Your company’s website is a huge investment; it’s the first thing prospective customers will see. Their first impressions will be formed by your website’s layout and if it looks professional, etc. They’ll also consider how well the site works and how long it takes to load. Your company’s website is the primary connection online, no matter the size or style of your site. Consider it a business card to the online world.
When considering how to develop the site, don’t forget to think about who you’ll buy web hosting from. Web hosting services abound on the Internet; so, how do you go about choosing the right one for your website? What should you look for in a hosting company?
We’ve put together these tips to help you find the best service for your site.
What to Look for in a Hosting Company
Here are some tips to help you find the best hosting company for your business:
1). What kind of web host do you need?
Think of hiring a web host as something like a relationship, which it actually is. You want to make sure you’re a good fit for each other. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your business need its own infrastructure?
- Will you or your IT department need control over your server(s) and website? Will you need to have access to the site on a regular basis?
- Do you have an IT department or someone who understands the technical side of a website? Or can you manage on your own? Do you have enough knowledge yourself to manage and maintain a website?
- If not, would it make more sense to have the hosting company run maintenance for you?
- How big of a site are you building? Large or small—how much traffic do you expect?
- Will your website need specialized software?
- Do you want a WordPress site or would you like to use a different CMS (content management system), such as October or Joomla?
- Will you need a site that works with Windows or another OS?
2). Look at the web host’s reputation
When looking for the right web hosting company, focus on reviews. Look for scores and reviews on the company’s security, their uptime scores and server reliability. You want to use a hosting company that has very high uptime scores.
Think about it this way: do you want to pay for downtime? If you choose a company that’s down a lot of the time, that’s like pouring money down the drain. It doesn’t make good fiscal sense for your business.
You also want to ensure your site is available and operating correctly for site visitors and customers. Otherwise, you’ll lose business and your own reputation will be harmed. So, look for hosting companies that have an uptime score of at least 99.95%. This is realistic and what you need for your site.
3). Choose the right server type
It’s also a good idea to go with a web hosting company that offers a selection of different types of hosting servers. As you shop for a web host, you’ll find a wide variety of servers available, which come in different packages and in different price ranges.
- Shared server: for a small to medium site, you can probably get by very well with a shared server. However, if you have a large site and/or expect a lot of traffic, then you’ll need to select a different type of server. Keep in mind, however, that a shared server may run hundreds of other sites, too. In this case, the performance of your site will hinge on the load the other sites put on the server.
- VPS: A virtual private server may be another option for your site. This is just up a tier from the shared server. A VPS (virtual private server) generally runs on a simulated computer on a box. In this scenario, the web host may also run several other sites on the same box; however, your site performance will be much better than on a shared server.
- Dedicated server: A dedicated server is the option to choose if you don’t want to worry about performance issues when sharing with other sites. In this case, the host will rent a box to you. The box will be located in the service provider’s data center. Keep in mind this is only for people who have specialized training—if you don’t have the knowledge, then you’ll have to hire someone who does.
- Cloud servers: are the last option and probably one of the best options. These run in the cloud, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. With a cloud server, you can build the type of site you need and want. With cloud servers, too, you have the opportunity to easily scale your site as it grows.
4). Customer service
You’ll next need to consider the host’s customer service. You want to hire a web hosting company that can provide 24/7, quick and effective support for technical problems. Look for hosts that offer live support 24/7, and look for sites that offer chat support, along with social media visibility, rather than only email and support tickets.
Companies with in-house customer service departments are the best, as they fully understand how to work with their customers on specific issues.
5). Site backups & security
Look for web hosts that can provide the right level of security, including backups of your site. Hackers and other types of criminals are doing everything they can to attack and obtain precious business data. All companies are risk, no matter their size.
Make certain the web host has the means and resources to secure your website, which includes updates, patches, backups and more.
If your site is hit by ransomware and it’s not backed up, your business will suffer downtime, extortion, loss of customers, reputation and more. Make sure the web hosting provider keeps all your data backed up. This way, if you suffer a data breach or other attack, you’ll be able to get the site back up and running much faster.
5). Additional questions to consider
Here are a few more things to look for in a web host provider:
- Costs: how much does the service cost and what does it include?
- What are the renewal and maintenance costs?
- Can you add on more domains?
Choosing a web host can be a daunting task, but by following these tips and questions, you should be able to find the best hosting service provider for your website. Just be sure to find a company that will be there for you and work with you on issues when they come up.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.