Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web Host
There are many web hosting companies today, everyone offering to give you the best deal. But it’s important you carefully consider a number of factors before deciding on a web host, so as to ensure the hosting company fits perfectly with your unique needs both now and in the future.
Be clear what your needs are
You may not know what would work for you until you first identify and understand what your hosting needs are. Draw up a list of your website details and what they would require, like the kind of website you’re building, the type and amount of traffic you’re hoping for, and the add-ons or applications you’d like to run on the site.
This is very important when choosing a hosting service provider– whether you’re a beginner or more experienced website owner, you need to be able to count on a prompt, effective and round-the-clock support service from your web host whenever you need it.
Things would occasionally go wrong on a website’s backend and you need to be able to easily and quickly reach the technical support team to help you get back on track as soon as possible.
Look for hosting service providers with 24/7 phone support, email support and live chat support, and make sure to test out all of the channels before securing a plan.
Check reliability of the host’s server
Your hosting service provider must be one that you can bank on and trust to keep your website running, so you need a web host that operates 24/7. The server of your host should be powerful and reliable network connections.
Make sure you check the uptime of the server. It must have an uptime of at least 99%- anything below this would be a bad choice. It is recommended to pick a server with an uptime of 99.5% and above. You can track your web host with server monitor tools online.
What are the yearly and monthly rates?
The first thing most people look at when hiring a hosting service provider is the price. But that should not be your sole or biggest deciding factors when choosing a hosting service- the cheapest hosting service providers might not provide a great service, so before you jump for joy when you see cheap rates, make sure you check out what else the service provider has to offer.
Check out their features, get services that offer what you want, then you can start to compare prices and pick the host that offers the best at great rates.
It is also good to be aware of the hardware your hosting company uses. You want to be able to rely on your hosting company, so it is important that you do your homework.
Check out the specifications of the servers they use. Is it good enough for the services they claim to provide? If the company does not state clearly the hardware they use, make sure you ask.
It goes without saying that you should pick a web host with a package that gives your website enough webspace, but you also have to consider future expansion.
Are your web space needs likely to increase substantially in the future? Then you want to make sure you pick a web host that can accommodate those future needs. Make sure you know the amount of space your website would need.
The type of website you plan on running would decide the amount of bandwidth you would need. If your website is an e-commerce platform or a site that is rich in large-sized content and video, you shouldn’t go for the cheapest package you find, make sure you know how much bandwidth you would need.
More web hosts nowadays offer unlimited bandwidth but most of these “unlimited” bandwidths are just marketing techniques and are actually limited in some way. These days, you can store your files elsewhere and call or link them to your webpage so you don’t need a whole lot of bandwidth as you would have in past times.
It is important to be sure that your hosting service provider can provide you with whatever your future needs may be, especially if your website is your business.
A hosting service might meet your current needs, but that doesn’t mean that the service would satisfy your needs a few years along the line. You need to be sure that your web host would have no difficulty accommodating your future growth- they should have dedicated server solutions and be able to offer you an easy upgrade.
Transferring from one hosting service to another takes considerable time and effort, and that could have been better utilised if your initial hosting service had you covered.
Your hosting service provider should regularly back-up your site in case of any incident. It is possible for a server to have a major hard disk failure, and without regular back up, you could lose important data. But if your web host backs up your site regularly, it can be restored in little or no time.
Secure Socket Layers (SSL)
If you are planning on opening an e-commerce website, or you are planning to sell some merchandise on the side, along with whatever else you do, you need to make sure that your hosting service provider allows you to set up a secure server using SSL.
This refers to the websites that have “https://” instead of the more typical http://. Doing this usually requires additional payment or a higher package, and it is necessary to keep your website secure.
FTP, Cron, .htaccess, SSI, SSH, Auto script Installer etc.
You should choose a web host that allows you access to these. Some hosting service providers don’t offer even basic hosting features. You need FTP for easy file transfer, Cron for scheduling programmes and running day to day operations, .htaccess for customising error pages, redirects and for your site security, Server Side Include (SSI) for easy site maintenance, SSH for testing certain scripts and maintaining databases, Auto Script Installer for easy web application installations and updates.
These are basic features and a ‘must have’ for a good hosting service provider such as BlueHost, GoDaddy, DiscountDomains, and HeartsInternet.
So, do not go with any web host that does not provide these. If after you’ve considered all these factors, and you still cannot make up your mind on which hosting service provider to go with, you can always check for customers feedback on independent and credible review sites, such as Yelp, TrustPilot and Yellow Pages to help you make an informed decision based on the experiences of others.