There are just so many web hosting providers around these days, all offering hosting that are almost similar in terms of features and pricing. So just how do we select the best web hosting company? What do we look out for when selecting a host for our websites?
It is of utmost importance that the requirements of your website are met. This includes the key features of disk space, bandwidth/data transfer, scripts, secure servers and shopping carts, emails and auto-responders, control panels and multiple domains and sub-domains. All your needs and requirements must be met.
Disk space and bandwidth
Most companies offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth, so you might go for these if you are trying to decide between a company who offers capped features and another who has unlimited hosting. While you most likely do not need that much disk space and bandwidth, prices aren’t usually much different anyway.
PHP, Perl, MySQL, FTP, SSH,.htaccess and SSI are the scripts that you would usually need for your website to perform the basic functions of carrying out operations, running a content management system and customizing error pages.
Shopping carts and secure servers
If you run an online business through your website, you would need a secure server and a shopping cart for this purpose. Secure servers are vital in protecting the information of your customers as they make purchases with the credit card. Check if your host has both these features to facilitate monetary transactions.
Emails and auto-responders
Here are several things to check if your hosting server can do: Provision of email addresses at your domain, an auto-responder that allows you to send a pre-set automatic reply to senders and the retrieval of emails with your email software.
Server account control panel
Take note that not every host offers a control panel for their clients to manage their websites themselves. This is especially true for budget or free web hosting. If your plan doesn’t come with a control panel, you would have to contact technical support each time you want to perform simple tasks such as changing passwords or deleting email accounts.
Multiple domains and sub-hosting
Someday you might want to host several domains or sub-domains under the same account, or to sell web space. Therefore, have this in mind when considering a web host. Most offer this feature anyway.
Experienced in web hosting?
Between a company that had just started up and another who has been hosting for several years, the better bet would be the one who has experience. They would have the knowledge in handling problems and the expertise in making sure that your websites are running optimally. Also check if the company is currently hosting any big names. Big names have stricter requirements and would need their websites to perform optimally, so if big names go for that particularly web host, then you most probably should too.
It is best to go for a web host who offers an uptime guarantee. I have come across several who promise a 99.9% uptime. Anything below 99.5% is considered unacceptable. While this, of course, doesn’t guarantee that there aren’t any glitches, at least we know that they are committed to delivering their promise. Uptimes are important for you surely do not want your website to be down and inaccessible most of the time.
Location of web host?
Choose a local host that is located in the same country or time zone as you are. This would mean that their data center is likely to be located close to you, along with their support team. Having a data center placed halfway around the world will result in a lack of speed for your site, and you wouldn’t want to be trying to get technical support from a team who is only going to respond to you a good day later.
Availability of round-the-clock support?
Find out how easy it is to reach their customer support team should you need them. Most web hosts offer several methods of contacting them, either by email, phone or live chat. If calling them up is your preferred method of contact, ensure that there is someone to pick up the phone or else you would frustrate yourself listening to some promotional messages over and over again. This is also one reason why you should choose a web host who is located in the same time zone as you are, so that there will be someone to attend to you whenever you need immediate assistance.
Take note that while some hosts may claim to provide customer support 24/7, they might not necessarily be available on weekends. For this, try emailing them and see how fast they respond.
To get started with choosing a good web hosting company, you can check out reliable web hosting review websites such as 100 Web Hosting. Do remember that prices aren’t everything when it comes to deciding on a web host. In fact, it should be one of the last factors to consider as we all know that quality and satisfaction don’t come cheap.