It’s time for a new website. And if you’re thinking of doing some of the work yourself, you’ll have to invest in a great hosting company. Before you make your selection, remember all hosting companies ARE NOT created equally. Yes they pull you in with those low, low prices and those great sounding guarantees. But if you get with the wrong company, you may wind up paying the price down the road.
Before you make your selection, keep these things in mind.
What are the contract terms?
A hosting company may wave great prices in front of you. Yet in some cases it may come with the condition of hosting with them for a set amount of years. Do you really want to be tied in with a company for an extended period of time? Especially if you are new to this company and have no idea how reliable they are and if you will truly be getting quality hosting?
Do they provide you with backup?
Yep, stuff happens all the time. Networks can be hacked, power failures can wipe out data, a fire could start, or someone may press a wrong button. Uh oh. There goes all of your work and data. A great hosting company thinks about those things too. They make sure your data is backed up at on and offsite locations. (That doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t do your own backups on a regular basis.)
Are they a reliable company?
Before you go with a hosting company, make sure they will be there for you. Do a Google search and look at ratings. A site that is planning for the future will be out there and have reviews not just on their site, but will be on other sites as well. While you will always be able to find some type of negativity about almost all companies, it is important to find one that has a positive future.
What details do they offer?
Every hosting plan comes with a variety of details. Make sure you look at the 3 big ones – bandwidth, memory and disk space. You may also want to check on other features for future growth, such as programming language support, email accounts, server operating systems, etc. If you will be working with WordPress, we have found cPanel is one of the easiest ways to get your site online – its highly worth it as its “push a button” technology. Also consider if you will be integrating other features in the future, such as shopping carts, credit card transactions, and other secure data.
While you may not plan on having a problem with your site, invariably something will happen. A hosting service that offers 24/7 support through email and phone will allow you to communicate with someone no matter when your problem occurs. If you have questions before you buy, give them a call – possibly at an off hour like 4 in the morning or late Sunday evening – and see how well they handle your questions.
Who owns your data?
Many companies pull you in with great promises – yes even the big names you hear about on a daily basis. They offer you a low price package plan where you get a “free” domain name, hosting, and access to templated systems. The problem comes in when you try and leave. In some cases, you may lose your domain name altogether – they own it as a part of the package. You may also lose all of your data; again they own the widgets and have no way of giving you access to the data. Your domain name is an important part of your business model. Never sign on the dotted line unless you retain rights, no matter what.
Server uptime and speed
What good is having a website when its not operational when your prospects and clients want to use it. A down site could cost your business hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time. Most large web hosts will provide uptime at 99 percent or better. They have many backup processes available to make sure their servers don’t go down, and your site is always up. And while its important to make sure your site is always accessible, its equally important to make sure it comes up quickly. If you’ve ever sat for 10, 20, 30 seconds or more waiting for a site to load, you understand the consequences. Most people simply move on.
After using many different companies over the years, we do have a favorite – Hostgator. We’ve used them for years, and meet all of the qualifications I’ve listed out here. They provide reliable service at an affordable price. If you need hosting, check them out.