People believe that choosing a hosting provider is a quick and easy part of getting a website, but it is quite important to make sure the provider you choose can support and offer you a solid and professional service, because if your site isn’t up and well maintained it can potentially harm your business / brand and cost the business much needed revenue.
That is why, when choosing a Website Hosting Provider to host your website, a number of factors will determine which host will suit you best.
First of all you need to look at your requirements for your website:
- What kind of website is it? Is it a static HTML website, or is the web site built in a higher end development language such as PHP, ASP, Coldfusion etc.?
- If they were built with higher end development languages there is a good chance you will have a database, and would need database hosting included in your website hosting package.
- You will need to find out what kind and amount of traffic you are expecting to your website and what kind of information your site will serve to the public, for example, will many users come to your site and download videos and documents, these tend to be large in size? If this is the case, you will need to look at the bandwidth allocated in your hosting package.
- You will need to find out this information from the developer of your site before choosing your hosting solution.
All these are requirements that need to be catered for by your website host, as well as your chosen hosting packages.
Once you understand the nature of your website, it’s time to do a bit of research. You will need to search the internet for hosts that can provide you with a hosting solution that meets your needs.
Once you have determined your hosting requirements, you will need to look at your budget. This will determine what kind of a hosting package you will ultimately go for. Naturally nobody wants to overspend, but you need to determine the importance of your website to your business.
What you need to be aware of is that cheap hosting does not necessarily mean quality hosting. If you are just displaying a couple pages with static information that never changes, and your website is simply a means for clients to find and contact you, you may be able to get away with a cheaper hosting offer.
If you largely rely on your website to advertise and generate business, we would suggest asking a few questions before making a decision:
- Will the website be hosted locally in your country, as this can affect the speed of your site? If your site is slow you can end up losing clients due to bounces (leaving the site before it’s loaded or spending less than a few seconds on your home page,) or just plain lack of interest.
- What kind of support does the host offer, and what is their turnaround time on support requests? In our experience this can be one of the most frustrating areas regarding hosting, as good support and advice can be hard to find. We are sure many of us have had experiences with call centres where you are unsure whether you can trust the staff to handle your requests.
- Is the host a reseller? There are many generic resellers out there. If your host is a reseller, you may have problems with the chain of support, where your host has to rely on the parent company to resolve issues. This comes back to the above question of support.
- Does the host have backup contingencies? Losing your website data can be devastating and can potentially cost you in uncatered for amounts and in lost revenue, as well as retrieving or rebuilding data. Ultimately this can cost you time and money and in many cases can be debilitating to your business as a whole.
- Do the hosting providers have the technical skill and understanding of website technology to support you if there are issues? Many times we get contacted by people who have an issue and unfortunately no one at the hosting company has any technical skills to assist, resulting in the clients site being down for 34 days.
As tempting as some of the unbelievable prices on hosting can be, this can be a problem in the future. Hosts often lure you in with prices that look good on the surface, but when you realise that your site may need more requirements outside of your cheap hosting package scope, you may find out the costs versus quality of service do not weigh up.
Ultimately your projected ROI (return on investment) of your website will determine the importance of your website to your business, which will in turn determine which website hosting provider will suit your needs.
In summary, before choosing a host, consider what role your website will play in your business. Websites are no longer a nice to have but rather a critical business factor that determines your online presence in the market. Considering the ever growing dependency on the internet for just about every aspect of business from communication, to advertising, to sharing information, to sales, choosing a host should be a carefully thought about process.