Top 6 factors to consider for Web Hosting services
Clients get frustrated when web services are not efficient enough and do not serve them to their satisfaction. Nearly every application coming out of software products houses is web based, that means if you acquire one, TCP/IP connection must be available all the time.
If you are running an E-commerce business or using internet connection for your income then you do understand how frustrating downtime or slow connection can be. It is therefore very important to source for web hosting services which can deliver optimal services to give your business an edge over your competitors. Here are some factors that will help you to come up with the best web hosting service provider for that smooth continuity in your business.
Your Site comes first.
The best way to approach this is to consider what type your site is and how important and delicate is it to your business. When selecting a web host, think about your site first and what aspects of the site are most important. Some sites such as E-commerce sites have more technicalities such as space, data storage, security and speed compared to other sites such as informational sites.
Decide about the site technology and components such as rich media and libraries, issues such as scalability, traffic, interactivity, efficiency, uptime, downtime etc. These factors from your site will give you guidelines of what level of web hosting services is required.
What is Web Hosting? Explained
Consider the features of your site such as HTML, CSS, downloads, uploads, emails etc. Is the web hosting provider able to support your site or provide support and swift technical help when your site is on downtime? Some sites such as E-commerce sites are 24/7 working sites with high technologies such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption, think of how the downtime will affect your site and business when that support is delayed even for a mere 5 minutes.
A Service or technical support is very important for the smooth running of any business. It will be important to check the level of customer service offered by your prospective web hosting provider. Do they have a dedicated customer support service? Do they use means such as Emails, toll-free calls, chats, on-site visits etc. to reach their clients. Do they provide preventive maintenance or they just report to a site on demand?
Cheaper is expensive and while many web hosting providers will entice you with less hosting costs, bear in mind that cost is one factor and the life line of your business is another factor too that you cannot ignore. One way to find if the offer on the table is worthy is to run a review of the web hosting provider.
Find out what type of services they offer, how their clients rate them, the complaints, the credits and the general portfolio of the company. Finding the strengths and weaknesses of the hosting provider will give you a clear view of what to expect in terms of services. You don’t want to end up with a web hosting provider that has all sorts of complaints trails from their clients.
Do not sign the contract just because the company said who they are or what they do, only do so when you are fully satisfied with their services. If need be, book an appointment with the technical manager and request for an on-site review of the company to have a review of the hardware and applications they use. Some firms may claim to be hi-tech market leaders on their portfolio only for you to realize they use junk type of hardware and applications.
Does the firm provide extras or it is just the bare minimum. Find out what is special with this company and whether they provide extra services to their clients such as optimized data backups, free domain privacy, user friendly C-panels, traffic monitoring tools and applications. A company that goes an extra mile to care for the welfare of its client is worth checking.
Read between the lines of what is being offered. Download and upload speed is always a factor to check on, ask the hosting provider if you can run a test on this, for example using their wireless connection for some days to ascertain the speed is at the recommended levels.
Bandwidth versus Throughput
Most web hosting providers will give their download and upload speed in term of bandwidth. Bandwidth is the amount of data that a transmission media can carry at a given time and usually measured in bps (bytes per second). Most customers do not ask what is the error rate of the data being driven from the web host, for example out of the total data being transmitted, what good data (throughput) are you getting?
Ask the web hosting provider what is their data transmission error rates and if the throughput is at the recommended levels of 5 nines (i.e. 99.999%) or around there. Read what bandwidth is provided and at what terms. A web hosting provider may state, for example, a bandwidth of 512 mbps for upload and download, ask if this bandwidth is dedicated or shared.
You also need to estimate the amount of bandwidth needed on your site per month so that you do not go for high and costly bandwidth that you under-utilize or low bandwidth that is never enough for your site. To calculate this, estimate the bandwidth for script code and graphics on your site and the average number of hits per day, then multiply this number by 30 days i.e. (Script code + Graphics) x (Hits per/day) x(30)
A good web hosting provider must be able to meet your growth needs whether these needs are gradual or drastic. A better way to approach this is to factor what your site may require in 3-5 years and then evaluate the web hosting provider to ascertain if the demand will be met.
Switching between web hosting providers every one or two years can be very costly both in valuable time and effort and especially to a small business. If you carried out a good review of the company, you will be in a better position to tell if the web hosting provider will be able to meet your site demands in future to support your site scalability demands or not.
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