Finding a suitable web host can be a very tiring process, especially for people who have never done it before. If you select an unreliable web host, you might end up with inadequate features for your site, poor support from customer service and lengthy downtime. Here are some of the factors you need to consider when looking for a web host.
1. Determine your hosting needs
Before choosing any web hosting solution, you need to figure out exactly what you require for your site.
- Do you need an older or newer PHP version?
- Does your site require cart software?
- Do you need windows application?
- Does your site require multiple databases?
- Do you intend to start a WordPress blog?
- What is the expected volume of traffic?
These are some of the questions you need to answer before making a decision. Come up with a one-year plan for your site to determine what your needs are likely to be. Your choice of a web hosting provider should be based on your needs, and not just what other people have recommended. Remember that what has worked for someone else might not necessarily work for you.
2. Uptime guarantees
Uptime refers to the duration which a server is running. A web hosting provider who guarantees an uptime of about 99.9% basically means that your site will remain online throughout. This is vital since business has now gone global. Nowadays, many sites receive visitors from different parts of the world. This means that someone from another continent is likely to land on your site as you sleep. Therefore, if the site goes offline daily at 3am, you may end up losing some potential customers.
Here are some tips for ensuring good uptime with your provider:
- Find out if the company offers an uptime guarantee
- Ask if there is a provision for dealing with a lengthy period of downtime. For instance, there are some web hosting providers who would be willing to refund part of the hosting fees. To avoid incurring extra costs, such providers are likely to do whatever it takes to keep your site online
- Find out if the provider has a back-up plan in the event of a power failure
3. Web hosting features
What features does your hosting solution come with? Do such features meet your needs? Will the web host allow you to add more features as your site grows? These are some of the things you need to consider when choosing a web host.
- Can the control panel be navigated easily?
- Is audio and video streaming supported?
- Is the SQL database easy to handle?
- Does the host offer wizards like MyPHP?
- Is it easy to create new emails and back up your site?
- Is Fantastico installed?
It is not very easy to assess the quality of support. When inquiring about hosting packages, you are likely to receive a fast and friendly response from the provider. However, after paying for the web hosting solution, support might not respond as fast whenever you have problems. The following are some of the ways of evaluating the quality of support.
- How many options are there for reaching the web hosting provider? Find a provider who offers a 1-800 number which can be accessed at any time of the day or night. In addition, the provider should also have an email contact as well as a live chat option
- Find out how much time it usually takes to troubleshoot problems
- Get in touch with some of the clients and ask for their opinion in regards to the web hosting provider’s support
- Visit online forums and read what other people have written about the provider
5. Reviews from others
Reading the reviews of others will prove whether the web hosting provider can deliver on their promises. Make sure the reviews you are reading are genuine and written by real hosting users. However, don’t rule out a web host when you see one or two negative comments about them. But when there are tens of customers complaining about the same web host, you need to be careful.