How do you select a suitable web hosting service for your company’s website? You can start by reading the in-depth reviews of leading web hosting providers in a reliable SaaS directory. To select a good quality web hosting service, however, you’ll need to go beyond looking at disk storage and bandwidth features. This article will help you out by listing the key features you need to consider in your search.
To start with, be aware of your needs. What type of website do you have? Do you require Windows applications or special software? How large is your website traffic? Answer these basic questions before you embark on your search. Initially, shared hosting is enough for most sites. You can upgrade to dedicated hosting or VPS later on as your website starts attracting more traffic. Look for the following features in a web hosting provider:
Uptime and Reliability
Your website needs to be up 24/7, so it is essential to select a host that provides at least 99.5% uptime guarantee. Do not accept anything less than 99%. You can find the uptime info on the service’s website or by reading reviews. Plus, you can also use easy-to-use server monitor apps to track the uptime of the web host.
Shared hosting is sufficient if your blog or website attracts about 30,000 to 40,000 unique visitors per month. This type of hosting is also suitable if your database connections are less than 20. However, if your blog or website is growing fast, then you need to upgrade to dedicated server or VPS. This will provide you better security, and more disk storage, memory capacity, and processing power to keep up with the growth.
Many people own multiple domains that they hope to sell at a good rate some day. This survey by Web Hosting Talk reveals that 80% of respondents own more than five domains and over 20% own more than 50.
You need extra space to accommodate the domains. Therefore, ensure you hosting account allows you to add multiple domains. You should not have any worries on this front as most shared hosting services permit 25 addon domains or more. But be sure to get info on the number of domains allowed before you shell out your money.
Signup is usually cheap, but you need to pay a higher amount when you renew the deal. For shared hosting, it is normal to pay $10/month. But check the provider’s terms of service to know how much you need to pay when you renew the account. Compare the signup price with the renewal cost to know what you are getting into.
Get to know the details about the provider’s refund policy. Can you get your full money back if you cancel the service during the trial? What is the refund procedure after the trial period ends? Do they levy cancellation charges?
Our advice is to select a service with a guaranteed refund policy so that you don’t lose money if something goes wrong and you wish to switch. Avoid providers that charge a lot for cancellation. Go for a host that offers a money back guarantee and gives a pro-rated refund even after the trial period.
Bandwidth and Disk Space are Not that Important
Most providers offer unlimited data transfer and storage. Though “unlimited” comes with fair use policy, you should not worry about these features as most services provide more than sufficient capacity for data transfer and storage. These features do not matter a lot these days you can store large files in the cloud, videos on Vimeo and YouTube, documents and files on Google Drive, and your images on Flickr.
If you are operating an eCommerce site with shopping cart solutions and process financial transactions, then you need support for your operations. Pick a provider that offers easy installation of shopping cart apps, dedicated IP, and SSL certification.
The control panel should be functional and user friendly. It can be a popular one like cPanel or Plesk or a third party panel as offered by GoDaddy. The main thing is the control panel should enable you to easily perform all the needed functions. Without a good control panel, for even basic changes you would have to depend on the tech support agents. So make sure to select a web host that offers an easy-to-use control panel.
The provider will suspend your hosting account if you use too much processing power. As mentioned earlier, unlimited hosting comes with a fair use policy. So read about the usage policies of the web host before you sign up. Find out how much CPU power, bandwidth, and storage you are allowed to utilize.
If you are green-friendly, opt for a company that offers green hosting. Science studies reveal that a web server generates greater than 630kg of carbon dioxide and consumes a great deal of energy too annually. On the other hand, a green hosting service generates zero carbon dioxide. Thus, there is a big difference between a green host and a normal one. So if you care for the environment, go for a host such as Greengeeks that uses green certificates to offset their energy usage.
Your Company Email
Check out the email features before you sign up. Can you offer firstname.lastname@example.org? However, it is not a big issue if you do not get the email feature. You can easily sign up on a service like Google Email Apps to use an email ID at your domain. The big advantage is you get up to 10 email accounts free of cost.
Do Not Opt for Long Subscription Periods
Many services lure customers for long subscription contracts by drastically reducing the price. However, it is not advisable to sign a contract for a period of more than two years unless the host offers a reliable money back guarantee that can be availed any time. So, do not get taken in by discounts, but look at the bigger picture when signing a contract.
Reliable site backup is essential in case of emergencies or natural disasters so that you don’t end up losing your valuable data. Therefore, select a provider that does regular site backups so that your data is restored in case you happen to lose it during an emergency. Find out if you can do the site backup using the control panel and whether you can do an auto backup easily using an appropriate program. The web host should allow you to restore backup files on your own so that you don’t need to depend on the help of support agents during the emergency.
Finally, select a vendor that offers reliable support round the clock via multiple channels such as phone, email, and live chat. You should be able to get your queries and doubts resolved easily and use the tech support to make effective use of the facilities provided by the web hosting service. It is also ideal if the web host offers comprehensive self-help resources such as a knowledge base, FAQs, and documentation so that you can find solutions to your issues quickly and easily without needing to contact tech support.
Remember that big brand web hosting services may not always be the right one for your needs. Be sure about what the current needs of your website and select a suitable host accordingly. If your website is growing fast, opt for a scalable hosting service. Feel free to share your opinions on the web hosting service you are currently using.