12 Tips for Choosing the Right Web Hosting Company
Are you looking to build a website? For most business owners, the immense value gotten from creating quality web content has become quite evident—alongside the need to develop a responsive website.
However, the key aspect of choosing a reliable web hosting provider is still often ignored in the website creation process. This can be crucial to the success of a business as taking time out to select a trustworthy web hosting provider ensures that your website always remains safe and accessible.
“Great hosting boils down to the 3 S's: speed, support and security,” said Adam Berry, digital director at Wingard Creative in a report.
Additionally, Nasdaq's Simon Ball, head of digital media services at NASDAQ Corporate Solutions, noted that scalability is also a critical factor.
"You need the ability to rapidly scale your website as your target audience grows and the resiliency to handle sudden bursts of high traffic," said Ball.
With more than 30,000 websites being hacked each day, according to Forbes contributor James Lyne, choosing a mediocre web host due to cheap pricing — amongst other insignificant factors — can lead to disastrous results. In the past three years, top brands such as BlueCross, Target, BlueShield and Home Depot just to name a few are a fraction of the numerous brands that have been hacked. While there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution to hacking, utilizing a reputable and reliable web hosting company will ensure that regular back-up of your data is performed to a secure and remote server to prevent loss of data in the event of a security breach.
Having your website suffer downtime is similar to placing a closed sign in the front of a brick-and-mortar store as it means customers aren’t allowed to do business with you, ultimately leading to loss of revenue. Amazon lost $66,240 per minute in August 2013, when their website went offline for over 30 minutes.
In addition to security breaches and loss of revenue, having your websites suffer long down-times regularly can ultimately lead to a massive decline in search rankings. Therefore, the importance of choosing an appropriate web host company cannot be overemphasized.
Here are some tips that can aid business owners effectively select the right web host and avoid the problems associated to making a wrong choice.
1. Read reviews of various web hosting companies
Before making a choice, use various reputable websites to research on the reliability and reputation of the web hosts. Taking time out to research a web hosting company through third party reviews is quite helpful in uncovering any consistent issues or persistent complaints from current or past users.
Additionally, it can also shed light on the reliability and competence of the company. For example, reading BlueHost reviews indicates that they are a company focused on providing the best and affordable web hosting service to individuals and small-to-medium sized businesses.
2. Be certain of the kind of web host service you require
Having a clear understanding of what your business needs can be particularly useful in narrowing down your web hosting options.
For business owners who plan to build a website with heavy media contents that features video blogging, 24-hour live streaming and the ability for visitors to register and upload their own videos, it is evident that your website would require more features than someone who just uses their website as a virtual resume. Additionally, websites that receive a lot of daily traffic will most likely not function properly on a shared server because these servers are built to house a lot of small websites that have limited demands.
3. Purchase the right amount of bandwidth
For most new websites, bandwidth consumption is usually low, however, it is important to anticipate growth. Therefore, ensure that the web hosting company you select doesn’t place a limitation on the amount bandwidth that can be used—making you incur additional fees to revise your hosting plan to accommodate a larger bandwidth.
4. Choose the appropriate hosting package
While a lot of small businesses prefer the option of shared hosting as a way to cut cost but, making such decision of selecting a cheaper package comes with a bigger risk of slow website response times.
As you would expect, slow websites are a huge turn off to customers and while a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is slightly more expensive, it provides a faster, higher quality web performance and delivers a better customer experience.
5. Never be too keen on getting it cheap
Most new business owner operate on a limited budget and would typically jump on any web hosting company offering the cheapest price.
However, getting it cheap usually comes with a heavy price such as slow servers, regular downtime,terrible customer service and many more.
6. Be cautious of unlimited offers
Similar to the previous point, it is important to take precaution when dealing with hosting providers who offer so-called ‘unlimited storage and bandwidth’ for a rather cheap price. More often than not, these deals often shady and not as straight forward as advertised.
It is highly likely that contained within their term of service is a clause that allows the hosting provider to either put a cap on your website performance or shut it down after a certain usage level.
7.Read the Terms of Service
For most people, accepting the Terms of Service without bothering to read exactly what they’re signing-up for is more of routine task.
However, like noted above, failure to read it thoroughly can lead to loss of information regarding certain services such as a refund policy.
8. Be wary of ‘new’ hosting providers
Most new hosting companies are not properly equipped to successfully cater for the needs of numerous clients simultaneously. Therefore, it is advisable to stick with a more reputable hosting company that can handle the growth of their clientele without compromising quality service.
9. Carry out tests on customer support
During your research of web hosting providers, always search out ways to contact their customer support. Lookout for their response time when contacting them via their available channels (email, phone number, live chat, 24/7 support etc.)
10. Be aware of a backup plan
Irrespective of what the cause of downtime or loss of website data is, always ensure that you are aware of the available backup plan your web hosting company provides.
11. Inquire about security features
Security breaches can take you by surprise, therefore, ensure that your web hosting company can provide Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to secure your customer’s private information.
12. Select a portable content management system to avoid being locked-in
While most reputable hosting providers are quite reliable, but times change quickly and factors such as management overhaul, acquisitions and technology shifts can have a huge effect on your web hosting plans.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that your website isn’t locked to any one host — and that you have an active backup in place. Content management systems such as WordPress can be used for regular updates and site backups, this way you always have access to your site’s data, media and web structure.