Your web hosting company is the oft-overlooked aspect of your website. Even so, your website lives and dies by the dependability of your web hosting company, so it pays to invest a fair amount of time in picking and choosing among the possibilities out there. Two of the biggest web hosts out there are Bluehost and GoDaddy.
If your site is an eCommerce site or a B2B, B2C, or B2G one, then you'd better do everything in your power to obtain the services of a super-reliable host. Each second that your site is not operational - for example, due to a problem stemming from your host - means that you are losing money, potential prospects, and profits.
So what do you look for in your dream web hosting company? Make sure that your web host has all of the following things.
This is the big one on this list. Dependability is something on which you shouldn't compromise because your site has to stay live 24/7/365. This is especially true if you have an ecommerce site or are using your site as a lead-generation device that captures the personal information of prospects.
Here are some of the things to consider to help you gauge the dependability of any web host:
A great resource to find out about web hosting companies is Who Is Hosting This?
Disk space can be defined as the quantity of data and content that you could store on the server of your host. The amount of disk space you require will be based on your individual situation. For instance, if you have a personal site that you use only for fun, then you won't need much disk space. If, though, your site is used for eCommerce - which means that it's constantly growing since you'll be selling more products - then you'll require a lot of disk space.
If your site is only basic, as in it only shows the text, then you don't need lots of disk space. If your site wants to boast visual files, audio files, downloads, and images, then adequate disk space becomes ultra-important. For instance, an eCommerce site, a very basic one, will need a minimum of 5GB of disk space.
A small eCommerce site like Martina Sperl should already use a minimum of 5GB of disk space.
You usually get what you pay for, but you shouldn't pay in excess when the hosting company's performance is not up to par. Since hosting is a commodity industry, the prices don't really differ that much between the web hosts. However, you'll pay more or less depending on what, specifically, you choose in your hosting plan.
For instance, if you get shared hosting, which is the most common type and in contrast to dedicated hosting, you'll save money because your site will be stored on a server that also hosts a bunch of other sites. Of course, shared hosting is slower and less secure than dedicated hosting.
Typically, most hosts will not charge more than several dollars a month. Most hosts actually make the bulk of their money through extras and add-ons. An example of this is the $50 credit that's sometimes offered for Google's AdWords ad program.
This is another huge must-have with your web hosting company. If support's not there, then you're on your own, which is absolutely unfair to you. Examples of crises that can strike your site include email problems and your site suddenly crashing. Both cost you money! That's why it's of the utmost importance to have customer service that will allow you to talk to a support person on the phone.
It is highly recommended that your web host offers free phone support 24 hours a day and seven days a week. To boot, all the customer service representatives should speak your language and pick up the phone promptly.
Note how Bluehost's Web Hosting Help Center page explicitly spells out that the average wait time for phone support is only seconds.
Only pick the hosting company that makes it a cinch for you to make changes to your site when you want to. Things you'll likely want to change from time to time include your server settings as well as your email accounts. You should also make sure that your host lets you access your email straight from the web and not just from a client like Microsoft's Outlook.
It's imperative that you can always check your email when you're away from your main desktop. That's why you'll want to have access to webmail. Plus, sometimes, clients like Outlook crash!
There are so many different web hosting companies out there from which to choose that you can almost get delirious with choice overload. That's why our list of the most vital things to look for in your host will help you weed out the inferior ones from the high-quality ones. You can look at web hosting as the backbone of your whole website. Without a host that's reliable, fast, secure, accessible, and generous with customer support, your website won't work efficiently at all.
Anything else we may have missed in a good web hosting company that you think we should have included? If so, just tell us all about it in the comments section!
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