What Crucial Factors Should You Consider When Deciding Which Web Host to Use?March 22, 2018
Not only do you need to ensure your hosting is right from the very beginning, but you must also be sure your hosting plan continues to be the best one for you. Before we jump right into the most important considerations to make when choosing a hosting provider, it’s a good idea to find out exactly what your hosting needs are.
Questions to ask yourself first
Before you even start considering what hosting to obtain, be sure you know the answers to the following questions:
What is the purpose of the website you’re looking to build?
What level of web traffic do you expect to get?
Are you looking to build something basic, perhaps like a WordPress blog?
Do you need any special software for your website?
Will you require a special version of software (i.e. PHP)?
Will you be using Windows applications?
The bottom line is to know what to expect from your website over the next year. If you’re entirely new and starting from scratch, it’s not a bad idea to begin small by getting on a shared hosting plan with a trusted web host. It’s even better if you try to capture the local market first with the right ccTLD domain name such as Domains Name NZ, or a .com.au for the local Australian market or or .co.uk for the UK market et cetera.
Most new sites will not need to scale too much within the first year. When they are eventually ready to move up the ladder, they can always upgrade to dedicated hosting or VPS.
What to look out for in a good web host
● Sufficient server resources
Once you’ve estimated the expected resource usage of your website, it will become easier to find a plan that will be sufficient for your needs, because you know the minimum resources you can deal with. You need to be certain that the disk space, bandwidth, memory allotments, and CPU are sufficient. If a web host does not perform well enough in these areas, it’s better to move on to another host and not risk signing up. Don’t be fooled by web hosts claiming to provide unlimited bandwidth, because the majority impose restrictions. If a hosting plan looks too good to be true, chances are that’s precisely the case.
● Daily server backups
After investing all the time and effort that it takes to fill a website with great content, it can be devastating if you happen to lose all that data. It’s possible you could be attacked and need a backup in order to get your website up and running again. You may lose some data in the process of rectifying a problem with a plugin and will need to restore a fresh backup of your database. This will be easy to do if your web host performs daily backups of your entire account, including your database. The majority of hosting companies offer excellent online backup services, but you will likely have to pay for it.
One of the most important concerns for any online business is security, because you need to keep your customers’ personal and credit account details safe, as much as you need to safeguard your website from crashing due to malware threats or cyber attacks. Look out for web hosts that make use of encryption technology between the server and the user, or between your business server and the web host server. Feel free to ask the web host about how they handle issues such as password storage. Stay away from a web host that stores passwords in plain text format.
● Usability and analytics
As a business owner, you have very limited time to spend on any one task and you’ll likely not want to spend all day trying to upload content to your website. Try to find a web host that offers a control panel that’s easy to use. Not only should it allow you to gain access to and edit all parts of your website, but it should also permit you to use search engine optimisation tools. The login capabilities should be simple and straightforward, whether it’s to access email and other features, or to make updates to content.
Also, be sure to pay attention to the built-in analytics that a web host offers, because they can be crucial for driving your content and marketing strategy. The analytics function should also be easily accessible and updated in real time.
You’re likely to want your website to grow and lead to even more business. In order to achieve that without hassle, you’ll need a web host that can grow with your website and not crash along the way. Hosting brands provide information on their websites to help customers find out when they may need to scale. Only go for a web host with 99.9% uptime (or close) and ensure that your hosting plan is scalable.
● Immediate and long-term cost
As a new business, you’re likely to want the cheapest hosting option that works. It’s important that while you seek an economical option, it’s best to steer clear of enterprises whose reputations you’re unsure of. It’s better to invest in a hosting solution that looks pricey at first, but will save you money in the long run. Having said that, there is a good number of trusted web hosts that offer very reasonable prices for their hosting plans, but be sure to check renewal prices.
Many hosting providers will offer a cheap signup price, but will charge much higher than that for renewal. Generally, web hosting tends to cost less, the more of it you buy. For example, a three-year package will save you more money than a two-year package, in terms of the monthly fees you’ll have to pay. Always check the renewal prices of a web host to be sure you are happy with them.
● Great support services
You don’t want to opt for a website that provides reasonable customer service. Instead, you need one that offers stellar tech support services. They must be easy to reach by email, live chat, or phone, any time of the day and must have quick response times. You might even find a hosting company that offers toll-free numbers for customers in certain regions. Also, be sure to check that they are reachable all hours of the day, because the web never sleeps.
This is even truer for businesses who attract visitors from all over the world. Good tech support is necessary, so you can get help immediately if there’s a problem with your website. If you’re unable to do this, you’ll end up losing money. If you’re looking for a web host that isn’t based in your own country, be sure they offer support in a language that you understand.
Once a web host has satisfied your requirements, go ahead with it and keep a watchful eye on their performance over the next 12 months.