There are several facts that one needs to consider before deciding where to store his or her website.
Gone are the days when it was merely a matter of choice whether you’ll have your company’s website at all or not.
In fact, numerous companies of today should not and cannot afford themselves even a few minutes of web site’s unavailability, because their clients will not be able to order, inform themselves, make contact. All this means it is necessary to keep eyes wide open when choosing your host provider. However, it is easier said than done, for today there are “mom and dad” providers that keep servers in their own room, as well as serious companies with several dozen employees, while both price and service vary from one host to another. So, how do you know whether to spend 100 or 1000 euros per year on web hosting? Here, we are citing a couple of suggestions that we stumbled upon, from company owners and experts in this ares, so that you could make an easier choice.
First of all, you need to ask yourself what kind of support do you need, says Angela Nielsen, president and creative director of One Lily agency, web design and hosting company from Barstowe. The worst thing that can happen is that website ceases to work or e-mails stop working, adds Nielsen. Nobody can guarantee that some kind of halt won’t emerge, but when it does, it is fairly important to be able to rely on support that will solve it right away. This means finding a hosting provider with a highly expert and available support, the one that speaks your language and is willing to deal with the problem immediately.
Do find out whether you can park your company’s other domains with ease. This is extremely important, says Beatrice Johnston, CEO of Brand Excitement, a branding agency from New York. Many agencies purchase .com, .net, .org domains of their brand, as well as erroneously written domains, domains with the name of the product. It is of huge importance that brand management team sets all of the domains into their control panel, lest they lose one single visitor.
A suitable backup managed by your host provider is so important it cannot be overstressed. What can happen is that, by pure mistake, you delete the entire web site. Should that occur, you should be able to call your hosting provider and ask them to restore your web site from a backup. Hosting provider will then present you with available options – from which date should the restored files be, do you want a complete backup or certain parts of your website only. In any case, they will restore your website into the previous state, as if nothing bad happened. Find out what are the procedures of your web host in the case of impending disaster, and what would also be desirable is to backup already existing backups, to a geographically remote location.
The last thing you want your visitors to see during their stay on your web site is a blank page. So what you really have to do is to buy a hosting option at a provider that has a good uptime reputation and redundancy. Your web site cannot be available 24/7 if web host has frequent interruptions in server’s functioning, claims Nielsen. Make sure you find a hosting provider with a 99% of availability, so that you can be completely certain that your web site will indeed be visible.
With some hosting providers, it is quite difficult to inscribe certain changes into your account. If so, avoid them. Your hosting provider has got to let you have a full access to your account so that you could add new e-mail addresses, make changes in your surrounding’s configuration and so on. It is of utmost importance to have unobstructed access to e-mail account, in case your Outlook doesn’t work or you are not at your computer; therefore, it is necessary to have an online solution to accessing your e-mail, in order to check your inbox at any time. Most providers offer this service, but beware of those who don’t.
One of the significant things of today is to have your own blog with addons for sharing your content on social networks, especially if you are a firm or a large company. You might think you don’t need it at first, but as you will most certainly do your share of blogging later, make sure your provider fulfills minimal technical conditions for unobstructed functioning of WordPress, a leading blogging platform. Today, most companies utilize WordPress for main web site also, not only blog, but still there are hosting providers that do not support WordPress.
To share or not to share
One of the ways to save money while hosting your web site is to install it onto so called “shared hosting”. What this means is that your website shares server’s resources with tens, if not hundreds of other web sites, which allows you to cash out a significantly small sum of money during a one year period of hosting. The trouble looms when one of those web sites hosted on the very same server exhibits problems that can reflect on every other web site hosted on that server, says Roland Reinhart, owner of Reinhart Marketing Group from New Jersey. To own a web site with a quick response is quite important in a sense that your visitors will not leave your web site in a snap, due to impatience, and so that Google doesn’t punish your web site by removing it from search results due to slow opening of a web page. If you deem your site response speed important, do consider a virtualization and purchasing a VPS server, which is a little more complicated for maintenance and more costly than shared hosting, but what you get is a web server of much higher quality and higher performance.
Even if you find your hosting provider’s pricing satisfying, you need to be aware of what you are paying for. Hosting providers often grab user’s attention through low starting price, only to charge extra every additional service. You pay up, your package is activated, you set up your web site and you need to create your e-mail address and your provider issues an invoice. Then you wish to add another SQL database – invoice! You desire a blog – invoice strikes again!
Even though your company may be small and developing at first, bear in mind that your business – and your web site with it – will grow with time and that, therefore, you need a provider that can keep up with your growth. In other words, you need to establish whether your hosting provider support visiting peaks and spikes. Scott Gerber from the Council of Young Entrepreneurs of America had one such problem with website being down just as NY Times published a story about him and his business. You need to make sure your host can easily withstand sudden increase in web site traffic. Also, assure yourself that your hosting provider does not charge a possible traffic increase on your web site.
Even though you may feel at home and cosy with your new hosting provider, read the fine print and comprehend your duties towards provider. Always consider what are the options and terms of migrating to another host, as well as domain transfer to another owner. Provider that is sure of themselves and their services will not make it hard for you.
What are your experiences with hosting providers and do you consider these points when buying or changing your web host?