What to look for when choosing a web host?
This is no easy task and it is often difficult to distiguish between what is desired and what is actually needed. There are a number of parameters detailed below, which I hope will provide an insight for you to be able to make a decision, with even a little bit of the required knowledge. But this is definitely something that you need to consider for your business website because it is believed to be a contributing factor to your Website performance and Search Engine Optimisation.
Type of Website
What type of website do you have?
This is the most basic question and will determine which general direction you should go when choosing a webhost. Is it a personal site or a business site? Do you just want to put a couple fun pages online for friends and family, or are you hoping to make a business out of it?
Most small businesses need inexpesive hosting, which will usually cost between £5 and £75 per month. A small personal site, which doesn’t expect extensive volumes of traffic or isn’t going to grow too large, can be hosted with £5 monthly web host, but a business website will need a dedicated server.
Starting your website will require a good hosting plan. Our best web hosting chart ranks several popular hosting companies.
Web hosting companies like iPage may be affordable, but are they really a good choice for starting your new website?
You may wish to check customer hosting reviews of your hosts before committing to purchasing hosting.
Other hosts such as InMotion seem to be more focused towards small business customers, while iPage and FatCow tend to serve bloggers best.
Reliability, Speed and Uptime Guarantee
Nothing can hurt you more than when your visitors come to your web site only to find that it’s not accessible. You instantly lose credibility and possibly even sales. If your web host does not guarantee at least a 99% uptime, leave the web host!
To ensure maximum uptime, installation of redundant back-up systems is essential. Each web host has their own management systems to minimize downtime. “Redundant” means that if any of the Internet connections get interrupted, the alternate Internet connection will take over.
Reliable and Sustainable Infrastructure
Confirm that they offer a multi-centred network powered by multiple bandwidth providers to ensure redundancy. Also, investigate your host’s Service Level Agreement to make sure it has “teeth” so your host will do what they promise.
One of the most frequent, and justified, complaints that many people have with their web host is lack of customer and technical support.
Irrespective of your experience you must ensure that you select a web host with reliable customer support.
Many web hosts offer both email and phone support while others are available only via email. In most cases, email support is adequate, but you should be cautious if a potential web host has no phone number available in case of an emergency.
Response times to support questions vary widely. Some webhosts may take only a few minutes to get back to you while others take days or longer. It is important to find out what type of support any potential web host offers.
Ask around. References are always a good way to judge a host’s performance.
Sufficient Bandwidth to Accomodate Data/Traffic
Data transfer – also refered to as “traffic” or “bandwidth” is the amount of bytes transferred from your site to visitors when they browse your site.
There are many commercial web hosts that advertise “unlimited bandwidth”, but this is often subject to a fair usage policy, which ultimately limits your bandwidth. The host has to pay for the bandwidth, and if you consume a lot of it, they will not silently bear your costs. You should always look for and confirm details on how much traffic the package allows.
Another essential activity is that as your website becomes more popular and you attract more visitors, you will need to also check their policy for overusages: is there a published charge per GB over the allowed bandwidth? It is better not to choose hosts that expect you to prepay for overusages, because it is very hard to predict when your site will exceed its bandwidth and by how much.
Buy What You Need, Upgrade Later
Despite the temptation to have many special features, it is far wiser to select a web host that reflects your immediate business needs. There is no point in signing up for an all-inclusive account with a hosting company if you won’t be using most of their services.
However, make sure that your web hosting is scalable and you will be able to easily upgrade as your site grows in complexity.
Control panels allow you to manage different aspects of your web account yourself. Typically, and at the very minimum, it should allow you to do things like add, delete, and manage your email addresses, and change passwords for your account.
Every webmaster has the responsibiity, and should be capable, to perform maintenance and management activities time and time again, and it would very furstrating if you had to wait for their technical support to make the changes for you.
Price of Web Host Price
While price is always a main factor, you should realise that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best.
In the end, choosing the right web host really depends on your individual needs.
What may constitute the perfect web host for one person may not meet the needs of another. It is up to you to decide, through a combination of logic, research skills, and a bit of luck …