Selecting the right web hosting provider can be daunting because many business owners aren’t even sure what to look for. But in today’s tech-heavy world, having a reliable web host is just as important as having reliable electricity in a brick-and-mortar business place. So if you’re not sure where to start on your search through the many web hosting services available, consider these five tips for finding the right fit in a web host.
1. Look for Evidence of Reliability
Reliability is hands-down the number one most important factor you should look for in a web hosting provider. Even just an hour without service could lose a handful of new customers and prevent current customers from returning. Most business web hosting companies will provide specific statistics and data that attest to their reliability, so pay special attention to this information and the quoted price to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Also, check for mobile adaptability as well, since trends show this is increasingly the medium of choice for many Internet users.
2. Compare Security Strength
You can never be too careful about Internet security. Especially with smaller businesses, you need to prove to your customers that their personal information is safe with you. Ask your web host about what security measures they’re taking to keep your site secure and request information about security problems in their history, such as hacking, stolen identity, and viruses. This is for the safety of your own information as well as your customers.
3. Consider Value—Not Just Price
A price tag of $3,000 is pretty good for a car, but if it’s got 300,000 miles on it, old tires, worn brake pads, and a stained interior, it’s not exactly a good value. When shopping for a web hosting service, remember there’s a difference between price and value. Free web hosting services might sound tempting, but is it a good value if you have to clutter your site with banner ads and full-page video pop-ups?
4. Quantify Your Space
Do you know how much data your site will need? Make a special file on your computer for all the documents, photos, videos, and other media you’ll want on your site and see how many gigabytes, megabytes, or terabytes you’ll need. Often, small business hosting providers will offer examples of what their package deals will cover, but it helps to have a solid ballpark figure in mind.
5. Test Drive Customer Support
If you have any additional questions while shopping around for your hosting service, go ahead and test-drive the company’s customer support department. This ensures all your questions will be answered accurately and personally while also giving you a good idea of what to expect from customer support from that provider. Ideally, you’ll want 24/7 assistance that’s genuinely helpful, instead of just a lot of hold music and transferring.
With smartphones and Yelp reviews always just a finger swipe away, your online presence is often the first impression new customers will have of your business. Your web hosting provider will help manage that impression and make sure it always works in your favor. The pressure is high and competition is fierce among providers, but a carefully thought-out decision will lead to greater success in the long term.