A good website is no longer a competitive advantage of exclusively large commercial companies, international cultural projects or governments of developed countries. Today, even a small cozy cafe in the neighborhood can boast of a site with stable work, each individual artist keeps his catchy portfolio on a conceptual business card site, and tourists can easily find up-to-date legal information on the site of small municipalities around the world.
According to various information from open sources, at the turn of 2021 and 2022, there were from 1.6 to 2 billion sites in the world, more than a quarter of which remained active. While these numbers are estimates, they help give an idea of how many people are involved with websites today. And, more importantly, they show the number of site owners, each of whom knows that for the stable operation of the site, first of all, you should take care of choosing a hosting. What are the most important questions that everyone who is just planning to launch their own website should answer for themselves? What should you think about before this key step? We talked about this with Alexander Svadkovsky, CEO of is*hosting, which has more than 17 years of successful experience in the European and US markets and continues to grow rapidly.
How to determine the level of hosting reliability?
Start your hosting search with parameters such as reputation and experience. If a company went through most of the stages of formation and development of the industry along with the market, competed and managed to succeed, occupying its niche, this cannot but endear customers to it, instilling confidence in them. Pay attention to the location of data centers and general flexibility when choosing the following parameters: hardware, server operating systems, CDN implementation, etc.
Security level of a server
First of all, pay attention to the level of security of the data centers used by a particular hosting provider: if the level of protection is below Tier III, the provider is unlikely to be trusted. Data centers that comply with the Tier 3 standard are equipped with redundant capacity and auxiliary (backup) cooling, electricity and network connection. Thanks to full redundancy, reliability is greatly increased, the system can work smoothly. Also pay attention to the value of the Uptime indicator – this is the time of continuous operation of the computing system or its part. The average is 99%, if it is above 99.5%, it is good to go. Protection against unauthorized access to equipment and data backup from your servers will also be a clear advantage of hosting.
Tariff configurator – is it a criterion?
Read the tariff plans of the hosting provider carefully. If a company has a wide grid of plans with the ability to choose a server and its settings that require a high level of personalization, provides the ability to connect additional resources depending on the requirements of each client, this is definitely considered an advantage. Even if you do not yet have special technical knowledge, cooperation with such a provider at the start deprives you of the problems associated with changing hosting in the future. Flexibility in the work of the provider always works in favor of the users’ convenience.
Do I need to take a hoster with administration?
Pay attention to whether the hosting provides server administration. Regardless of the level of your knowledge or the presence of specialists in your team, the ability to administer can be a good help to avoid unpleasant situations or minimize the consequences of them. Specify which list of administration services is guaranteed by the provider’s specialists, on which operating systems, equipment and conditions. Most reliable hosts will delight their customers with full administration so that even complete beginners can get a working site.
Downtime history gone?
This item is directly related to the uptime indicator, which we talked about above. Downtime history directly shows whether the provider can be trusted. But users need to understand that unprecedented 99.9% downtime rates come with unprecedented service costs. Therefore, choosing a hosting provider should be based on the ratio of uptime to cost, but not from a separate uptime indicator.
Backup from a hosting provider
Even the most reliable providers with the most advanced equipment are not immune from failures. That is why most major companies offer backup options. So users get an additional level of protection of their data from complete or partial loss. Pay attention to how potential hosting approaches the backup issue: optional copying to different locations (to a remote server, to a special server for storing backups, to a local computer, to the cloud, etc.) or a separate service that involves storage data will be signs of a reliable provider.
What types of hosting are available?
Make sure that the hosting you choose provides exactly the types of services that you need. For example, if you are just launching your project and the operation of the website should not be designed for the influx of a huge number of users from the very beginning, but progressive growth is expected, you can start with the basic tariff plan of one of the VPS configurations. Later, you can change the configuration on demand and connect additional equipment. If your site is already data intensive and requires more powerful performance, make sure the provider has dedicated servers that will suit you best in this case. With their help, you can also purchase additional equipment or change the hosting plan.
As in any other service industry, the presence of a well-functioning support service speaks of a company’s serious approach to work. No matter how much experience and amount of technical knowledge the user has, the availability of technical support from the hosting provider can facilitate cooperation with him. Regardless of the communication channel (calls, chats, requests, etc.), receiving prompt feedback in case of problems or questions is both saving users time and a certain level of confidence.
How important is site monitoring and auto-recovery?
Monitoring and auto-restoration of sites are also an important component in working with hosting. Most site owners with sufficient experience will immediately name the most convenient monitoring services and will be able to describe step by step the process of restoring a site from a backup. But even experienced users will not consider it superfluous to be able to receive such services from a provider: both free of charge (included in the tariff plan) and for an additional fee, which in the case of monitoring, for example, means checking the site’s performance every minute instead of once every 15 minutes. The benefits of automatic restoration of the site by hosting from the last backup copy (the frequency of copying also depends on the tariff plan, but the presence of copying is a prerequisite and an important indicator of the quality of the hosting work) are out of the question.
Is there a warranty or trial period offer
Before deciding on a hosting choice, read the service guarantees, pay attention to the financial policy and the specifics of the refund policy. In trusted companies, each of these issues will be worked out in detail and separately prescribed. The ability to start cooperation with hosting with a trial period is another point in the reliability box. In addition to the fact that hosting in this case is confident in the quality of its work, users get additional convenience: in case you suddenly change your mind, this will avoid unnecessary problems and save time on paperwork.
If suddenly right now you are in search of a good hosting, we recommend that you take each of the points in this article seriously. So you can exclude from the list of potential providers the absolute majority of companies, cooperation with which will not bring anything but a headache. When it comes to hosting, a lot of minor problems usually end up with moving an already working site to a new host, which requires additional resources and can lead to temporary unavailability of your site. Therefore, it is better to approach the choice wisely from the very beginning.