Factors to consider when selecting a Web Hosting company
One of the important factors for today’s businesses to grow and succeed is to have a 24×7 functional and responsive website. Hence, the decision of selecting a reliable web host becomes crucial, and often, a headache. When the needs of the business and the offerings of the web host do not match, the results are mostly disastrous. That shouldn’t happen because more often than not, the website and the association of the business and web host is presumed to last for many years.
Following are the factors to contemplate while working upon the options of various web hosts before you finally zero in on ‘the one’.
Identifying your website needs
If you want a perfect web host for your website, this is the most crucial factor you should know of. Ask yourself basic questions like, what kind of website you need? Which platform, software, or script you want in it? Do you want multiple or single websites? How much traffic it can generate? What are your ambitions? What are the long term and short term aims with the website? Etc. The more you know, the easier it will be to finalize the web host.
Identifying the appropriate web hosting package
Most of the newbies go for the shared hosting plan, but it is not for all. Some websites like e-commerce are better-off starting with a higher plan like VPS or even Dedicated. While other websites like a local business, personal portfolio, blogging are good with a shared hosting plan. Although shared hosting is the cheapest, it is also less reliable as compared to others with issues like slow website speeds, downtime, etc.
Signup and renewal price
Whichever plan and rate you choose for your website, check whether it is a heavily discounted price or not; because in such cases, the renewal price will be more than double. Ideally, the renewal price should be less than double, for e.g. if the signup price is $4/month, then the renewal price should not go beyond $8/month.
Whether you are taking a long term plan or just for a year or two; later on, the renewal price should be affordable to you, unless you plan to change the web host. Also, read all the Terms of service carefully before you sign on the deal. You should know in details what you are signing up for.
Trial period and refund policy
Every web host offers some trial, and it is a great way to try out the web host before signing a long term deal. Most of them give a 30-day trial, while some also a 45 or 60-day trial period. Test each and every feature that you are getting in this period. Also, check their refund policy; later you don’t want to get stuck in a battle with them for your money and in the dilemma of choosing the next web host.
Server reliability and uptime
It is crucial to keep your website online for all 24 hours of the day, hence, look out for the uptime claims of the web hosts. An uptime of about 99.95% is the current industry average. Never chose a web host whose actual uptime score, after testing, is below 99%. Even one second of unplanned downtime can cause big damage to your business.
Add-on domains and upgrade options
After a few months or so, you might feel the need for more websites, domain names and sub-domains; to further grow your business and operations area. Check this factor before you buy the hosting plan itself. See and compare the various plans of the same and different web hosts regarding how many domains they are providing in a single plan/account. The simplest plan gives only one domain, while the higher and expensive plans give unlimited domains.
For upgrading options, chose a web host who offers room to grow. As you migrate from the Shared hosting plan to VPS or Dedicated, the rates should be affordable, the features should suit the website requirements. Hence, study the higher plans too, before you start your association with the web host from the Shared hosting plan.
Go for the web host that offers a 24×7 customer support connection to you, via multiple mediums like chat, mail, and telephone support. It is essential to keep the website functioning smoothly and solve every problem as soon as possible. It is advised to test the support channels of the potential web hosts. You can do it during the trial period or even without it. The customer representative should be responsive, polite, friendly and vastly knowledgeable about all things hosting. They should satisfy all your queries and problems promptly.
A full backup of your website is one good solution for many problems like equipment failure, website or computer crashes, hacking and replacing index.php file, etc. and these problems do not occur rarely. Check with the web hosts whether they perform regular and full backups of websites, can it be done manually from the control panel, just in case; can you yourself do a site restore from the backups when the need arises, etc. Don’t choose a web host whose backup plans are not top-notch.
One factor on which the security of your website depends is the infrastructure of the web host; besides the admin password strength, behavior, etc. Some other features to look out in a web host are the availability of a good firewall, antivirus and malware scanning facilities, and how strong these two are. The web host should also provide the option of SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) to you and the SSL certificate for the website; which has become crucial and compulsory in today’s times. Some more security features would be an added advantage.