Not all Website Hosting Companies are Created Equal
If you are considering the development of a professional website then don’t underestimate the importance of a good web hosting service. This not only affects your online visibility — it can also have an impact on your brand persona.
While finding an affordable package may be important for your business you should also consider the reliability and reputation of the host provider. This includes having the right support features in place that are not at an extra cost and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you have an eCommerce website or want to build a blog as a business then a dedicated WordPress website is the best choice. Shared hosting can limit your online presence including less editing features and templates to choose from. A professional persona is achieved through a style that matches your brand, and that can only be achieved by customizing your own website with the help of a website developer.
So what should you look for in a paid and professional hosting service?
- The amount of disk space offered on the server
- Is WordPress included in the package?
- How much do fees increase after one, two or three years?
- The domain transfer fee
- Extras included such as website security and dedicated email
- Website loading times — how fast is their server?
- Ease of installation and FTP management
- How often do they perform backups or is this extra?
- The domain cost and privacy fee
These are just a few points to consider before making a final decision. You will also want to consider how your website will be used and who your target audience is. Some additional checklists should also include:
Reliability and Speed
The most important thing you must keep in mind while choosing web hosting is “the reliability and up time”. Your site will surely lose many visitors if it is down frequently and does not load fast. So, always go for hosting with the provider which has reliable uptime and has good record. The uptime must be at least 99.9%.
Do your own research online to find out what other customers are saying. You can check out forums, social media posts and tweets, ect. to learn more about how their customer service is being handled and the frequency of problems on their servers. For example, here’s a recent complaint on Twitter:
Bandwidth and Data
Always choose a service provider giving unlimited band width, data transfer and disk usage. You must have FTP access, PHP, SSL, SSH, .htaccess and the flexibility in installing scripts and software (CMS, blogging and others) which will allow you to grow your online presence.
The growing problem of website security should also be a consideration in your decision. One of the best ways to combat attacks is through the inclusion of a Secure Sockets Layer, which protects your private data including that of your customers. The least expensive shared hosting plan may be easy on the pocket book, but more of a risk if your business has a lot of data that it needs to protect.
Others may find that a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a Dedicated Server is necessary – but for the average website a shared account is just fine for smaller websites. However, inquire with your prospective hosting account as to the security provided.
While it’s tempting to jump on board with the newest company that offers the lowest prices you may regret the decision later after your website hosting renews and your costs go up significantly. Then your business is faced with a very costly domain transfer which usually requires the help of a web developer.
Once you are ready to choose a provider be sure the read the rules and Terms of Service before signing the dotted line. You will want to be aware of any cancellation fees, their refund policy, minimum time requirements, and more. You can perform a Google search for [host provider name Terms of Service] and quickly access this information. Some are split into various categories while others are more straight forward like this example on HostGator.
There are several more factors to consider for your business website including:
- How many domains can be hosted
- Account suspension rules
- Carbon footprint
PC Magazine has put together a new list of the best dedicated web hosting companies for 2017 here:
Whether you decide on shared hosting or dedicated always research the different options, features and reviews of each company being considered and the requirements when signing a contract. There are many different choices available today — but only a few reliable services are at the top.