Just like you need a place to live, your website will need a place to live on the Internet. This means that you will need to find a company that will host your site and make sure that your readers, customers and others can access it whenever they need or want to. If you are in the market for a new host, what questions should you ask yourself before making the switch?
1. What Do Others Have to Say About This Company?
Ideally, you will read user reviews and ask for opinions of others who have used or are using a host that you are interested in. If you hear mostly positive feedback, you know that you have the host for you. If you see mixed reviews or negative feedback, you may want to contact the company to see if these issues are true or whether or not they have been resolved already.
2. How Good is the Customer Service and Support?
If you have a question, will someone be there to answer it in a timely manner? Furthermore, you should find out how they will answer your question. In some cases, being able to talk to someone on the phone is much easier than a live chat or an email exchange back and forth. You should also find out if there anyone who can help you migrate to a new host or if you have to figure that out for yourself.
3. How Much Does Hosting Cost?
Many hosts will offer tiered service plans that fit a variety of needs and budgets. Lower end packages may provide you with a website, access to your FTP and a number you can call if you need help. Higher paying plans may give you more bandwidth and dedicated support in real time whenever you need it. When shopping for a host, be sure that you know what you need to ensure that you aren’t paying too much for services you might not use.
4. How Secure are the Servers Used to Host Your Site?
Site security should be among your top priorities if you are storing sensitive information or conduct eCommerce transactions on your site. Therefore, you should find out if there have been any security breaches in the past, who is responsible for them and what recourse you may have if you lose money because of a security breach.
5. How Many Sites are Sharing Server Space?
Unless you are buying your own private server, you will likely be competing with other sites for bandwidth. In a way, a shared server is a lot like an apartment complex where you have a dedicated space within a larger building. If there are fewer people in that building, it is easier to get in and out and less chance of a security breach. Therefore, you should look to work with a host that limits the number of sites per server to increase security and decrease your site’s loading time.
6. How Often Are Site Backups Conducted?
Having a backup copy of your site can be helpful if you are hacked or otherwise have issues with your site. Instead of having to shutdown, you can revert back to the time of your most recent site save. Ideally, you will be able to save your data at any point, but you should insist that a backup be done at least once a day. It is also important to know where and how the backups are stored if you need access to them for any reason.
7. What’s Your Average Uptime?
You won’t be able to sell goods or educate your readers through your content if your site isn’t up and running. A good host will be up at least 99.8 percent of the time with 99.9 being the sweet spot. Anything less than that means that you host either isn’t good with technology, doesn’t have a lot of experience or simply doesn’t care about their customers.
When you migrate to a new host, it isn’t a decision that you should take lightly. It could take hours or days to migrate from your old host to a new one, and it could cost several hundreds of dollars in upfront and other fees. Therefore, you need to make the right choice the first time to ensure a smooth transition for your site and everything associated with it.