Trying to choose the right hosting company is a familiar dilemma for all online businesses. Whether you’re starting a blog, an eCommerce store, or you’re just making a company website, trying to find a web host that’s perfect for you is not easy.
Take your time to choose the right web host and you should be getting a reliable and high-performing hosting provider that is available to help you via online chat, email, or a phone call with your server problems. Rush your decisions and you’ll end up with more headaches beyond having to choose the perfect WordPress themes (or plugins) for your website.
If you’re still in the midst of searching for the right hosting company for your online business, you might feel like you’re way over your head trying to figure out which ones are good and which ones you should avoid.
Worry not as we’ve got you covered with all the important tips that you’ll need to know about choosing the perfect hosting provider your website.
Hosting Reliability & Speed
Uptime scores and server reliability are two qualities that are essential for choosing the right web host for your online business. A few minutes of downtime can often lead to huge losses of revenues and more importantly, poor user experience. Because of that, you want to make sure that your site stays operational as often as possible.
Now, there’s no such thing as a hosting provider with a 100% uptime score as there are too many factors that can cause your website to go down. Instead, look for hosting companies that can provide an uptime of 99.5% or higher and avoid anything below 99%
You’ll also need to look for hosts with fast servers as a slow loading website can often lead to 40% of your users abandoning your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Even if you’re just a small website or an eCommerce store with little web traffic, you should always opt for web hosts with reliable and fast servers.
To find out if a web host has good speed stats and reliability, we recommend using tools such as Pingdom, Bitcatcha, and WebPageTest. These tools are available for free and also have their own algorithm when checking on your web host performance.
A Really Good Customer Support
A benchmark for all best web hosting providers is to have quality customer support. Having a really good support team is a must, especially when you need help in getting your website up and running.
Before you sign up with a hosting company, research on what sort of support channels are available (live chats, emails, phone support, etc.) The other thing to look for is the support hours. Some hosts will have 24/7 customer support while others might only have them during business hours. This can make it difficult if your website suddenly goes down in the middle of the night.
Lastly, a good indication of a customer support quality is to look at reviews online. Often time, these reviews will mention how helpful and knowledgeable the support staffs are— do bear in mind that people tend to only leave their reviews if it’s either very positive or negative, which might skew the feedback.
Flexibility to Change & Upgrade Plans
When you’re first starting out, opting for a shared server plan is the logical choice as they are usually cheap and can suit the needs of most beginner websites. Of course, once your website gets bigger, you will need more facilities such as bigger bandwidth, email storage, and other resources.
You will find that some hosting providers offer unmetered or unlimited shared hosting which seems like a great deal, but in truth, there are multiple caveats to them. Depending on the service agreement, you might end up with a throttled website or worse, having the host shut down your website for using too many resources.
We recommend finding web hosts that offer room to grow from your current plan. While you might start out with a shared plan, a host that also provides VPS hosting and dedicated hosting will be more capable to help you transition on to a new server when your site grows.
State of the Art Security
Security features should be at the top of your list for web hosts if you’re planning to have a website that handles and stores sensitive data, such as customer’s credit cards and details.
The first thing you need to look for is whether the host periodically runs firewalls or malware detection scans on their servers and if they monitor their servers for unusual activity.
Any web hosts with SSL certificates is a good choice as this means that all of the data that’s sent over your site will remain secure and encrypted. Certain web hosts even offer IP deny services which will automatically block certain IP addresses, such as those belonging to hacker groups.
Backup for Your Website
While you might have a range of security features in place, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you protection from hackers or having your site compromised through other disasters. That is why it’s important that the hosting company you opt for conducts frequent site backups.
Having a backup service ready will definitely be helpful in the event of a crisis or if your website gets accidentally deleted.
If you plan to continuously update your website, find hosting companies that perform back up of your website every 24 hours. This way, when you restore your website, you will only lose a couple hours’ worth of data.
By now, you should have a better understanding of what you need to look for when choosing the right hosting company. While technical considerations are important, you shouldn’t overlook factors such as the service and customer support.