By understanding a few basics about web hosting and web hosting service providers, you can easily select a web host that is best for you. Some of the questions you need to ask pertain to your business and others related to the web hosting industry. Here’s a quick run-down of 10 basic questions you need answered before choosing a web host.
1. What Is a Web Host?
A web host is a service provider that manages a number of different websites on a particular server. They provide the platform on which your website is located. Many web hosts will have a number of different hosting packages available. They may have shared or dedicated hosting facilities as different options. The type of hosting package that you choose will largely depend on your hosting requirements.
2. Where Is Your Business and Where Are You Going?
If you have a start-up business, keeping costs low is a major priority. However, if you see your business growing rapidly in the future, you will need to keep in mind how this may affect things such as your website and web hosting package. There are many good entry-level basic web hosting packages. These are usually on shared servers and have a limit on the bandwidth available. If your business grows rapidly, you may find that you need to expand your website and enlarge your hosting package. Not all web hosts have migration or upgrade facilities and this can make it a tedious task to upgrade your web hosting package. Your best option is to choose a web hosting that has the capacity to grow with your business.
3. What Level of Technical Expertise Do You Have?
Often business owners have a limited understanding of web hosting and web design. If this is the case, you want to sign up with a web hosting provider that has a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise that you can draw on. Ideally, if your budget allows, you will want to go for a web host that offers a managed hosting service. This means that they will take care of all the web server maintenance and security ensuring that you have maximum up-time on your website.
4. Are Free Hosting Packages Worthwhile?
While there are some good free hosting companies out there, you need to think carefully about signing up for one. Generally, these hosting packages are free because the hosting providers sell advertising space on the websites they host. This means that you may not entirely be able to control the content on your website. In addition, free hosting packages generally have limited support services and can seldom be upgraded to other packages.
5. What’s the Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting means that your website is allocated its own unique server. This means that you have a greater level of control over your website and generally improved hosting efficiency. You can also ensure higher security levels on your server and have more flexibility in the way you manage your website; however, this comes at a premium. Generally dedicated servers are quite expensive which is why the option of shared servers became available. A shared server hosts several different websites. Generally, the capacity of each is limited and because there are different site owners accessing the server, you have lower levels of security.
6. What Is an E-commerce Website?
An e-commerce website is basically an online shop. It requires specialized hosting and web design to ensure it functions properly. The web host you choose should be knowledgeable about hosting e-commerce sites and be able to provide you with technical support.
7. What Is a Marketing or Corporate Website?
A standard commercial or marketing-type website is less complicated than an e-commerce website. This type of website is a shop window for your business as it showcases who you are and what your business is about. While you may not sell products on the website, it still requires that you choose a reliable web hosting service provider.
8. What Makes a Web Host Reliable?
One of the most important considerations is the level and efficiency of the technical support provided. No systems are flawless so when things go wrong, you need to be able to fix the problems as quickly as possible. A good hosting provider will have technical experts available on their support desk who can assist you with any problems. The stability of the server is another important consideration. A well-maintained and managed server should seldom go down and this is what you want from a web host — a website that is accessible 24/7.
9. What About Website Security?
A good web host should provide a level of security on the server. However, as the owner of a website, it is important to maintain a good level of security on your website as well. This may include having anti-spyware, anti-virus and anti-tracking software installed in your system. It is important to keep it constantly updated to keep your system protected.
10. Where Do You Find a Good Web Host?
Your web designer will probably have a hosting provider that they have an established relationship with. It is a good idea to follow their recommendations. Alternatively, you can ask colleagues and business associates which company they use. Lastly, you can search online. However, if you do this, be careful to read the industry reviews of the web host to ensure they are reputable.