Choosing a web hosting service

Factors to consider when choosing a web hosting service

There are many factors to consider when choosing a web hosting service, especially if the hosting is for your small business or start up.  Here we delve into 6 of the most important things to consider when shopping for a web host.

 1)  Knowing what you Need

You have to have a thorough picture of what demands your website will need now, and as you grow.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What type of website are you building?  Just a regular informational site for your business?  An E-commerce site where you can sell your products online?  A blogging website?
  • Does your site need any type of special software or windows applications?
  • How big do you expect your traffic volume to be?
  • Will you only have one domain, or multiple domains?  Will you only have one website, or multiple websites?

You have to think the big picture and where you see your business in a year, two years, five years.  You need to find a hosting company that will grow with you.

2) Pricing

Price point is always an important factor, but you will find that most reputable hosting companies offer very affordable packages.

When just starting out with one site, don’t expect to pay anymore than $80 to $120 per year for hosting.  It is usually less expensive if you pay for an entire year up front, but most hosting services offer month to month pricing too.

There may be additional add-on pricing if you require special software or upgrades to your server, but getting started with a web host should not break the bank.

Why not go with free hosting?

Yes, it is true, there are many free hosting services out there, and you usually get what you pay for.  You will have to pay extra if you want your own domain name, you will likely have to pay extra for them to remove advertisements off of your website.

What about uptime?  What if your website goes down?  How do you expect to get great customer support from a service that you don’t pay for?  So come one, if you want to portray professionalism from the start, don’t cheap out with free hosting, it’s not worth it.

3)  Reliability and Uptime

There is nothing more important than making sure you’re website is up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The last thing you want is a potential customer coming to your site, only to find that it’s down.  They’ll never return.  Your website is your front door to your business.  This means that your web host is responsible for that door to always be open. You need to pick a host that operates powerful servers and has stable network connections.

Check their website for published up-times.  Anything less than 99% up time is unacceptable.  A high quality hosting company averages 99.5% and above.  Don’t settle for less.

4) Customer Support

You need to check out how your web host operates their customer support.  Do they have a phone number?  Or just an email address.  Do they have a support ticketing system?

Here is a check-list for great customer support:

  1. Support available 24/7
  2. Telephone support 24/7
  3. Email Support 24/7
  4. Live chat support 24/7
  5. How long do they keep you waiting when you submit a support ticket?
  6. Make sure their contact page has a physical address as well.

The last thing you need is to be looking at a white screen where your new website once was, and have no way to fix it and no help.  Make sure your hosting company is there to help you anytime day or night.

5)  Hosting features available

Be sure to check and make sure which features are available to you based on the package you wish to purchase.  Most hosting companies have standard features available for a low price, and then additional features if you purchase a bigger package.

If you are not sure which features you will require for your website, make sure that you give them a pre-sales phone call and ask questions, or tell them what type of website you are building, and they should be able to tell you what features you need.

Most standard packages will come with all the features that any small business could need for their website.  But just double check to be sure.  To see the features our web hosting company offers, click here.

6)  Terms of Service

Make sure you read and understand your web hosts’ terms of service before you purchase.  Most good web hosting companies will have conditions of service such as completing a fraud screening before they process your order.  This is to ensure that you are not using their services for illegal business dealing etc.

Some web hosts may deny service if they deem the topic of your website controversial, or contains adult content, so you definitely need to make sure you check out the terms before buying.

Our Experience

We have used several hosting companies over the years with some shocking stories.  Ever wonder how you would feel if a client called and asked you why their website is being redirected to a pornography site?  Yes, been there, done that, it was a nightmare.  Changed hosting companies right away.

After a few horrible experiences we have made our home with Siteground.  We have listed all the reasons why their solutions fit our needs and the needs of our clients here. We have been with Siteground since 2013 and do not have even one bad thing to say about them.

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Photo credit: “Creative Commons Web Hosting” ” by Nick Youngson is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0