Things To Consider Before You Choose A Web Hosting Service
Importance of Uninterrupted Website Operation
Downtime is just not acceptable for your website. This is because your website is the 24/7 business card for your clients across the globe. If your website goes down, the business suffers and you lose money. It’s that simple. Choosing the correct web hosting service provider is therefore a task of critical importance, something you should consider thoroughly and actively.
When doing so, do not forget the old saying – you only get what you pay for. After carefully considering the cost of features, the peculiar needs of your website, and of course your budget, you will need a fine balancing act to get your act right and choose the most appropriate web hosting service.
Things to Consider Before You Choose a Web Hosting Service
As is always the case, the devil is in the detail – meaning, you will have to do your due diligence. No exceptions there. This is because most of the companies will be offering packages that are identical or almost identical. Navigating through this maze of technical details means you will have to sit down with a fine tooth comb.
Therefore, the philosophy for this activity is simple: Read the fine print and strike a balance between cost and convenience. Here are some points you need to consider when selecting a web hosting service provider:
- Compatibility: Different web hosts will come with diverse areas of expertise. Some service providers may be as different as cheese is from chalk. Look for the specialties of the hosting company. Then, check which one is the most suitable for your requirements. Low cost packages will be useless if you want to have an e-commerce site or one on which you post data heavy videos or images.
- Price: Although price will usually be the first point to ponder over, do not make it the most important one. There is no point in choosing an economical web hosting solution if it does not offer reliability, or charges hidden costs that make the final expenses way more than what you had expected. Compare prices with features before selecting the web service provider.
Of particular note are the charges for registration, renewal, maintenance, and upgrade. Many hosts offer attractive discounts to get you to sign up but double or triple the charges for renewal. A surprise like this will really hit you hard unless you are prepared to choose another host and go through all the hassles of migrating to avail his signup discounts.
- Reliability: Never choose a host with less than 99% annual uptime score in any case. The problem is, most hosts will have uptimes above 99%. Go one step higher and choose the web hosting service provider with a 99.5% score.
An unreliable web hosting service will cause loss of potential clients through downtime and lower website rank on search engines. It will also decreased your brand value – not many will be willing to work for someone who can’t keep his website up and running.
- Security and Back Up Features: As technology evolves, so do hackers and online extortionists. The operations of these virtual highwaymen are no longer directed only at finance websites. Check and double check the security features that different hosts are offering because a cyber assault could mean painful damage of the index.php file of your website.
Apart from cyber-attacks, failure of hard disks can also result in loss of precious data. Understand the quality of web backup data feature that the host is offering before handing out the cheque to him.
- Customer Service: This is closely related to reliability is customer service. Should there be a technical glitch, you will need to get it solved promptly to avoid lengthy downtimes, the issues with which we have already discussed.
Ask the company how quickly are their personnel available for taking care of such issues. Select a host that has an in-house customer care division. These deliver better quality services and do so more quickly than those who outsource this operation. Also, try and look for hosts whose client service departments that work round the clock – after all, issues don’t crop up only during office hours.
- Add On Features: If you website does well and attracts more visitors, you will need to upgrade. Consider what options the web host is offering for upgrading from a shared plan to a dedicated or a VPS hosting service.
Next, enquire into the scalability features. As your business expands, you may want to add new domains, websites, and sub-domains. Please note, you will have a lot on your mind and your plate when your business takes off to the next level. You will have virtually no time to find and deal with a new web host if your current service provider does not offer such scalability. Look before you hire.
- Concurrent Email Hosting: Always prefer a company that hosts the main email of your website. This is because connecting your website domain name with your email can get you more business.
- Hardware and Basic Software Features: It is important that you know what kind of servers your host is using. And, it is more important to ensure that the host is using quality hardware that is worth the fee you are paying him.
Again, there are some fundamental operations that you will have to do by yourself – such as setting up emails. Understand which system your host uses to make changes in these basic features. You don’t want to call and pay him for such trivial tasks.
- Penal Provisions: Again, read the fine print for the penal clauses. The host may charge you extra for exceeding certain limits. Worse, he may discontinue service. Know these clauses and avoid getting on their wrong side.
The purpose of having good infrastructure in place is to facilitate seamless business operations. Once you establish all the facts, estimate your future requirements, and do your homework, choosing the right web hosting service is not much of a problem.