Both large and small web hosting companies want to work with you, which makes it difficult to narrow down the choices once you start exploring your various hosting options. The other main problem is that just because you find an amazing company that comes highly recommended, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good fit for your particular endeavors.
Here are 10 factors to consider before you finally settle on a web host.
1. Know Your Needs
This factor can get companies into trouble because they often don’t know their needs until they’ve been in business for a little while. However, in general, you should be able to tell a web hosting company what types of applications, features, and software you want for your visitors.
2. Server Downtimes
A good web hosting company needs to be able to keep your site up at all costs. So, barring a huge natural disaster, it should be able to handle minor power outages or traffic spikes. This means if you have a huge online sale every month to clear out your inventory, your customers won’t get a page that’s loading for 5 minutes before crashing.
3. Volume Now Vs. Volume Later
If you’re just starting out, then you may want to use popular shared hosting sites, which are generally easy to set up to get your feet wet. When properly configured, these shared hosting sites can handle up to 40,000 unique visitors a month. Practically, any web hosting company will be able to give you the bandwidth and capacity you want. So, unless you’ve got millions of people who will be flocking to your site, don’t be fooled by capacity claims right away. However, if you expect your site to start really taking off, you may want to sign up with a company that can easily upgrade the website so you can have faster processing speeds and more storage space.
4. Security Breaches
Hackers are most interested in companies with fewer than 100 people, and many businesses are severely disrupted by even minor breaches. Even the best web hosting company can’t guarantee you immunity, just like the best police force can’t be there to watch your back every second of the day. However, you need to take into account the record of the web hosting company and the measures they take to protect you before you go any further.
5. Domain Names
Domain names are generally inexpensive, and they can be easily manipulated. You can buy and sell them, or use them yourself if your business grows or changes. You want a web host that can accommodate you with the additional space if you want to go this direction.
6. Cancellation Policy
Sometimes, things just don’t work out, but breaking up can be hard to do with some web hosting companies. If a representative starts dodging the question, it may be because they are very stingy with their refunds.
7. Online Store Options
Taking credit cards over the computer can be risky business, so find out how the web hosting company handles security issues. Your site doesn’t have to be awash with the most expensive graphics, but you do need to make the experience easy for a user to follow. Find out what types of security options your host company offers before you sign up.
8. Interface Usability
A web hosting company is hardly going to further your business if you can’t even use the interface. Some programs are simply more intuitive than others. Before you start confusing yourself or your employees, you need to ensure you’re comfortable using their control panel. If you’re immediately frustrated with the system, then it doesn’t bode well for proper continued use.
9. Customer Support
Your site is up every hour of the day, so you may want to have support for all of those hours as well. A major security breach can cause irreparable damage to your brand in seconds, so customer support is not just a luxury here.
10. Backing It All Up
You should know how often your web hosting company performs backups. You should also choose a company that puts the power in your hands, too. Look for companies that offer cron jobs which help maintain the software through timed updates.