Web hosting is the backbone of any good website. If anything goes wrong with your web hosting, it could have a dramatic and immediate impact on your business. However, there are so many web hosting providers these days that it can be hard to know which one to choose. In the following article, we’ll present you with some of our most useful tips for finding a great web hosting provider.
It’s All About Reliability
Without a doubt, the most important thing to consider when looking for a web hosting service is their reliability. Any down time on a server can cost you custom and money, so check out your potential provider’s track record and their guarantees on uptime. Ask your provider what their backups entail in the event of a utility failure. No provider is going to be able to provide or guarantee 100% uptime – and if they do, they’re lying – so check out their user guarantees and aim for something that’s at least in the 95% and upwards bracket. If it checks out, go for it. If not, stay away and save yourself from losing uptime and money.
Don’t Skimp On Support & Back Up
Tied to the issue of reliability, a provider’s support services and back up procedures have got to be up to scratch before you even consider giving them your details or transferring to their servers. Whatever your business or your location, you’re going to want customer support that’s available 24/7, whether it’s via email or the phone. Of course, email is advantageous because – should things go south – you’ll always have a written trail to refer back to. Back up files are a given for any serious web hosting service. It pays to do your own back up to hard drive, but you can never back up enough and oftentimes the restore process will run a lot quicker from the server side. Of course, any down time can be catastrophic for the hosting company as well, as the recent 24-hour outage at OVH goes to show.
Flexibility Is Good, But Read The Fine Print
Given the changeable nature of the market, flexible contracts are not to be sneered at. Stay away from providers that seek to lock you into contracts or offer a limited ranged of options. Opt for a provider that allows different payment plans or scaled options depending on your intentions, anything that can be scaled within house is good. Ideally, a good provider should offer at least two or three different plans depending on usage and allow you to change plans depending on your needs.
Disk Space & Data Transfers
Whilst most websites don’t take up a lot of space, you should get as much disk space as possible when looking for a hosting plan, unless of course you’re really doing something basic. Oftentimes, web hosting services will target new or small businesses with plans that will constrain or hamper their growth potential, forcing them to purchase costly extras at a later stage or even pay excess monthly fees. Whatever your intentions with your site, plan for growth. Bear in mind of course that web hosting is quite different to website building, which we’ve discussed at length before, and don’t ever allow a hosting provider to impact on the design or layout of your site simply because they can’t or won’t provide sufficient disk space. If that ever happens, it’s time to switch providers.
Read Web Hosting Reviews
If you browse around the web you will see a lot of marketing gurus and beginner guides recommend companies like Bluehost or Hostgator. The reason for this is because they receive a big commission on every sale they refer, which is why it’s super important that you search around for reviews of the hosting company you plan to sign up with. There are several reputable hosting companies review sites such as WebHosting Talk, top5hosting.co.uk, and Web Hosting Geeks which offer a wealth of information on web hosts. Additionally, now with the wide ranging use of social media, do a quick search for your potential web host provider on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit and see what people have to say. Lastly, check out this post for some good cheap web hosting providers.