of features you wish you'd included. Be prepared to pay for the disk space you need to allow room for growth.
Look for hosting services with a good reputation for backup.
Daily or even intraday backups of data ensure that you'll be able to quickly rebound from a catastrophic loss of data.
If you're working on the site, making changes or additions, and accidentally select and delete a huge block of type, you want to be able to get the missing pieces restored with a minimum of downtime. A host that makes regular backups will have your site back up and running in no time.
Look Out for Extras
Some hosting services offer package plans that look mighty attractive at first glance.
However, dig a little deeper to ensure that you won't get nickel-and-dimed to death by charges for every little change or add-on you decide to make. Read the fine print to be sure that all the features you want in a hosting agreement are covered.
Otherwise, you may find that the attractive package plan price is being bloated by add-on charges for such basic services as email accounts or the addition of a blog.