How to Avoid Problems With Your Web Host
Here are 10 tips that will help business owners choose the right web host; avoiding mistakes that can create big problems later.
1. Know What Kind of Web Host You Need
Understanding the needs of your business can help narrow your web hosting options. If you plan to build a website that features video blogging, 24-hour live streaming and the ability for visitors to register and upload their own videos, your website would require more features than someone who just uses their website as a virtual resume. Websites that receive a lot of daily traffic will likely not function well on a shared server because these servers are designed to accommodate a lot of small websites that have limited demands.
2. Choose the Right Hosting Package
Many small businesses turn to shared hosting as a way to save money, but with the smaller price tag comes a bigger risk of slow website response times. Slow websites turn customers away. An option like a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is slightly more expensive, but it provides a faster, higher quality web performance and delivers a better customer experience.
3. Read Web Hosting Reviews
Refer to reputable websites when doing research on the reliability and reputation of web hosts. Researching a web hosting company through third party reviews is very useful in discovering any consistent issues or persistent complaints from current or past users. Pay attention to how the company responds to complaints, if the company responds at all. This will give you an idea of how the company deals with unhappy customers.
Knowing Your Hosting Needs
You can never get the right web host without knowing what you need. So before you go any further – put everything aside (including this guide you are reading) and think thoroughly on your own needs.
- What kind of website are you building?
- Do you want something common (a WordPress blog, for example)?
- Do you need Windows applications?
- Do you need a special version of software (ie. PHP)?
- Does your website need special software?
- How big (or small) can the web traffic volume go?
These are some of the basic questions you need to answer for yourself.
Have a quick picture of what you want to do with your website now. Figure what happens next for the next 12 months.
4. Get the Right Amount of Bandwidth
While most new websites don’t use a lot of bandwidths, it is important to leave room for growth. Make sure the web hosting company you choose doesn’t lock you into a certain amount bandwidth and then charge you additional fees if you need to revise your hosting plan later.
Related Article: 4 Things That Will Have a Huge Impact on Your Website Performance in 2016
5. Don’t Get Stuck on Price
When you’re a new business owner with a limited budget, the web hosting company offering the lowest price might be very tempting. As cliché as it sounds, remember: you get what you pay for. The cheapest price might just result in slow servers, poor customer service, constant downtime, and an association with thousands of unprofessional websites that you would be embarrassed to share with your grandmother.
6. Read the Terms of Service
No, really. Read the Terms of Service. Don’t just skim through them. Read them. Most people accept the Terms of Service without bothering to read exactly what they’re signing. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Stop doing it. The Terms of Service usually includes the refund policy, which might be good to know later.
7. Test Customer Support
When you are researching web hosting companies, always look for a way to contact customer support. Can you find a quick and easy way to contact them via email, online chat, or 24/7 phone support? Yes? Great. Now test them. Be sure to test each feature before you purchase their services to see if they meet the needs of your company.
8. Know the Backup Plan
It doesn’t really matter why your website is down or why you have lost your website’s data. You need to know if the web hosting company you choose has a backup plan to help you recover just in case. Ask them, “What’s the plan, Stan?” If you’re not comfortable with the answer, you know what you need to do.
9. Ask About Security Features
Security breaches happen, even to the mom-and-pop store in that small town in Idaho that has a population of 2,000. Make sure your web hosting company can provide Secure Sockets Layer to safeguard your customer’s private information. This is an essential feature in providing customers with safe transactions and it should be a feature that’s provided by the web hosting company.
10. Avoid the New Guy Who Can’t Handle Growth
Many times new companies offer low prices hoping they’ll make up for it with a large influx of clients. However, most new hosting companies are not equipped to successfully manage that many clients at once. It’s best to stick with a more established company that can deal with growth without compromising their clients’ experience.
When web hosting companies experience growth too quickly and they don’t have the resources to handle it, that creates problems for business owners like downtime, slow page loads, lost revenue, and negative effects on search rankings.