Web Hosting 101: Things to Avoid and Remember in Web Hosting
Web hosting is something we all deal with each day. Without a good web hosting company supporting a website, there’s a good chance of regular downtime and negative customer reviews.
For some entities, a reliable web hosting service is a legal requirement. Take a look at websites which hold health information as an example. They must have HIPAA compliant hosting, which means hosting that is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
To make sure you’re using the right company for your new web hosting venture, take a look at these things to avoid and remember in web hosting.
Avoid Cheap Companies
Overly cheap web hosts will not provide you with any value for money. Whilst it’s true you won’t have to worry about paying a lot of money, the service you get in return makes this a poor option to choose. We always want to get the best deals, but it should never come at the expense of quality.
Cheap and free web hosting packages will not have the support your website needs to maintain a near 100% uptime level. You have to take into account the fact your customers will shun your site if you fail to maintain it properly.
Be willing to pay a little more for the quality you need. Web hosting isn’t an expensive proposition anyway. Saving a few dollars isn’t going to make any difference to your balance sheet in the grand scheme of things.
Every Web Host is Different
A common misconception about web hosting is all the best hosting providers do exactly the same things. This isn’t the case. Every host has unique packages targeted towards a certain audience.
One web host might offer awesome dedicated servers, but they haven’t yet moved into cloud hosting. Other web hosts offer packages with lots of scalability and flexibility to suit the needs of growing businesses.
Carefully read through the marketing copy put in place by the company. You need to make sure your web host can suit your current and future needs. Changing web hosts at a later date is a major hassle you don’t want to go through.
Web hosting is just like having a computer. You have to take into account the RAM and processing speed available with your package. If you’re hosting a website filled with lots of different media types, one of the main issues you’re going to come up against is a slow website.
Google has zero tolerance for slow websites. If your site takes longer than five seconds to render, you’re going to get penalized in the rankings. The first step to choosing the right package is to ascertain what you’re going to place on your website.
The web host will be able to help you out with choosing something suitable. You can either read through their sales brochure, or get in contact with their customer support team. Tell them what you want on your website, as well as things you might want in the future, and pick something accordingly.
As a general rule of thumb, the more diverse content you have on your website the more processing power you’ll need to make everything render quickly.
There are multiple ways web hosting companies deal with customer support. Firstly, they’ll offer different ways of contacting them. Some offer phone lines, Skype channels, or live chat. Others only offer plain old email support.
Never underestimate the power of tech support. It’s only when you really need them you value the speed at which they can respond. They could mean the difference between your site being offline for half an hour and your site being offline for the next few hours, and that can mean a lot of lost opportunities.
Beware of some hosting companies outsourcing their work to third-world countries. This isn’t a slight against other cultures, but when most Americans call tech support they want to talk to someone who speaks the language fluently. So many hosting providers have lost customers because their tech support department has been outsourced to Pakistan or India.
What Makes them Special?
Every hosting company should have some sort of unique selling point. You want a web hosting service which can genuinely help your business. You want a specialist to support you. If a company doesn’t have something like this, it’s a sign.
It’s a message they have no ambition or passion for what they do. It shows they don’t particularly care about a specific audience. It demonstrates they haven’t put much effort into their work.
You have to pick up on little signs like this. It’s often the main differentiator between two competitors.
Remember the Message of Security
We could dedicate an entire section to the importance of security, but that would be superfluous. You already know security is an integral part of protecting your website. And we don’t need to tell you part of your research should involve looking at the security arrangements of a web hosting company.
What you do need to look at is your own security. Remember, web hosting doesn’t mean the responsibility for your website falls on the company. You still have to take responsibility for the security on your end.
This is something a lot of web masters fail to grasp. They don’t understand the web hosting company only has an obligation to safeguard against attacks on their end. It’s still your responsibility to make sure your anti-virus systems are up to date and you have strong passwords.
You’ll need to do some extra research for this. Find out about the hardware the organization uses. If they’re using the latest hardware, it shows they consider performance a priority.
To find this information, you might have to explore the website deeply. It’s usually a document hidden deep within the website. You might find this information in the ‘Corporate’ section.
If you can’t find the information, contact the customer support line. They should be able to supply you with this data.
Any web hosting company should use cPanel or Plesk for their interface. If they don’t offer something similar to these two options, walk the other way. These are proven to be secure. They offer beginners easy access to every aspect of their website and the web host itself.
It’s pointless paying for a package when half the time you’re trying to find out how to perform basic functions.
These are some of the ways the right web hosting provider can improve online business for you. There are other factors you need to look out for, but these are the foundations of any good web hosting package/company.
About the Author: Richard Myers is an app developer, tech buff and an overall geek. Years of working with servers of all kinds has endowed him with the knowledge that he now likes sharing with anyone who needs his help.
Featured image by: lastnychero