Looking for the host with the most? You and your website certainly deserve it, but how can you get past all that white noise of the internet and pinpoint a quality web host from the start? It’s a highly saturated market brimming with small web hosting startups, and still a handful of easily recognizable “go-to” web hosts snatch up the majority of new websites. Do your research and make sure you’re getting everything you deserve from the company you choose.
Maybe it was the freemium hosting model that encouraged you to get your small business online—there’s nothing wrong with letting freedom ring in certain instances. Perhaps you finally had it in the budget to hire a website developer and you’re scrambling to catch up with your competition. No matter what pushed you to get online or consider a new web host, don’t take the easy route. Just because a domain registration site lets you add on hosting for free or cheap, that doesn’t mean all hosts are the same or your choice doesn’t matter.
It does. Here’s what you need:
- A clear explanation of their security measures
The vast majority of the time, a web host will offer safeguards and server protection you couldn’t muster on your own. However, by virtue of being a web host, that doesn’t mean they have a data center that rivals CIA headquarters. Go ahead and add “get optimal server security” to your business’ to do list before the end of 2014. If your web host isn’t protecting your shared server (and your business’ security), why are you trusting them?
- Customer service (not upsells)
You’re not supposed to know much (or anything) about web hosting, servers and maintenance. That’s why you have a web host. Just like any good host, they should make you feel comfortable, relaxed and trust that they’re taking good care of you. Contact potential hosts by the means you like best, whether it’s phone, email or chat, and see if they’re focused more on service or sales.
- Constant communication when you want it
Banker’s hours have no place in a web hosting business. If you can’t connect with a real person any time of day or night, that’s a problem. Your server can have issues or you might have a question at 3am on Christmas Eve. When that happens, you don’t want to get tangled up in customer automation hell or have to wait hour or days for their office to open.
- No contracts
There are certainly web host companies that offer a discount if you sign a contract, and that’s reasonable. However, if you can’t come and go as you please, that’s a red flag that they might have problems keeping customers. You wouldn’t commit to marriage when you’re just starting to chat with someone on Tinder, would you? Why do the equivalent for your business’ hosting needs?
- Generous uptime with a compensation package
Shoot for a company that guarantees over 99 percent uptime and has a written compensation plan if they fall below those figures. You’re not going to find 100 percent uptime plans (and if you do, run). However, even a few extra seconds of downtime can be detrimental to some businesses.
Shopping for a web host is kind of like shopping for new insurance plans. You need to read the fine print, comparison shop and trust your gut when talking to representatives. After all, it’s the virtual health of your business that’s at stake.