Though there are more than 22,000 website hosting corporations in the United States alone, it is not easy to find the correct website hosting company. It might look easy, but even Google can’t help you. With millions of results, you need to focus your search and find the right company.
Before you begin your search, you need to consider two basic things:
1. Your needs
As a web designer, you must determine your needs. There are many considerations to make. For example, would you need a Windows server or a Linux one? Do you want a basic site with static content? Or a dynamic one with e-commerce features?
2. Setting priorities
Since there are thousands of companies trying to sell their services, if you do not make up your mind regarding your needs you will most likely end up with the wrong provider. There is a lot of fluff that these companies are trying to sell, and if you do not really understand your own requirements, you will buy it.
To get professional hosting, there are some critical points to consider.
- Tech Support
- Uptime (in percentage)
- Storage Space
- Blog friendliness
- Number of databases or FTP/Email accounts
- Number of domains
Back end support is certainly critical to the working of any website hosting company. If your provider is unable to fix problems as they crop up, then other features do not seem that helpful.
Since the internet is always open without any decided hours, same should be for your tech support. In case you notice that your website is not performing well, you should be able to call the customer support and get it fixed. If they are not there to help you, they’re not really reliable hosting providers.
Uptime is the time when your website is up and running-when people can visit it and get interested in your products or services. When it is down, your website is inaccessible and there are no sales. Uptime is measured in percentage. An uptime of 99.999% seems extremely charming, but it means that in one year, your site will be down for about 5 minutes and 15 seconds. And an uptime of 99.9% means that it will be down for about 8 hours and 45 minutes in a year!
It measures the data that is transferred from a website to the customer downloading it. Though website hosting companies advertise it as an important feature, it is not very critical for average companies.
If you are not putting up a lot of heavy material for download, you shouldn’t be worried about the space. Generally a few GB of storage space is more than enough for websites. But if you want to put up some videos for download, you will need extra space.
There are some website hosting companies that provide sensible hosting for Wordpress and just by one click, you can install your own blog. This is a great feature when you are setting up everything yourself.
If you want your website to have ecommerce capability, you will need professional hosting. It is best to go for large hosting companies because the small ones will not offer the right quality or quantity required for commerce handling needs.
Number of Databases or FTP/Email Accounts
It is wise to plan ahead. With time, as your business will grow, you will need more staff. If you have the correct hosting provider, and the correct package, you can offer domain based email addresses to your employees. Plus, each blog will need its own database. Thus it is a good idea to get unique FTP accounts for different sections of the site.
Number of Domains
As you gain success in one domain, you might want to expand things to other domains as well. Or you might want to buy misspelled or similar versions of your domain name, so that they can be pointed to the original one. Sometimes the same business can have multiple websites. For all these reasons, you can ask your website hosting company about a package that contains many domains.
Based on these features, you can shortlist a couple of finalists to run some simple tests to see how good they are. To do this, just type the name of the provider and append the word ‘complaints’ to it, and Google this string. Go through the results to see which one is the right provider for you and your business.
Joshua Stiles has worked in the web hosting industry, and he enjoys blogging about it along with other interesting topics like mobile marketing, and social media.