A Web hosting provider is vital for any online business or Web presence. It’s crucial that you choose the right one, as a wrong provider poses problems and you end up paying dearly by loss of revenue, decreased performance in search engines, loss of security, and malware attacks.
It’s never an easy task to search for an adequate and reliable Web hosting provider. However, this task will be simpler if one knows what they should look for. The most important things to watch out for are:
Do they have what you need? Depending on your Web hosting requirements, you need to determine whether the specifications that are provided by any potential Web hosting provider meet your needs. A good Web hosting provider should be able to advise you on what suits you best.
Uptime/Reliability Track Record
How often are your Web host’s servers down? If the servers are down, it means your website is unavailable. For online business websites, this is absolutely crucial. A good web host provider should take every measure to guarantee maximum uptime and also provide steps as to how scheduled outages are handled. Keep in mind that while no Web host can guarantee 100% uptime, it should offer at least 99% uptime on average.
No matter how great a Web host provider is, one will need customer service sooner or later. It may include pre-sales questions, billing, or technical support. Can you pick up the phone and call support? Is everything handled via support tickets? Do they have a live chat feature? What is their response time to issues raised by clients? It’s always better to work with a hosting provider that is easily accessible and understand your needs.
You should choose a web host provider that has the best combination of communication options that you feel will suit your needs best and with minimum response times. These options include telephone support, email support, live chat, a knowledgebase, and an online forum/community.
Most of the time pricing is the deal-breaker when it comes to choosing a Web host provider. Should you go for a cheap Web hosting provider, or something more expensive? You should research on the quality of service and features being provided first, and then the cost, as prices do not always reflect quality.
It’s better to pay more for the caliber of services being provided, as well as the level and quality of technical support. You should choose the best combination of cost, quality of service, and features offered. Also, you should consider the payment plans and determine if these are convenient for you in the long term.
Security and Backup
A good Web hosting provider must be able to guarantee security and privacy. This may be in the form of firewalls, secured data centers, and up-to-date server software.
And in case of any faults, website crashes or security breaches, the provider should have backup strategies to ensure that you don’t lose any data and that they are able to restore a backup with no time.
Ability to Scale
Most Web hosting providers have rules and limits, and you should read these before you sign up as they may affect how you run your website or the type of website you want to set up. For example, some Web hosts have restrictions on what file types and sizes they will support.
There are a number of Web hosting providers offering the same hosting services but with additional features on top of their quality of service. You should take time to inquire about their value add-on services, which will help you differentiate between the many Web hosting providers, and make it easy to settle for one.
Always look out for a Web hosting provider with great (but not deceiving) additional features as advertised.
Stability and Reputation
How long has the Web hosting provider been in business? Does it have any positive testimonials or reviews? You should look for an established Web hosting provider that has been running for at least a couple of years, and with positive customer testimonials or reviews.
With all of the above in mind, you'll be able to narrow down your list of potential Web host providers before you make a decision. Choose one that can offer you quality service at a competitive rate that will suit your business or personal needs.