How to Choose a Web Hosting Service
With digital advancement, most of the web hosting companies are offering excellent services and variety of features with a 99% uptime. However, without the right information and what to look for when shopping for the best web hosting company, this will still be difficult.
Choosing a web hosting provider
When choosing a host, you are bound to run into lots of tiny problems that if not checked, can make you select a substandard service. We are going to look into some few things that make you more informed when choosing your host and hosting package.
Cost of web hosting
Cheap is expensive. Free hosting sound like an excellent choice mainly because you do not pay a dime. You may get problems such as inadequate features and unwanted advertisement on your site. Remember you only get the service you have paid.
Find out what the company gains by offering free hosting. The advertisements may slow down your site, and you might lose valuable Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ‘points.’
Web hosting company may not offer you adequate bandwidth which may lead your website to slow down to a crawl.
Some packages are for small sites that are just starting out. It might be better for you to choose a package that has scalability options as per expected business growth. The cheapest package might not offer some features that a better package might have such as email support or domain privacy.
A flexible host company offers a variety of plans, so you only pay for what you use. That way you can upgrade or downgrade your service based on your needs. Your hosts need to be flexible enough to allow this hassle-free.
When choosing a host, do your research extensively. One of the best site available is Web hosting research. For you to get an idea of what the hosting company looks like;
- Read customer reviews – Review customer complaints, downtime and the loading speeds and security issues that other customers have experienced. This way you get an impression of what to expect.
- Hosting packages offered – For instance, a hosting package may claim to be providing unlimited bandwidth. At a closer look, you might find that it comes with some limiting factors such as throttling your site when you approach a certain bandwidth limit.
- Hosting provider website – If a host does not take the time to create an excellent site for itself, they will probably not be too concerned with yours either.
- Location of hosting data center – Find out where the data centers for the hosting companies are and whether they have any redundancy capabilities. The closer the datacenter to your users could mean better website speeds.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) – This enables static portions of your website to be cached which means your users get optimized speeds at different locations. It, therefore, improves speeds of website access especially if users access the site across the world. >
Unreliable customer service
Test the customers’ service quality before committing to the particular host. A host may claim to offer 24/7 hour support so try calling at odd hours just to make sure. Don’t be satisfied with the email and live support. If your host is down, you will not be able to reach them, so getting their telephone number is crucial. Remember, the quicker you get answers, the faster you get your site up and running again.
While you may have to contact the support team of your web hosting company; some may refer you to their support documents.
It is essential to draw a Service Level agreement with the web hosting company and ensure enforcement by both parties. A penalty should be included in case any party does not meet the SLA. (e.g. Include charge back during downtimes).
Check with the web hosting company on the available escalation procedures in the event issues are not resolved within agreed service level agreements. (SLA)
Don’t rely on your hosts’ backups only. Losing data happens to even the biggest names in the hosting industry. Keep performing regular backups as it comes in handy if your host runs into problems with their backups.
The features you need depends on the needs of your clients and thus get a hosting provider who offers a variety thus not limit your hosting capabilities.
Does the hosting company allow you to install PHP scripts or Joomla or any other e-commerce platform? Does is support multi-platform operating system? May web servers run on Linux, but you may have a request that requires Windows web hosting.
Other restrictions you should keep an eye on including the ability to install your software and SSH connection.
Much information is not explicitly stated, so you might have to call and talk to a representative.
When reviewing web hosting providers, it is wise to look beyond and consider the services you may want in future.
Level of Security
With cyber security and hackers getting sophisticated by the day security of your website is a critical element as you select a host.
For hosting companies to run successfully, they need to build trust with their customers that their data is protected and the hosting company is doing all within their ability to ensure data is secured.
No matter how much security the hosting company has put in place; a shared plan is the least secure. If your business is expected to grow, consider dedicated hosting for your website. Some level of security can also be achieved with shared hosting by implementing two-factor authentication. Check if the host has this feature included in the plans.
Finally, check if your host regularly updates the software and or hosting environment.
Many sites one host
When you are managing a range of sites, it may have its benefits such as a simple bill. However, it also has its disadvantage. If the server crashes, all your websites go down simultaneously. It could translate to a significant loss if you are using those sites to generate income. The best option would be to ask your host to split your account across different servers, or you could alternatively choose separate hosts.
With this wealth of information about a web hosting company, you are better placed to make an informed decision and can negotiate for an excellent package. Do your research carefully and be proactive in the management of your site.
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