After choosing a domain name, your hosting account is the next important step in getting your business/brand online. This post will outline what your biggest concerns should be when doing your research, and also what questions to ask when shopping for the best hosting plan for your website.
Let me first begin by saying that you cannot expect to choose the best website hosting plan without first knowing what your specific needs are; not only now, but for the future as well. You need to carefully consider short and long term traffic, storage space, additional domains, conducting updates and a handful of other important factors.
If all these questions seem overwhelming, or you don’t know the answers, then the most common recommendation is for you to begin with a reliable, shared hosting account. A shared hosting plan is cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new websites. Plus, you can always upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting at a later time, as your website needs evolve.
Now on the other hand, if you are really interested in learning more about the hosting options you have, but you are not tech-savvy -and/or you think a host is the person who seats you at the restaurant, I have listed some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a host for your website:
In the event that something should happen with your website’s visibility on the Internet, nothing is more important than having a web host that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That said, 99.5% and above is the industry standard uptime score; anything below 99% is unacceptable.
Nowadays, it is common for businesses to own more than one domain. To host additional domains, you will need additional hosting space. For this reason it is important to have a hosting account that allows for the addition of multiple domains.
If you operate a properly optimized WordPress blog, a shared hosting account should be sufficient to support 30,000 to 40,000 monthly unique visitors. That said, if you expect your website to grow significantly in next few years, then you should definitely consider choosing a web host that will accommodate your growth. This could one day involve upgrading from shared hosting to VPS to dedicated server to deliver more processing power, memory capacity, disk storage, and better security.
You need Cron jobs for day-to-day operations. This includes an Auto Script Installer (like Fantastico, Simple Scripts, and Quick Installer) to save time, .htaccess for security/page redirects/etc., SSI for easier site maintenance (when you are building a static site), and FTP access for easy file transfer.
Either now or in the future, will you need to process transactions on your website? Are you already committed to using a specific shopping cart software?
If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, it is important for you to pick a website host with sufficient e-commerce support. SSL certification, a dedicated IP, and one-click shopping cart software installation, are some of the essential features/support you can be certain you will need.
Your website hosting provider should perform regular back-ups, and be able to restore your website in no time.
To have a clear understanding of back ups, here are 3 important questions to ask your website host:
- Do you provide full backups regularly?
- Can you perform backups easily in the control panel?
- Can you easily restore backup files on your own, or do you have to wait for support staff to do it?
It doesn’t matter if it’s a cPanel, Plesk or a third party control panel, a user-friendly and functional hosting control panel is very, very important.
Without access to an adequate control panel, you will be left at the mercy of the hosting tech support staff; even if all you need are basic changes.
If your website was your house, your hosting would be your neighborhood.
Carefully choose a host that suits your immediate needs, AND supports your website’s long-term goals. If you move yourself into a bad neighborhood, moving your website after a few years won’t be much easier than moving your house would be.If your website was your house, your hosting would be your neighborhood.Click To Tweet