There are thousands of companies that offer web hosting services. Whether you’re an experienced developer or a small business owner looking to build an online presence for your new company, the hosting platform you choose to work with can greatly impact the success of your website. Some of the factors you consider will depend on the size and type of business you own, and what the main goal of your website will be in the future.
The following 8 important factors should be considered when choosing a hosting platform:
- Customer Reviews
Like any other product or service, customer reviews should be an important factor when looking into hosting services. Besides reading reviews on the company’s website you can use a search engine to find any negative reviews on other sites, like Google and Yelp.
An extensive amount of bad reviews should raise a red flag.
- User Interface
The hosting company of your choice should offer an attractive user interface and cPanel that’s easy to use.
Many hosting companies offer free demonstrations of their backend sections. Play around with more than one to see which one suits you best. If you’ve never developed a website before, you’ll need a user interface that offers easy navigation, easy to understand buttons and high-level functionality.
- cPanel Features
If you plan on using a content management system platform to build your website, ask if the hosting company offers WordPress, Joomla or similar tools as part of their cPanel software.
Some cPanel features that should be offered with every hosting plan include email setup, website builders, basic SEO tools, domain registration and tech support chat.
- Tech Support
If something goes awry with your website hosting company, you’ll want the best tech support there to help you out.
Web hosting tech support should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company should offer multiple ways to contact support, including live chat, email, forum posting and phone support. If possible, read tech support reviews to determine the average response time for each potential hosting company.
- Areas of Specialty
Some website hosting companies specialize in certain types of businesses or platforms, like WordPress.
While not a requirement, if you find someone that specializes in your platform or business type, using them might make it easier for you to build a website and market your business.
Budget is always on the mind of business owners, and should play an important part in choosing a web host company.
Hosting costs normally range from $1 to $20 per month and more depending on the services offered. If you plan on hosting multiple websites, it might be best to use a hosting company that allows unlimited websites under one plan, even though the monthly cost will likely be around $10.
To cater to various customers, hosting companies offer multiple packages at different price points. If you’ve found a company that you want to host your site with, start with the lowest package first and then upgrade to a more costly one if your traffic increases or if you need a dedicated private server.
It’s best to balance the monthly cost of hosting with the services offered before making a final decision.
- Hardware Limitations
Read up on the type of hardware your potential choice uses and how much room they give you for traffic. This research should include how much traffic bandwidth is allowed on a monthly basis, especially if you plan on having high traffic amounts.
While this information isn’t always readily available online, a quick phone call to the hosting company will likely get you the answers you need. Most companies will also offer different monthly packages at price points that reflect various traffic estimates.
Only deal with a reliable hosting company that has a track record of providing top-notch services to their customers.
Reliability can be measured by the history of the company, number of people they employ, rating information and more. If a hosting company is known for having constant issues with down time, slow website load times, or problem with billing, their reliability rating is suffering and you should look elsewhere.
The process of finding a quality web hosting company can be stressful, especially for those who have never built a website before. Build a list of reputable hosting companies first, read reviews from previous and current customers, check out the features of each one and then find out how much each option charges before making a decision to sign up.
Most hosting companies won’t hold you to a long term contract, so if you’re unhappy with your current hosting provider, you’re always open to move your website somewhere else.