Selecting a web hosting company is an important, big decision that has many consequences. The hosting company is responsible for the reliability and speed of your website, causing your users to leave your platform with either a bad or good impression.
Whether you are looking to move an existing site to a new provider, or want to host your first website, keeping in mind all the following items can help you make a right choice for your business.
1. Physical Hardware
Hardware used in running your website has been important to consider, so, it is better if you take time to research the server types used by hosting providers. Is high-speed SSD storage included?
Does the server use redundant devices like RAID-configured devices? What is the response time in case of replacing damaged hardware? Keep these questions in mind when choosing a hosting provider.
2. Technical Support Team
No matter how good a hosting provider is, there will always be a time when you will need them. Check with them if they are offering support at your comfortable or working time.
If you are running a business that needs hosting services throughout the day, you would want to hire a service that can serve you anytime a day.
3. Response Time
Some web hosts require their users to work through their ticketing system while others use live web chat, phone-in option or want you to reach them via email.
Choose what is convenient for you. Do you need them during certain hours or for 24/7? A quick response time is important for you to keep your business up and running.
The reputation of a hosting provider is probably the first thing you should consider while choosing one. Reading online reviews can help to a certain extent.
However, if you want to get detailed reviews, join forums or communities of webmasters, where they share their experience with different hosting providers.
You can, in fact, put your question as well to gain insight on the decision you are planning to make.
5. Hosting Features
Besides providing you a server to host your site’s contents, many hosting providers offer many features either for free or as add-ons.
Depending on your needs, you can choose the hosting providers. Here are a couple of features that you might want to look in your hosting service provider-
a) Disk Storage & Bandwidth Limitations
Some hosting providers offer unlimited disk storage and bandwidth while many offer them in a limited. However, it is important you read the TOS because you can’t store just anything.
b) Software Installation Script Library
Webhosting providers facilitate the customers with software installation script library, basically, the library contains the script to install the software, basic commands to start the process.
Once you run these scripts the software will be configured in the hosting account.
c) SSL Certificates
These certificates are important for any business that uses financial information of their users. SSL certificates ensure that the sensitive information of your users isn’t visible to anyone except the server you are sending this information to.
d) Daily Backups
Many hosting providers backup your data every four hours. Some offer weekly backup. Depending on the sensitivity of your data, you can choose a service that fits your requirements.
e) Site Migration
At times, businesses need to move their server data and configuration from one platform to another, such as from a 1&1 Cloud Server to a 1&1 virtual server. This act is done manually, but you need servers that support such features.
f) SPAM Protection
Protecting your website from irrelevant and spammed content is also taken care with the help of servers. It is usually an add-on service by hosting solutions, which is essential if you don’t have any other plugin on your website to keep your website clean.
6. Price Of Hosting
Perhaps the most important, price of hosting is nowhere near uniform. Only by contemplating different hosting service provider will you find the one that offers great quality within a reasonable range.
Also, make sure you determine their accepted payment methods and look for discounts before zeroing on one.
As stated above, joining relevant communities can help in this regard pretty much as you get to interact with people who are already using the hosting services of different providers.
7. Control Panel
Once your website is live, you will need a control panel to manage it. On this interface, you can perform a manual backup, configure additional domains, reset your servers, etc.
Two of the most popular control panel options are Plesk and cPanel. Most of the hosting providers offer either of these interfaces to users for managing the websites.
However, what matters is the simplicity of the interface, which will help you to operate your website easily.
8. Content Delivery Network
As the name suggests, CDN enables your website to efficiently and quickly serve a large number of users with the content.
If your site serves large files, have high bandwidth requirements, or have some other relevant demands, you will need a Content Delivery Network that matches your requirement.
Performance of a CDN matters the most as you don’t want to portray a bad image of your brand. So, choose a server that not only has incredible CDN but also makes CDN integration easy for you.
9. Website Security
In addition to other vulnerabilities, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are another form of cyber attacks that hit millions of websites on a daily basis at a rate of tens or hundreds of gigs per second. Protection of your website is just to avoid such vulnerabilities.
As most of the hosting providers offer basic DDoS protection or security/firewall to protect your website, you should look for additional security.
Important, effective threat mitigation available nowadays involves routing the traffic to your website through a service, which scrubs out hackers and spammers before they have an opportunity to damage your content.
10. Room For Growth
While starting your business, you would probably want a simple, shared hosting account, but as you grow, your hosting needs will likely grow commensurately. It is better to keep these things in mind beforehand.
You may look at the options that provide expansion options for dedicated servers, Virtual Private Servers, cloud hosting, etc.
If you carefully consider the points mentioned above to find out a potential web host, it will save you a lot of efforts, time and money in the long run.
Not only you will have a quality service at a competitive rate, but will also be able to find hosting servers that suit your business needs.