Five things to look for when searching for website hosting
There are a lot of options for web hosting!
In this blog post I’m sharing five things you should look for when searching for a hosting solution. And if your confused on what I mean by hosting, check out my introduction to hosting blog post where give an overview of all things hosting.
I would consider this one of the most important things to look for if not the most important.
You want to make sure that whomever you are choosing to host your website can guarantee your website will be available to those who want to visit it. If your website displays an error and won’t load because of a host that cannot handle all the websites on their servers it is not doing you any good! Hosting companies should be able to guarantee extremely high uptime percentages – that means 99%.
What is the reputation of the hosting company’s customer service? I would recommend hitting Google and doing a quick search to see what comes up. Hosting can be confusing and having reliable and frienldy customer service agents who can help answer your questions is a plus. A quick Google search might also give you insight into the hosting company’s overall reputation.
You can also do a quick scan of their website to see how you would go about contacting their customer service agents – phone, email or online chat – and if it fits with your preferences. Also, are they available anytime? Or do they limit the hour they take cusomer service requests?
Backups and Security
I couldn’t commit to uptime being the most important because backups and securtity are big deal as well. Let’s break it down:
Backups and frequency of backups
Having a hosting company automatically create and store backups of your website is a lifesaver for the day that something goes wrong! A backup allows you to restore your website before the issue took place – whether causing it to crash by some unfortuantely misplaced website code or really wishing you could go back to how the website looked before the changes you just made that might have messed up the look and you’re not sure how to get it back.
Ideally, I’d recommend looking for a company that does weekly to daily backups and will store multiple backups. You nver want to have to to go back and recreate everything from stratch!
To protect your website and your client or customer, having a hosting company that provides security options within their hosting, or at the very least as an add on, is a must. This often looks like a host providing an SSL certificate for your website, firewalls and bot protection.
Many hosting packages will include at least one SSL certifcate with their plans. I share how important is an SSL certificate in a past blog. Hint – not only does it protect data shared on your website it helps with search engine rankings!
Bandwidth and Storage
Bandwith and storage, like uptime can affect if your website is visible to those looking to access it.
Bandwith (aka website visits)
Bandwith may often look like the number of visits you receive to your website during a specific time period when listed in a hosting plan. It esentially means how much information is being provided during that time to another source. While most small buinesses will not need to handle huge numbers of traffic each month this is important to recognize to make sure that the hosting you are purchasing can handle what you do receive on average plus potential for growth or an unexpectly higher month.
You can utilize tools like Google Analytics to keep track of how many visits your website receives in a month and to notice increased trends. But for example, if your website is receiving an average of 1000 visits per month, a hosting plan that allows for 5,000 visits is plenty, you would not need a plan that offers more.
We also want to look at how much information is being put on our website. Likely you will not need more than a couple gigabites of storage unless you upload a lot of rich content media like videos (uploading to YouTube or Vimeo and embeding or linking them on your website does not count). But you do want to make sure you easily can add the content and information you need on your website.
Bandwidth and storage can also affect loading speeds, and some hosting companies have better reputataions for acheiving higher load speeds for your website than others. Loading speed is important for two reasons: the average human attention span and Google search rankings. If a website takes too long to load, the person is gone before they even view the content. Becuase of this fact, Google prioritizes fast loading times in its search rankings. This is also why it is best to upload images and files with small file sizes to your website.
Plans that fit your needs & budget
With so many options I want to point this because every plan is different and offers different benefits. However, you don’t need to be paying for more than you need. Some plans are designed for larger corporations with heavier website traffic or even for agencies or multiple sister brands that require various websites to be hosted. With a small business shared hosting is likely the best fit for your business. Choose a plan that fits your needs.
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