14 Factors to consider when choosing a web hosting provider
Posted on December 12, 2018
Choosing the best web hosting company for your website can be a tough task, especially if you are new and do not know much about web hosting features that would fit your needs. There are many different factors to consider in order to make a good decision when choosing a web host.
In this guide, I will take you through the most important factors to help you choose a host that best suits your website’s needs.
1. Company Reputation
Most of the hosting providers among your choices have already had a ton of customers who will tell their satisfaction or dissatisfaction on the company services. You can get information about a firm from the former or current customers such as how easy it is to contact them, how long do they take to respond, how long do they take to fix a problem when it occurs, etc.
If a hosting company has a top-notch reputation, it probably provides excellent customer service and experiences very little downtime.
You can evaluate a firm by visiting online forums and host rating websites. You can also ask the owners of reliable, well-respected websites about their hosting providers.
Getting to their social media pages/profiles and going through their timelines to see how people comment about their services is a great way to get to know their reputation.
2. Reliable Customer Support
It is almost given that at a particular point you will face technical challenges when setting up or maintaining your website. At this time, you will require the help of the provider.
It is good to rest assured that your provider will always be available for you when you need them.
A great hosting company should have a customer care team that is supportive, reachable (either through telephone, live chat, or email), and available around the clock.
You can test the customer service by asking a few questions before establishing an account.
3. Uptime Guarantee
Uptime is the span of time the servers are up and running, measured in percentage.
Equipment failures, power outages, or a loss of Internet service at the hosting provider can result in downtime for a website where it becomes unavailable. Though there is no such thing as 100% uptime for any host, you do not want your visitors to come to your site and find it down. Excellent hosts offer 99.999% uptime or better.
You should choose a host that assures you at least a 99% uptime guarantee.
4. Easy to use Control Panel
A web hosting control panel is a web-based interface provided by a web hosting service that allows users to manage their servers and hosted services. Not everyone is tech-savvy and the last thing you want is to keep contacting customer support to do every small thing for you.
cPanel, Plesk, and Vdeck are among the widely used hosting control panels. It doesn’t really matter which control panel you have, as long as it is user-friendly and comes with all the necessary functions.
You should always seek to know which control panel a provider offers(and how easy is it for you to manage) before committing unless you want to be left at the mercy of the hosting tech support staff.
5. Site Backup Services
Server hard disk failures, hacking attacks, or software bugs may lead to loss of important data at a time when you least expect. It can be so traumatizing in such a case if you never had a backup of your site because without backup you lose the data forever.
Backups are much more important when users create data online rather than uploading content from their local storage.
Try to find a Web hosting company that backs up full site files and databases regularly and also provides a feature on the control panel that enables you to restore your site easily.
If the worst were to happen, you want reassurance that your web hosting provider will be there to help.
6. Disk storage space
7. Amount of bandwidth
Bandwidth is the amount of data that your web host provider will let you and your customers upload and download in a particular month.
When your bandwidth gets depleted, your web host will either not allow any more visitors to your site, or will charge you extra per MB. If your website is very popular with huge traffic, bandwidth is something you need to keep an eye on.
8. Free Email Accounts
Customized professional emails with your domain name (eg, firstname.lastname@example.org) are an excellent marketing tool regardless of how big or small your business is.
Most hosting companies will offer email account for your domains. While some providers limit the number of email addresses, great providers offer unlimited email ID’s.
Its important to check how many email accounts a web host will let you set up especially when you need to create email addresses for various employees and departments within your company.
9. Free Subdomains
As your website grows bigger, you might want to split your website off into additional subdomains. For example, you might want to create a subdomain for your blog or membership portal. When that time comes, you should be able to create and host that subdomain for no additional fees.
10. Scalability / Room to grow
If your business grows, your website may receive massive traffic. Website files, databases, and email accounts could require additional storage space as well. You will also need to have higher bandwidth to accommodate such traffic.
At this point you will need best to upgrade your hosting plan from shared hosting to VPS hosting or dedicated server. Knowing whether a host supports VPS or a dedicated server solution before choosing them will save you from transferring to another host later.
A web host ought to offer service plans that let you upgrade your account to accommodate growth.
11. Website back-end technology
Different web hosts offers support for different server-side languages on their servers. Before you commit to a host, make sure that they do support the server-side language that you intend to use in your website. Choosing a host with support for multiple languages is an added advantage because you may later want to change the backed technology or scale your website to use several server-side languages.
Besides languages, you need to know the type of database management system (DBMS) that they support. Irrespective of whether your business is small or large, you are going to need database support at the back end for the integration of new technology. MYSQL is the most supported DBMS by most servers on the Internet. However, you can choose from Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, and others, depending on your convenience. So, it’s necessary to know which database management the provider offers.
What’s your budget? How much money can you comfortably afford to pay for the hosting?
Price should not be the single determining factor for choosing a host because as it is said, "you get what you pay for". Do not fall for the cheapest offer because good hardware and support cost money.
However, pricing should not be overlooked as well.
There are different companies offering exactly the same features and quality of services but at different prices.
Take a closer look at the features and services that each host provides, and then compare their prices.
So, here you have explored the factors to consider when selecting a web host for your website in detail. Before deciding on a hosting provider, make sure to do extensive research on different service providers.
Whichever provider you choose, ensure that they specially offer regular backup services, quality 24-hour support and customer service, scale compatibility for future growth and a high percentage uptime.
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