If you’re on the cusp of creating your first business website, one of the most crucial decisions you can make is your choice of webhost. There are no end of options out there, and it’s worth doing some due diligence since the difference between hosts can be as stark as the one between the sun and the moon.
Here’s what questions to ask yourself as you whittle down the choices to pick a good business webhost:
1. Is The Host A Good Brand? You can actually buy dirt cheap hosting on sites like Fiverr.com – of course what you’ll save in a few dollars will probably be more than made up for in grief if the provider suddenly disappears without a trace. It has been known to happen. You’ll be investing time and money in your website, so pick a reputed host who has a good track record.
2. How Good Is The Support? Many SME’s wont have a technical web specialist to iron out any problems if the site blows up. Hosts offer contrasting levels of support – some will have the works including a chat line and phone number to talk through any issues, while others may only really offer basic email support. Know what you need before signing up.
3. Is Backup Provided? A good host should be able to provide a site backup solution in the event of a disaster. Any number of issues might cause a site to collapse – from a dim witted employee to a virus and more. A cheap host run by a one man band could well leave you in the lurch just when you need a backup. If you do go with a very basic host without backup services, be sure to put your own disaster recovery fail-safes in place.
4. What Is The Downtime? Sods law determines that just as you embark upon an expensive marketing campaign – that’s when your site will be at the mercy of downtime. Ideally you will want an uptime of 99% or more – nothing shouts “amateur” quite as loudly as a site that is down again and again.
5. Cpanel & Fantasticos. If you’re planning on setting up things such as WordPress to power your website, you’ll want a host that offers both Cpanel and Fantasticos (or something similar like SimpleScripts). These options make is dead easy to set up blogs and more as the core CMS that runs everything. Most hosts will offer this as standard but it’s worth checking in advance.
6. Dedicated Server Or Standard? If an SME has a portfolio of high traffic sites, it can be worth considering a dedicated hosting option. Most simple hosting sites are placed on shared servers – many other companies and people share one server. This may not be adequate for massive sites with vast amounts of files, media, data and traffic. Dedicated servers are significantly more expensive than standard servers.
7. Ditch The Add Ons You Don’t Need. Many hosts will lure clients in with adverts of dirt cheap hosting, then offer add ons at extra prices. Make sure you actually require any add ons you pay for, otherwise it’s a tragic and recurring waste of your budget!