Top 10 things to consider when choosing a hosting provider

By Jodie Riccelli

Hosting is an important part of your website plan!

Choosing a web host is a critical decision and an important part of your website plan. There are few key factors to keep in mind when choosing a web host. As a client of YIKES, Inc., we can assist you in finding the most suitable hosting provider. However, we thought it was important to understand some factors that go into finding the best provider for your site

1. Cost

You get what you pay for! The hosting for your website is the foundation it sits on and the engine that makes it run. You need to invest in good hosting. The cost of hosting is something that should be calculated into your entire website budget. Hosting companies that offer “cheap” and “unlimited” accounts should be approached with caution.

2. Compatibility

Take a moment to understand the technologies that are being used within your website. For example if you have a WordPress site, your hosting provider should be familiar and compatible with WordPress. Find out if it is a Linux or Windows based server. Also find out if they are running the most current version of PHP and databases such as MySQL.

3. Tech Support

Having an accessible tech support team is crucial. Is there a telephone number to reach customer service? Are they available 24 hours a day? Is there a live chat feature? Are you able to send service requests via email? You want to be able to easily reach your hosting provider in the event of an outage or even to inquire about billing issues.

4. Email

If you are planning on using your web service provider as your email service, then you need to first find out if your hosting provider provides email. If so, you will need to establish how many email accounts you will need. Does your hosting provider offer a webmail interface or will you be using a third party such as Google Apps to access your email?

5. Reputation

Find reviews from other customers on the hosting provider. Is their reputation documented online? Online research will be instrumental in finding out information about the hosting company’s reputation. Tweet out a request for testimonials for a specific hosting company you are considering. If the company is attentive and confident about their reputation, they will retweet your request.

6. Security

Many hosting providers offer firewalls and other security features to protect your website. This is important to protect your website from being compromised. Added security features are a huge benefit to investing in a good hosting provider.

7. Choosing shared, dedicated or cloud

You should have an understanding of the traffic on your website and what you expect to get in the future. You should also take an inventory of any special features on your site. For example, will it have e-Commerce or will you need reporting on your website? For shared hosting, ask how many other websites are hosted in their shared environment.

8. Resources

Resources such as CPU and memory allotments are often glossed over. Larger high-traffic sites, data-rich sites, sites with custom functionality, and e-commerce sites require higher CPU and memory allocations otherwise they will slow down or crash. Also, make sure the host offers SSL support if you need secure forms for ecommerce or other sensitive information.

9. Storage and Bandwidth

Unlimited bandwidth is a myth. Many hosting providers that claim to offer unlimited bandwidth have restrictions outlined in the “fine print.” Read the terms of service carefully to understand exactly what you are purchasing. Reputable hosting companies will often outline the costs for going over your allotted bandwidth and storage.

10. Backups

It’s critical that the hosting company you decide to hire offers daily server backups. This will ensure that you always have a fresh copy of the most important information. In the event that your website crashes or is infiltrated with malware, the server can be easily restored. The same holds true for databases. You want to make sure that daily database backups are being executed.

Confused about any of this? Please feel free to contact us.

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