Choosing a web host is an important decision to make, especially if you are going to lock into a long-term contract to get lower monthly rates. Before you pick out a web host, you’ll want to do your homework, reading up on customer reviews and watching videos online. You’ll also want to know exactly what your needs and goals are as well as your set of website skills.
Five Other Questions to ask Before Choosing a Web Host
- Will You Have Enough Data Transfer? Although many web hosting companies will claim to offer you unlimited bandwidth, you might be surprised to find a bill at the end of the month saying that you exceeded your bandwidth. While this is most certainly an oxymoron, it does happen and the best way to avoid it is to read the fine print from your web host. Figure out how much data transfer bandwidth you use now and how much you are going to need if your site hits growth expectations. Then, plug those numbers into the limits provided in the web host contract to see if it’s economically feasible for you now, and into the future. For the record, between 3 GB and 5 GB of bandwidth will allow for a typical website that doesn’t have any videos or music.
- How Reliable is the Uptime? The last thing you want in a web host is unreliability. Your web host needs to guarantee that your site will be up and available at least 99.6% of the time, no questions asked. If you experience more downtime that 0.4%, you will need to be reimbursed as that is business—and potential business—lost. Find out how much uptime your web hosting company guarantees and make sure that they have a long history of reliability. Check customer reviews and the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Is there Enough Space? With some sites, you are limited with the amount of space you have, meaning the amount of pages you can create and display are limited. For example, many web hosting companies will offer their most basic package at a fairly reasonable rate, but you can only create four or five web pages for display on the navigation bar. This limits your content space so if you have a lot of content, it will be crowded onto the pages. Of course, you can make up for some of this with the blog, but it’s better to have static pages for SEO purposes if the information is vital to your website’s niche.
- Can You Use It? Some web hosting companies simply provide you with the server for you to park your domain. Others provide you with a package that lets you register a domain name for hosting on their server. Still other web hosting companies provide you with free website builders that will allow you to build your website through a drag and drop builder. Then you have web hosting companies that require you to install blogging platforms and still others that have a built-in content management system (CMS). The point is, there are tons of different applications and features out there which are offered by different web hosting companies. Be sure that the one you choose is right for your needs and skill level. If you spend money on a top server host but don’t know how to build a website, you will still have to pay for the website if there is no site builder included. Research all of your needs and options, and then make a decision.
- Is There 24/7/365 Tech Support? Finally, be certain that you not only choose a service that offers free tech support to its customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (this means on weekends and holidays as well), but one that also offers you multiple ways to get in contact with them. By far, the worst way to get in contact with tech support is email. This means that you’ll get a response in 1 to 2 business days (usually) which means that if your site is down, it will be down for those days as well. And what if the help you get doesn’t work? Then you have to wait another few days. Instead, make sure that your web host has tech support phone lines as well as chat services, both of which are answered 24/7/365.