How to Choose the Best Web Host
An important step to having a website made and managed for your business is the part where you choose who will host the actual site. There seems to be a multitude of options these days to choose from, and settling on just one host can take time and effort. Of course this is important as the host you choose will be responsible for ensuring that your website is always up and running, and visible to your target audience. Finding a reliable and reputable hosting service can be quite a difficult task.
In order to start the search you should have an idea of what your hosting needs are. Secondly you must be willing to test “top candidates” which is a great way to ensure that you are making the right decisions for your business. Remember that your needs will differ from others’ so it’s best to shop around with your specific requirements in mind.
The following are a few things to consider when shopping around for a website hosting service and company:
What type of website do you want?
If it is a fun website that you just want to get creative with, then you will find many free sites available online. If you are setting up a business website or something that you want to look more professional or unique, then you will definitely need to invest in your own domain name and a paid hosting service.
Do they assist you with a user-friendly website builder tool?
Many hosting companies these days will offer you just that. A place where you can create pages for your website with ease as everything is automated on their system.
How much web space do they offer?
If you have a hefty website planned with lots of images, just make sure that the host can provide you with sufficient space and speed.
How many email addresses will they offer you with your domain?
It isn’t great to have an unprofessional sounding email address. Many hosting companies will offer you a website with email accounts attached that you can name as you wish. Remember to check with them if there are sufficient mail accounts attached to your company website, ideally you should get a few free with your profile.
Are stats provided?
Be careful with this one. One of the major marketing tracking tools that your website provides is that of stats. If you can view your stats each month you can tell where your visitors are finding your site, what keywords they are searching for and so on. Some hosting companies will include this in the package at no extra charge while others will expect you to pay an additional monthly or annual fee in order to offer this. This is not really something you need to pay for as there are other tracking services online which are free, like Google Analytics.
What sort of customer service is on offer?
The last thing you want is to realise that your website has gone down during a major 24-hour sale that you are running, and your hosting service provider only gets back to you 2 days later to resolve the problem. Test the service providers’ response to technical queries and questions in order to ascertain the type of urgency they afford their clients. Some of the best hosting companies are able to offer their clients 24-hour support, 7 days a week. Now that’s service!
How are files uploaded?
It is best to have a variety of options offered for this. The most common of all is the FTP upload option. Check to see what the service provider offers, especially if you are going to hire an external graphic designer to create your website for you. Chat with your designer to see what requirements they have in terms of uploading and supported file formats, and so on.
Are secure shopping features made available?
If you are planning on including a shopping cart or section on your website that requires a secure connection to protect details that are sensitive, then you are going to need to ensure that they host is able to support such add-ons and features. Security is something that you cannot compromise on when it comes to online sales, collection of credit card payments and personal information.
What is the cost and how is it charged?
How much you pay for your hosting is relatively important. The best way to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for is to just make enquiries with other providers and further compare all of the quotations. Ensure that you are paying a suitable amount and that there is room to grow should your website need to host more information or is destined to become busier. Some hosting services will bill you monthly while others will allow you to pay an annual fee which can be renewed each year. Debit orders from your bank account are a quick and convenient way to ensure that your hosting is paid on time, every time.
There are probably no absolutely, 100% perfect hosting companies out there. What is perfect for you and your needs might not be perfect for someone else and their business. The best course of action is to shop around and make comparisons of detailed quotations. Remember that a high price does not necessarily mean that someone is offering a superior product. And much the same can be thought of a low price – cost-effective rates do not necessarily mean an inferior service.
Take the time to chat to see which service providers others in your field of expertise have chosen to use. You might find that you can save a great deal by supporting local small businesses too. When you are considering having a website designed for your business it is also advised that you take on the services of a team or an individual who can handle all of your online marketing affairs. This means that you won’t have to deal with setting anything up, ensuring that the site is always running and current and so on.