- Internet & the Web
Best Web Site Hosting: How to Choose a Web Hosting Company
The Best Hosting Companies offer the Following
Many web hosting companies offer a lot of services, which come in different packages, eg, premium, basic, standard, etc. However, there are certain definites that should be present, like the following.
The Best Hosting Companies Have Excellent Customer Service and Support
While the hard variables like storage may be there, when you’re faced with a critical issue you don’t understand, you want someone who’s going to be able to help you. Hence, 24/7 customer support is vital.
The Best Hosting Companies Have Little Downtime
Downtime costs you more than time. It costs you money, and possibly your industry reputation. Check the company’s downtime policy. Following are two things to look for, ie:
i) Downtime Guarantee: Ask or look to see if they offer one. All reputable web hosting companies have downtime policies. Many web hosting companies offer discounts and even free service as compensation in the event of downtime.
ii) 100% Uptime: If a company offers this guarantee, run. It doesn’t exist. Every web hosting company – no matter how large – has downtime. Trustworthy web hosting companies will tell you what theirs is. Usually, it should be between 97 and 100 percent.
Tip: Check http://www.siteuptime.com, a web hosting monitoring site that gives you the skinny on uptimes. It’s free, but has some paid plans as well. It will check your website at regular intervals and notify you if/when it’s down.
The Best Hosting Companies Have Has Superb Data Backup
Every web hosting company has some type of failure at some time. It is technology after all, an imperfect medium. However, the best web hosting companies run regularly scheduled backups, saving data on a continual basis.
Inquire about regularly scheduled backups with any web hosting company you’re considering using.
Tip: Always back up your data on your own system. That way, in the unlikely event that your web hosting company does lose your data, you can get up and running easily again – with a different host company, of course.
The Best Hosting Companies & Terms of Service Agreements
If another customer on your web hosting company’s servers is engaged in illegal activity and/or runs afoul of the Terms of Service agreement, you could be penalized. How?
Some web hosting companies have had their servers unplugged, which means everyone using that company as a host goes offline. To prevent this, check the web hosting company’s Terms of Service agreement. You may also find this type of language/permissions addressed under an “Acceptable Use Policy.”
The Best Hosting Companies Protect Their Servers from Spam, Etc.
Web hosting companies have hundreds, sometimes thousands of sites on a server. This presents a host of problems that can affect your site, eg, being taken offline because of instances like illegal sites listed above.
Other server problems your web hosting company should protect against is spam. Sites who send spam cause connection problems, eg, it can cause your connection to be slow, you can keep getting kicked off, etc.
In the worst cases, spam sites can cause your web hosting company’s servers to be disconnected because they can be blacklisted.
To prevent this, ask potential web hosting company’s about what measures they take to protect their servers from illegal activity, spam and other activity that can cause their IP to unplug their servers.
Tip: DNSstuff.com is a site you can use to see if a web hosting company has been blacklisted. It’s common to see one or two incidents, but if it’s more than that, be leery.
The Best Hosting Companies Have Bandwidth “You Can Grow With”
The bottom line with bandwidth is that you want a web hosting company you can grow with. Choose a web hosting company that has several packages, that way, as your business expands, you don’t have to move host companies. Al you’ll have to do is upgrade to a different package.
FYI, unlimited bandwidth doesn’t exist. Many companies offer it, but there really is a limit. How much you get is usually buried in the Terms of Service agreement.
The good news is, most sites don’t use anywhere near what they’re allotted, and if you do, your web hosting company will alert you to that fact. That you can be assured of. That’s why you want a company that offers multiple plans so you can upgrade with minimal, or no, interruption to your site.
The Best Hosting Companies Offer Domain Name Registration
When you register a domain name through a web hosting company, make sure it’s being registered in your name (or company name), not in their name for you.
You want to outright own your domain name so that in the event you do decide to leave that host company, you can take your name with you. Be very clear about this beforehand. If you don’t see an explicit policy explaining or stating this, contact the company and ask.
Reputable companies make this very clear.
The Best Hosting Companies Have Easy-to-Understand Control Panels
Your control panel allows you to access all the functions of your website. Currently, the most widely used web hosting management software is cPanel. Via your cPanel, you can upload files, configure email, download files, gain access to web stats and more.
Compare Web Hosting Companies Extra Service Offerings before You Decide
Many web hosting companies offer a lot of value-added services to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. If they’re offering a specific service that you’re looking for at this time, this can be the tipper for you. However, most web hosting companies offer all the basic services anyone potential website owner would ever need.
Many website owners are online for a few years before they start to make radical changes to their sites and/or need additional services. So, rate web hosting companies on those foundational basics, and worry about the rest on an as-need basis.