When shopping for a web host it is best to know just what you should be looking for in your website hosting company. Most companies will have similar claims, such as unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, and email. You also want to be sure that the company also has a high percentage of being up and available (99% or higher), 24-7 support, both site and store builders, and more. Therefore, it is up to you to do your homework before selecting your next website hosting company.
The features you should look when Choosing a Web host
- Unlimited hosting (Bandwidth + Storage)
- North American phone support
- Bonus features
- Enhanced malware protection
- Secure site certification
- Malware and spam protection
- Free domain
- Easy site builder
- Online store and selling tools
- Money back guarantee
- Google tools for websites – including Adwords, sitemap, site search, etc.
- Scalability – so you can customize your site
- Dependability – your company should have a reputation built over several years for consistent service and staying power
- Multiple servers to ensure that you and your site are protected
- Powered by Green energy (many companies are becoming more and more environmentally friendly and obtain most if not all of their power from wind and solar sources)
Factors you need to consider when choosing a Web hosting provider include:
You want an affordable provider, but you also need reliability. Remember the old adage, you get what you pay for. You need to make sure that their support department is in-house, not out-sourced. In-house support and quality, reliable hardware is expensive. You need to ensure that you are getting the best provider for your money. You should compare the features each provider offers with the fees before making your decision.
Focus Areas or Specialties–
your website will have its own needs and not every hosting provider will be able to meet your needs. Therefore, you need to assess your needs, such as: is your company well established, growing, or just a small blog? Knowing your current and future needs is vital in order to make the right decision in choosing a web host provider. Each provider will have its strengths and weaknesses. If you are not sure, do not hesitate to contact the provider and ask questions. Make a list of your questions and note the answers. As you go through this process, the chances are that you will have more questions to ask. Do not be afraid to contact a provider more than once to ask additional questions. A good provider should be more than willing to take the time to answer all of your questions.
Features and Limitations –
what do you want and need you site to do. A simple blog will need fewer features than an e-commerce site. There are site features that require plenty of RAM, ample processing power, and disk space in order to function well for you and your customers. Many inexpensive sites are unable to meet those requirements. Make a list of your requirements and consider your future needs as well. Make sure that any provider you consider meets or exceeds your needs. Keep in mind your needs for additional domains, support, backups, and more. Make sure your provider can grow with you.
Technical Support –
this is very important. Your provider should have a good, solid reputation for their support department. You should be able to speak with a real person 24/7 no matter what. Most providers offer multiple levels of support, such as email, toll-free phone, live chat, and more. Make sure that the support department is in-house and hasn’t been out-sourced to another company or country. Make sure that your provider has made customer support a priority.
For example, Hostgator and Bluehost offers live chatting where as there are many webhosting companies, which offer support via Email and support ticket only. If your next hosting company offers support via Twitter and Facebook, it will be added advantage.
There are other things to consider in addition to the four items above. Once you have found providers that meet all of your criteria mentioned above, then the below items will help you to narrow your choices even more.
Features and Add-ons
Now that you have your list of your main choices, you need to decide what makes one provider stand out from the others. What extras do they offer? Does their site make it easy for the novice to set up a site? Do they offer credits for advertising with Google Ads and Yahoo!? Do they have multiple data centers, use Green energy, and offer regular data backups? Is your domain privacy free or is there a cost for that feature? Sometimes your choice might simply come down to a gut feeling or a recommendation by a friend or business acquaintance.
once you have gotten this far, you will want to have some idea of the hardware that your potential provider uses. Your provider should have good quality servers, designed to work together. Many small and new providers use used equipment that they cobbled together. These servers cannot guarantee that your site will always be up and work as expected.
Reputation/Satisfaction/Customer Review –
this is where you will really need to do your homework. Check out each provider you are considering on Twitter or do a Google Blog search. This will give you insight into what their current and former customer really feel about the company. Here is where you will find the information about their customer support department, such as ease of contact for support, average time for a ticket response, and how good are they about following up to ensure that your issues have been resolved. You can use the following websites to obtain more information. Here is a doc maintained by LifeHacker. It provides a list of sites and shows how many of their readers felt that the site was both reliable and affordable. WebHostingtalk s one of the largest web-hosting communities available. .
Email Features –
What email features does your provider offer. Do they provide spam protection? Is your site and email address or addresses protected from viruses and malware? These are important issues to consider. You will most likely have to ask these questions of your potential provider in order to obtain the answers.
Control Panel and User Interface
not everyone is tech savvy and the last thing you want is to be constantly contacting customer support in order to do the least little thing. You should be able to easily install WordPress, set up your email and your FTP (File Transfer Protocol) accounts. You should be able to easily update and modify your site without having to take a bottle of aspirin and block out several hours of your time. The best providers use cPanel or Plesk to make updating and modifying your site easy.
Room to Grow –
as mentioned before; you want to be sure that your provider is capable of allowing your site to grow. You need to have the ability to upgrade your account. While many providers offer that ability, many make upgrading easier than others do. While it is possible to transfer your site to another provider, it is often time consuming and requires additional effort from you.
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