Without proper guidelines or your own prior experience, you will not be effective when separating quality from quantity and making the right call. The sole reason for this article is to help anyone stuck on choice to make a more informed decision.
When thinking about a web host for your online business, think about a host that prioritizes your online business and its accessibility. By that I mean you must find a host that can provide 99% uptime or higher, amongst other features like technical support, hardware, customer satisfaction, email features and add-ons, control panel, user interface, scalability space security etc.
Before you rush into the marketing hype, do your homework well in advance.
I have compiled a list of the features to consider in any quality web host and a brief description why that feature is important. Make sure your new web host ticks all the boxes.
NB: They are not in any particular order of importance as none is any more vital than the other.
Price vs Value
First things first, you need to be able to pay for your hosting. Remember affordable does not necessarily mean cheap, it means a reasonable price that can cater to a reliable service. Many quality web hosts range between $2-9 for basic plans. Free web hosts and those who charge less than $2 may not offer top notch hardware and customer support. Do a service vs cost analysis to determine where you are paying for value.
This is a big one by many opinions, including my own. Your web hosting company should have a reputable customer support. Having 24/7 live support helps solve problems faster, and if you look harder, some web hosts will give you multi-level support including call, chat and email, every day of the calendar. It gets better if the customer service is in-house compared to outsourced customer support as the latter takes longer to solve problems.
Make sure the web hosting provider has customer support priority.
When you finally get a candidate that you feel you can host with, you should have an idea of the hardware that the company uses to ensure quality servers that don’t break down too often. Some companies may use small or outdated equipment unknown to you until the downtimes become too frequent for your liking. When your website is not available when it needs to be, you will start receiving negative feedback from your fan base which is obviously bad for business.
You have to find out what email features you are getting with your potential host. Does the host allow you to set up your personal email addresses that you want on your domain? Do you get protection from spam, viruses and malware that can threaten your email addresses? These are important questions to ask and you will be mistaken to underrate them. If the host has not told you about any of these features firsthand, go ahead and ask for yourself.
Any extra features and add-ons offered by a Hosting Company are always welcome and sometimes can be the deciding feature between one hosting company and the other. These add-ons can range from anything between personalized support, data backup, security and privacy, data centers, set up and maintenance, energy policies, data backups, Google advertising etc.
An easy to use control panel is very important for the user. Not every user can be tech savvy and you don’t want to keep calling customer support to ask for the login or log out buttons.
At this level, you really don’t need a control panel that is pure nuisance, on the contrary, find adequate cPanel from a quality host for basics controls and because of the convenience.
Whether it is plesk, cPanel or a third party panel, just make sure it is easy to use and comes with all major functionalities. Simple tasks like installing WordPress and setting up your email and FTP should not be made complicated. Data transfers, updates and modifications of any kind should be seamless and not take an extra minute of your time.
Every hosting company has shared hosting accounts which help keep a vast number of websites online. There is no limit to how many accounts these servers can host, but the key factor to consider is whether this kind of loading can affect speed. It is the responsibility of a web host to create a balance between performance and speed.
If a provider is doing a shady job with their website, who is to say they can do better with yours?
Just have a glance at their personal/business website and make a verdict if you are contented with what you see judging from the speed and interface.
It would be inaccurate to conclude there is a perfect web hosting company in the market. Hosting for free or overpaying for the same services you get at lower prices is also a waste of resources or potential since free hosts limit your features and overpaying does not guarantee that the host is better than others. Cheap on the other hand means the company cannot afford to pay for the best features or support.
You should note that not all big names always deliver as advertised. Case in point the EIG related outage that saw some industry leading 70+ companies experience record downtimes in the past one year. This put the reputation of some well-known hosting names in bad light and it may take some time for them to bounce back from rising criticism.
The best option will be to settle for a host that caters to your business personally and whose attributes you can live with, preferably the ones I mentioned above.
With that in mind, I can recommend one hosting platform at the moment, TD Web Services. In this industry, high prices or big names do not necessarily yield perfect hosting and fairy tale support.
They are fast, reliable and consistent at many levels, including support, price and service.
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