Let’s be honest. If you’re starting any sort of internet-based business, you’ll have to find a hosting provider. Finding a good web host is not the most fun-filled task in the world. You will need to spend a good amount of hours searching the net, keeping note of potential hosts, and then stacking them up against each other and seeing which one comes out of top.
It’s a process that will take time, but it’s one that carries a lot of importance, and the decision you make based on your research should mean that you have selected a reliable, economical and well performing web host. This means less problems for you when your sites are up and running, good customer support when you need it, and your credit card statement won’t make your eyes pop out of your head at the end of each month.
Why is a good host important for your website
If you have made a website just for fun and a way to practice, then you will be fine using any host. There are even $1 hosts that you can use if you simply want to test a new site, practice your hosting skills, or just try some new things before you go with a more reliable and effective website.
A good host is a stable one that offers a good level of performance, without any disruptions to your website. This is what is referred to as uptime. It’s the amount of time each month that your website will be up and running. Most good hosts will offer at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee. If you find any web host offering less than this, then you might want to consider looking elsewhere for your hosting.
Finding the best hosting
As previously mentioned, it can take a little time and effort to find a good, reliable web host that you want to work with. There are hundreds upon hundreds of web hosting companies operating all over the world, so it’s not as though you are short of supply.
There are a number of websites that offer comprehensive reviews of different web hosts where they compare features, performance and prices so that you can make a much better choice when it comes to selecting the one you want to use for your hosting. A very popular website is FortuneLords.com, which provides excellent comparisons of the top web hosts, and gives you helpful suggestions depending on the type of hosting you want, and where it is located.
One of the best ways to learn more about the quality and performance of a web host is not from their own website, where they will of course tell you how great they are and why you must choose them, but on other sites where real users share real experiences.
The importance of good support
One of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of a good web host is the level of support that they offer to clients. Most people will look at the pricing and the number of features or resources that are being offered, without paying much attention to the type or quality of support that the web host provides.
Problems with web hosting can range from simple things such as files not being uploaded properly, or email accounts not properly configured inside Outlook, through to very serious issues with the servers which have in turn affected the performance of all websites being hosted.
Whatever the problem, regardless of if it’s big or small, you will want a host that is quick to respond and that takes care of problems as quickly as possible. Most web hosts will offer 24/7 support either through online chat, which is probably the best option to have, or via a ticket system.
Whichever method they use, the main thing is that they respond in a timely manner. The worst thing you can experience with a host is where your website is down (for whatever reason) and you are still waiting after several hours for your host to simply acknowledge your support request. If you are with a web host who only offers support during working hours, then make sure you are residing in the same country as them. Otherwise, you might be waiting for more than half a day before hearing back from someone.
Flexible hosting plans
Everyone will want their website to be a success, but this is unfortunately not always the case. A large number of websites will simply stop running after a few years, as either the business has closed down, or the site owner has given up the project.
However, there are a lot of websites that are successful and which continue to grow year after year, such as affiliate websites, building up a large following or good client base. When your website gets popular, you will get a lot more visitors. Visits equal web traffic, so it’s important that if your current hosting package has a limited amount of data transfer, then you can upgrade your account to a higher package quickly and without any disruption to your site.
Most web hosts will offer a range of hosting packages, especially for shared hosting, which is the most popular and economical type of hosting. Some hosts offer unlimited resources for disc space and data transfer for their packages, while others may restrict them.
If you are using a web host that has limitations on resources, then it’s important that you check with that about the possibility of upgrading in the future. You might also want to look at some other web hosts who are offering similar packages to what you are already using, and which may also be at similar prices, and consider if it’s worth moving over to a new host that doesn’t apply restrictions.
This might mean that you will have to go through the hassle of moving your sites over to a new host, but in the long term, it might be much more beneficial for you, as well as potentially saving you a few dollars as well.