Starting a website is more than just creating a homepage and slapping it up on the Internet. One of the most important considerations before creating your site is your hosting service. This service should provide the server or servers that will host your site. It should also offer other services like domain names, privacy, file transfer and name registration.
Yet there are tons of hosting services available. How can you choose the right one for you? Below is a list of considerations to take in mind that will help you find website host that fits your company’s needs.
Before you begin your web hosting research, ask yourself a few questions. What type of website will you run? What are your top priorities for your site? What programing and scripting does your site use? Do you use WordPress? What type of webhosting server will you need? Can you deal with a shared server, or do you need a server that can handle lots of sensitive data? Make a list of your top five priorities, and search for companies that handle your priorities well.
Find out the areas of specialties of different web hosting companies before you decide on one. Some companies go as far as offering “green” hosting options, so there’s plenty to choose from. Most reputable companies should show up on a review website. Check these sites to find out how prospect companies stack up. Customers will often leave feedback on what worked or didn’t work with different hosting companies.
It’s also a great idea to find out what kind of limitations you can deal with. If you have an ecommerce site, you’ll probably need a host that can handle large amounts of user data. You should also consider a site that has plenty of features to keep your customers’ data secure.
Sometimes we focus so much on what we need and what we don’t need; we often forget about price until the last minute. Many web hosting companies offer a variety of base price points. Yet the base price point only covers the bare bones of the service. Companies then offer plenty of upgrades, add-ons and packages.
Make a list of everything you might need for your site—now and in the future. Some features might include unlimited data storage, email accounts, domains, domain names, shopping carts, video support and processors. Most companies also offer some kind of tech support in case something should go wrong—like a server crashing.
Try to find a service that offers a base price for the services you need; then, make sure the site offers add-ons for everything else. That way you’re not paying piecemeal for necessary services. You also won’t be paying for services you’re not using either.
How much should these services cost?
Your domain name could cost at minimum around $10 per year. Yet this price could easily rise to thousands of dollars depending on the name you choose. Your server could cost as little as $100 a year if you use a shared server. It can easily cost you over $1,000 a year if you choose a VPS or a virtual server. Your ecommerce site could ring up the bill even further with shopping cart fees starting at around $2,500 a year and rising upwards to over $10,000 a year.
3. Tech Support
What tech support does the hosting service offer? Can you get along with limited tech support, or do you need someone to walk you through the hosting process 24-hours a day? Does the company offer support tickets, live phone support and chat support? Do you actually need all of that, or can you get by on responses within 24 hours? How long does it take for tickets to be processed?
The best way to determine the type of tech support is to imagine a worst-case scenario. If your ecommerce’s shopping cart doesn’t work, how long can you wait for support? If your site suddenly goes down, how long can you (and your customers) wait for the site to come back up again? How many customers would you estimate you’d lose during these down periods?
If you are running a small blog or informational site, your customers might not mind waiting 24 hours for your site to return. If you are running an ecommerce site, your customers will probably ditch your site altogether and head over to a competitor.
4. Web Hosting Hardware
Finding out what type of web hosting hardware a company uses might be a little more difficult. Yet you can always contact the company directly or refer to customer feedback and reviews to find out how others fared.
What type of servers is the company running? What type of bandwidth do the servers use? Can the bandwidth and servers handle your needs? Sometimes companies that offer “budget” prices run on outdated equipment.
5. Customer Reviews and Feedback
Always check a company’s customer reviews and feedback before deciding on a web hosting service. Customers can clue you in to some of the most important information regarding a company. Sifting through customer comments can be tedious and time consuming. The trick is to search comments using keywords that relate to your company. If tech support is important to you, search “tech problems” or “support problems” to find out which companies don’t offer reliable support.
Try to find consistencies between customer comments too. If one company receives tons of complaints about servers crashing, you might want to consider another company. Pay attention to how companies respond to customer complaints too. If a company is consistently ignoring complaints, you might want to go with another one. Yet if a company received tons of complaints but fixed the problem, you might want to consider them; it’s obvious they care about their customers, and customer complaints matter to them.
Finding a web hosting service can sometimes feel like a chore. Yet with the right knowledge, you can feel satisfied you can find website host that’s right for you and your website.