[This blog post is part of the Ultimate-Guide-to-Launching-a-Wordpress-Powered-Website-For-Your-Small-Business Series. Check out the rest here!]
Choosing a web hosting company can seem like an overwhelming task as there are thousands upon thousands of web hosting companies on the Internet.
When you are analyzing your options in can be very overwhelming, however it is essential to look at the potential issues that you can have with a web hosting company before signing up for their services.
The following points can save you a lot of time, money and headaches.
1. Avoid Web Hosting Companies Who Have Problems with Their Servers Being Constantly Down.
This is an indication that the company either has outdated servers, servers that are over loaded, that is too many clients using them, and poor technical support. You’re web hosting company should be able to guarantee a 99.99% up time, that is their servers should be up all of the time. Some questions to ask the web hosting company are where are their servers located? What kind of servers are they running? Do they have their servers in a dust free, secure environment? How has access to the servers? How often do they back up their servers? How often will your website be backed up? Some other questions you will want to ask about their servers are whether or not your site will be on a shared server environment in which you share an ip address with other websites (this is not recommended, if you’re serious about hosting your should be using at least a virtual private server or if you can afford it a dedicated server because your website will be more secure and faster) also make sure to ask what kind of servers they use, whether they are using Linux based servers or Windows based servers. Frankly you should choose a host that offers Linux based hosting as a majority of the webscripts such as PHP and MySQL will only work on a Linux based server.
2. Inquire About Their Technical Support.
Ask how fast they respond to technical support inquiries. Do they have an instant chat support service? Do they have a ticket support service? Do they have a 1-800 number to an understandable English speaking person? (or whichever yournative language is) Ask if they charge extra for technical support and what is and isn’t included in the support? Ask if having your website backed up is included in the support services or if you have to pay additional fees for that. I’ve hosted with one company which I will leave unnamed who charged really low prices for hosting but then charged for all of the extras like having your site backed up. They even told me at one point I was using too much of the CPU memory on the server when in fact I wasn’t getting a lot of traffic to that particular site. I quickly signed up for hosting with another company and migrated my site and have never had a problem since. Since the web hosting for the unnamed company was so cheap I simply used it for the remainder of my pay period as a sandbox for developing sites.
3. Look Out for Web Hosting Companies Who Promise “Unlimited Bandwidth”
Listen, they’re are a lot of reputable companies that promise unlimited bandwidth, however upon reading the fine print they inform you that if you’re website uses 10% or more of the CPU of the server your site will be shut down or you will have to upgrade. This, in my opinion is false advertising. But lets be realistic. Bandwidth costs money. It costs the company money so their is know way that they can offer an individual or company unlimited bandwidth when they themselves will have to pay for it. I mean they would go broke. So a question you have to ask yourself is, how much traffic am I going to be getting? If you’re going to be getting a lot of traffic, say 10,000 visits a day or more than you should seriously consider a Virtual Private Server rather than shared hosting. However, if you want to start with shared hosting, enquire about the ability to upgrade to a VPS server environment.
4. Check out the Web Hosting Companies Reputation.
Its easy to find this information out with the web and social media sites. Simply Google “Web host name sucks” or “Web host name complaints” and see what others are saying about the web hosting company. You can also do a search on twitter for the webhost name and check out the websites Facebook fanpage to see what others are saying about the web hosting company. Keep in mind that some people will always have bad things to say about a company as frankly their isn’t one perfect company out there but what you will want to look for is how the company responds to complaints. Also, sometimes people will say good things simply because they are an affiliate of that web hosting company and may not even use their web hosting services. Check to see how long the web hosting company has been in business. Look to see what others are saying about the company. The key is to ask around and do some research.
5. Don’t Go On Price Alone
You’ve probably heard it said, you get what you pay for. Well the same goes with choosing a good web host. Yes, as I’ve already pointed out, there are some host’s that offer unlimited hosting and bandwidth for a very low monthly price. And I just want to note that not all of these companies are evil as I will recommend two to you at the end of this post who do offer unlimited bandwidth. But you want to make sure that you do not base your decision on the cheapest offer out there as in the long run it will end up costing you.
6. Ask About Features
Ask about the features that the Web Host Company offers. For instance do they offer Cpanel to manage your server? Do they make daily backups of your website? Is email included in the web hosting? Do they offer both POP and IMAP formats for email? (IMAP is better) Do they have any kind of site statistics for your website? If you are in need of an e-commerce website will they be able to accommodate you? Do they accommodate popular open source platforms such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal?
Choosing the right web hosting company is an important decision and one that I would not take lightly but I hope that this post has made it easier for you.
That being said, I’m going to recommend three web hosting companies to you based on my experience, and I’ve dealt with some crappy hosts so I hope to assist you with my experience.
These are two of the most popular and reliable hosts on the web today.
I have hosted with both of of them.
Both of them offer Shared Hosting and VPS Environments so you’re website will have room to grow.
Frankly, there isn’t a lot of difference between them as they are both US based hosting companies however Bluehost does offer US based English Speaking 24/7 phone support.
I hope I don’t sound like a hypocrite as I mentioned to stay away from hosting companies that promised unlimited bandwidth which both of these do (and again only if you’re website uses less than 10% of the Servers CPU) but using a shared hosting company can be a good place to start and get your feet wet with web hosting. Plus since they both offer VPS solutions you’ll have room to grow.
The third host that I will recommend to you is a company called Servint.net
Servint.net is a VPS only hosting solution that has been in business since for longer than 10 years and is Customer Service Focused.
I highly recommend them as they have been a pleasure to deal with and you can start on their VPS Essential Plan for $49.95 per month, which depending on your average customer transaction can be like a drop of water in a bucket knowing that you’re with a reliable company that has you and your websites best interests in mind.
Again, I hope you have found this post insightful and helpful in determining how to choose a web hosting company.
Please post any questions or comments in the comments section below: