What are some ways to determine which Web hosts are good? Are disk storage and bandwidth as important as they used to be? Which service is the best to go with? Like most business owners and entrepreneurs, your business needs a website in order to reach its full audience potential. Because of this, when website host problems arise, it’ll directly impact your bottom line. There’s little worse than choosing the wrong web host that does go down without warning, has poor customer service or overcharges what it costs to get add-ons.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting might make a fine, cheap solution for your personal website needs. However, businesses can’t afford to make the mistake of choosing the wrong web host; they’ll be placed on an overbooked server that competes for its resources on a regular basis. Anyone can set up a server and start a hosting website, but you as the customer will need to share the space with everyone else who bought in. It’s like renting out a room in an apartment that already has a tenant in every building; another person taking up space will reduce resources that much more quickly, which makes it uncomfortable for everyone who lives there.
2. Too Much Focus on Cost
It’s tempting to grab a hosting plan that offers introductory pricing; they’re designed to make the sale look more appealing. The trouble is most won’t tell you that the second year suddenly costs much more than you paid. On top of that, the first year limits you to a basic account that has few benefits aside from extra space on the server.
It could be nice if you’re just interested in extra space and no other features, but you will likely wish you had gone with the additional features down the line as your goals evolve. It is entirely possible to upgrade with your host, but many unscrupulous ones don’t tell you just how expensive it will cost for you to do so.
3. Web Hosting Reviews
It’s just good sense to review something before committing to it. When looking up reviews for a given web host, check for anything that sets off a red flag, such as:
- Recent cluster of similar complaints
- Complaints about down time and customer service
- Complaints about security vulnerabilities and viruses.
When performing a search for a hosting company review, look for search terms like “(hosting company name) review” or “(hosting company name) complaints” and similar.
4. Hosting Restrictions
When reviewing a hosting company, you might find information in the fine print regarding how much space and bandwidth you can actually use on so-called “unlimited” plans before experiencing service throttling. This information is essential because if your website uses such limits, you might suddenly experience down time or be kicked from the host.
Beware of restrictions like these as well:
- No SSH
- Cannot have multiple POP accounts
- Cannot add statistics
- Cannot install your own software
The website may not readily list their restrictions, which means you get to ask questions to ensure you can run your site as needed. For instance, can you use SSH? Are you allowed to use a shopping cart?
5. Customer Service
Many people consider this to be the ultimate factor in picking a host. If your website goes down, can you contact a live person with the phone? Will they be able to figure out what the problem is and fix it, or can they at least inform you what is needed to bring your site back online?
Before getting an account with a new host, check for their customer support reputation. In fact, check the site itself and see how many ways you can contact them and during which hours.
6. Brand New Startup
It would be wrong to say that all new companies are bad, because everyone started somewhere. However, some of the worst web hosts tend to be brand new. They’re excited and offer great deals to rope in new customers, providing free perks and other incentives. Unfortunately, they’re deeply experienced and that catches up in just a few months.
They gain a few too many customers and don’t have the resources to manage everyone. The servers begin to go down, and the users are all taking advantage of features that they were given. Everyone experiences growing pains, but you don’t want your website to suffer as a result of someone else’s. For the most stability, it’s best to stick with a company that already knows how to deal with growth spurts after having had a few in the past.
7. User Interface
Even if you are the last one in your office anybody would ask for tech support, there are a few things, like establishing email, creating an FTP account or installing a new blog program, that should be easy to accomplish with the click of a button.
Does the provider use an intuitive interface like Plesk or cPanel, or does it try to use some interface that is hard to navigate? If you’re the one using the interface often, you should be sure you can handle using it without any problems.
Ultimately, when picking a new web host, it’s important to trust your instincts. You might come across a host that doesn’t violate any of these points and seems to have a good history with customers and reviews, but if your gut it saying that something is too good to be true or that something is weird, then trust yourself. With the sheer number of different providers out there offering inexpensive hosting plans, there’s no need to go in blind and take a risk with your new website.