The most important factors when selecting a web hosting provider
(Image by Calvin Crest, www.flickr.com)
Web hosting is the name of the game where website connections, storage, and services to provide the working infrastructure for your link to the Internet are concerned. Like it or not, this web hosting is a significant part of running a business online. Because of this, it is so important to make good choices about your web hosting providers so that your website and its services are reliably and dependably available to your customers or followers on a consistent basis.
It can be a confusing task, as there are now so very many web hosts available online. Because of this, it is so critical to go through a researching procedure to select the best possible choice of the web hosting providers for your own business. Consider the following factors when selecting a web hosting provider.
1. Technical Support
Many people would say this is the single most important factor in picking out a web hosting provider, and rightfully so. If your website goes down, you need to be able to reach a living, breathing person on the other end of the phone, not a tiresome computer recording. More importantly still, is that person actually answering the phone able to solve the problem, or at least to give some direction on how to get the site back up and running properly?
These are the questions you need to get answered regarding customer support. Look into how many different means they have for reaching them when you are in dire need of support, including phone numbers, email addresses, live customer chat, etc. It is good to know if they offer around the clock customer support, and if they outsource their support or take pride in their in-house technical and customer support teams. In other words, all web hosting companies are not created equal. Some are very enthusiastic about their levels of customer support, while others provide some bare minimum amount just to check a box. It is these latter ones that you have to be on your guard against.
2. Technical Specifications and Limitations
The technical capabilities of your web hosting providing company are also important. Anyone hosting e-commerce sites, blogs, videos, and/or rich content sites should never select the least expensive package for hosting that can possibly be found. Such a package will most likely lack the processing power, RAM, and disk space to handle all of these technical requirements mentioned. Instead, try to add the following elements to your web hosting company shopping list if at all possible:
• Unlimited domain add-ons
• Limitless emails
• Unlimited database
• Limitless FTP accounts
• Minimum 100GB of bandwidth
• Minimum 10GB of disk space
• 30 days cancellation and refund policy
Beware cheaper host providers and plans. It is wise to compare the included features to this list above to see what you are getting for the money. Inquire if the company charges extra for added backups, support, and domains.
(Image by Ross Merritt, www.flickr.com)
3. Hardware of the Host Provider
This information about a website hosting outfit's computers is not necessarily readily available, but with some investigation and inquiring, you can find the answer eventually. You need to know how modern the machines the hosting company utilizes for their service are. If they are simply thrown together from a variety of old computers and spare parts, the hosting system will not be so stable. Hardware capabilities in fact play a great role in the actual results of your site and their servers' performance alike.
4. Price of the Plan in Question
It is natural to first gravitate to the price of the plan, but this is really not a great idea. The ultimate deciding factor must not boil down to which host and plan is the cheapest possible. You nearly always get what you pay for in life, and this applies in website hosting as well. For those of you whose sites are income generating, you do not want them crashing and burning at the most inopportune moments. High-quality hardware and in-house support cost more money than a $1.99 per month plan will ever cover. First come up with a short list of hosting providers that have all of the features you require, then let the price help to dictate your final choice.
5. Room to Expand
You should also not neglect your future expansion plans in considering your hosting provider. The requirements you have now will hopefully still not be sufficient within two to three years from now, when you hope to attract significant amounts of web traffic to your website.
Web hosting outfits that cannot adjust to growing websites on their servers may be problematic. You should ask if they offer dedicated server options and VPS for your future development. The company should have no difficulty upgrading your service as your needs grow over time. It is no fun to move from one hosting provider to a different one, and it requires significant time to do so. Performing some research is critical to understand and make the best decision.
6. Control Panel
It does not matter how good you are at website setup and maintenance if you cannot understand the operations of your website hosting company. You need to know if the company employs Plesk or cPanel to help with your changes and updates. Otherwise, it might be a strange proprietary interface they use that not even a computer genius can decipher. Since you are probably the person who will perform the tasks on this interface, it is good to know if you will be able to make it work.
Everyone understands the allure of cheaper pricing, but it is good to remember an age-old adage. The bitterness of poor quality remains and galls years after the sweetness of cheaper price is long forgotten. Focus on the issues that matter with web hosting, such as technical and customer support, technical specifications and limitations, hardware of the host provider, expansion room, and utility of the control panel in order to be satisfied with the outcome of your web hosting provider decision.
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