There are thousands of web hosting companies – the services that essentially connect your site to the internet. So how does an entrepreneur choose the one that’s right for his or her business?
How to Choose the Right Host for Your Website
To ensure that your hosting company supports your business needs and doesn’t create unnecessary hurdles to your website’s success, you first need to understand the major types of hosting. Then, consider some basic criteria to help choose the best plan for you.
Don’t be seduced by the lowest price, as you may well end up paying more later. Check the small print; do you have to pay for any extras? If so, are they worth it? Can you upgrade your package easily if you need to?
Look for a hosting company that offers 24-hour service and allows you to speak to staff on the phone, not just via email. Being able to reach a real person means the hosting company is less likely to pass the buck and should resolve problems faster. Check if you can find their phone number easily ― if it’s hidden, maybe they don’t like to talk.
Are they good at keeping customers informed about technical issues and new services? Will they assign you you a dedicated account manager? Do they send reminders in plenty of time, alert you if a payment fails, and warn if you get close to any capacity limits?
Your host must offer good technical support so it can deal with any problems quickly. Be sure they have multiple internet connections so the server that hosts your website can keep running even if one goes down. Ideally, your prospective host should guarantee at least 99.9% uptime.
Make sure you get an SSL certificate if you are selling online, and that your shopping system is safe and easy to use. Ask about protection against spam, viruses and other malware. Is your server protected by a firewall? What other precautions are there?
As your business grows, so will your website. Ensure your web host can support any changes to your website such as adding a blog, videos, databases, picture galleries or simply more sections. Are they geared up to integrate new technology? Choose a website host based on your future plans, not just where you are now.
Make sure the systems and software you work with are compatible with your host. Be wary of web hosting firms that try to tie you down to their own bespoke software. What will this mean if you want to move elsewhere?
How frequently does the hosting company backup your website data? This task should be carried out at least daily; if it’s not, ask why. You only need one problem to lose important information, customer data or orders.
A proven track record
Ask to see testimonials and examples of other websites they host. A reliable web hosting company will be happy to put you in touch with satisfied customers who can tell you about their experience. Google the web hosting company to see what people are saying about them. Check that they work with other businesses like yours.
An SLA should form part of your contract with a reliable web hosting company. It guarantees that your hosting will be available for a certain proportion of time (usually 99.9% or higher) and that you will receive help with problems within a set timeframe. A reliable web hosting company’s SLA should entitle you to compensation if these targets aren’t met. Look at the terms and conditions. Is there any flexibility in what is being offered? How long is the contract? Can you get out of it if you want to?
Some website hosting companies will offer to transfer your site from your existing host to their service. If so, check they can move all of your files, images and data to the new host location easily and, above all, smoothly.
If you are still not sure how to choose the right host for your website check infographic bellow.