Web hosting is not something we necessarily advertise that we do as part of our core services, but we do heavily recommend that web clients host through us if we’re building a website for them. There are a number of reasons for this, but mostly because we are very comfortable with the intricacies of our systems and how our websites work within them. We are able to stay on top of load times, backups, and be able to quickly react at all hours of the night in the rare emergency.
Despite that, there are clients that prefer to secure web hosting elsewhere, be it because of IT requirements, personal preference, or any other number of reasons. In these cases, we try our best to educate the client as to the right things to look for in web hosting. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re considering web hosting for your project.
10 Things To Check For When Choosing Web Hosting
1. What exactly is included in the hosting package?
Sure, you might know how much RAM you’re getting and how much space you’ll have, but what about the details?
Make sure you understand if that storage includes email storage? Is there even email support at all? How many subdomains? How many database installs? The general rule here is the more the better, but you also get what you pay for. Make sure you won’t get nickeled and dimed out of your budget if all the little things start adding up.
2. How long has the company been in business?
Has the host changed management or ownership recently? I used to work with a mid-sized hosting company that was bought out by one of the largest domain providers on the web. Given the parent company’s less-than-stellar reputation, I decided to move away from the newly-acquired company, which proved to be a smart choice as their customer support began to suffer immediately.
3. Speaking of customer support…
Is it live chat? Email? Phone? Ticketing? Are they only available certain hours? If it IS phone, how hard is it to speak with someone who can help you? What are their ticketing queues like? How long are you going to have to wait when your site is down or you can’t access your email? What is that peace of mind worth to you?
4. What is the uptime guarantee?
Nothing is more important than having a host that operates 24/7 and on a powerful server with a stable connection. If they can’t guarantee over a 99% uptime, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
5. Can you upgrade?
Most businesses will be just fine on a shared hosting plan, but as you grow, your website will need to be able to scale with it. What if your site goes viral? Or gets picked up by Reddit? Can you quickly react and increase your bandwidth or will you end up suffering the Reddit Hug Of Death?
6. How many clients are assigned to shared hosting?
If you do end up on shared hosting, is there a maximum amount of clients assigned to it? The more traffic all of those clients get, the slower things can get on your end. A good host will spread their clients through a series of servers, but the less you’re paying a month, chances are higher that you’re getting lumped in with a large cluster of sites.
7. What kind of control panel is there?
The control panel of your server space is the brain of the entire operation. cPanel and Plesk are the popular ones, but a third party or proprietary set up is fine as long as it’s user-friendly and gives you easy access to everything you need.
8. What are the security measures and backup procedures?
Bad things definitely happens, no matter how big or small your site is. A hacker could find a new exploit, a hard drive could fail, a database could get corrupted, all of which could be beyond your control. Your web host has to be offering at least daily backups, if not more frequently. And those backups should be able to restore back all of your site and data immediately and for no additional cost. Additionally, a good host will also be on top of common site exploits and should be monitoring the server usage for unusual activity.
You need to know how your data is managed by your web host and who owns your site once it goes onto their servers.
10. Is the hosting eco-friendly?
Did you know that web hosting was estimated to be as polluting as the airline industry in year 2020? According to studies, a web server typically produces more than 630kg of CO2 (which is a lot!) and consumes 1,000 KWh of energy each year. A green web host can theoretically produce almost no CO2, so if you or your company puts an emphasis on utilizing eco-friendly technologies, then this is something to look for.
Finally, if all of this is overwhelming or sounds like a foreign language, talk to us about what you’re looking for in a web host for your site. We would be happy to help make sense of all of this and even make some recommendations for you.