Choosing a web hosting provider is different for everyone. Every website has a specific set of needs and you have to find a web host that provides the needs that are specific to your website.
However, there are certain things to look for when choosing a web-hosting service. In this article I will give you the ten most common things people should be looking for. These are not necessarily in the order of priority, because as I said every website has different needs and your priorities might not be the same as the next website owner.
1. Tech Support: Tech support in any business venture is always important. As a website owner though, the tech support that your web-hosting service provides is going to be crucial to your business. If your website is offline or not working properly it will cost you sales.
If you have been buying traffic to your website and it goes offline, you are still being charged for all of those visits to your website, which they never saw. The money you are spending on your ad campaign, AdWords program or other traffic sources is going right down the drain. You cannot afford to choose a web host that does not respond quickly when you have a problem.
2. Feedback Forums: A web host that provides a forum, message board, or chat room to discuss hosting issues or to get help in is more likely to get a user to use their web-hosting services. The reason behind this is people feel more comfortable with a web host that gives a personal touch and one that cares enough to provide a higher level of service.
3. Room to Grow: If your web-hosting service only offers one package, it’s a bad sign in most cases. What happens as your web business grows and so do your web hosting needs? If they offer upgrades to dedicated servers, larger storage and bandwidth plans, and a lot of other options, then you can feel confident choosing them as your web hosting provider. You don’t plan to stay small and your web host shouldn’t plan for you to stay small either.
4. Storage Space: This is usually only an issue with websites that will be offering users a lot of downloads such as music or software. The average website can get by with about 10 megabytes of storage, but again you want room to grow, plus you can actually use your storage to back up files from your computer. Don’t backup secure documents there, but a lot of your files can be backed up online. You have storage so use it. The more storage space they offer, the better.
5. Bandwidth or Transfer: This is the size of every file visitors to your website download automatically to their computers each time they visit. The average webpage is around 30k and then you add the graphics and other files that are displayed to the user and you get your bandwidth or transfer usage. The average website can get by on less than 10 gigabytes of bandwidth per month. However if you are offering downloads like software, music, and movies, or you are going to be driving a lot of traffic to your website, you may want to choose a plan that offers you more bandwidth. Make sure your webhosting provider has options that give you room to grow here as well.
6. Easy to use Control Panel: Cpanel is one of the most popular control panels for web hosts to offer, but there are others. Ask what type of control panel your web host is offering to provide you with. Again, this need is different for everyone and this is based on your level of expertise. Some advanced users would rather not have or don’t care about control panels because they know how to configure everything in the server by themselves. Less advanced users need to be sure they pick a web hosting service that provides an easier interface so they can feel comfortable making the alterations they need to their website.
7. FrontPage extensions: A lot of people that do not know HTML still use FrontPage or other programs to design their websites with. If you use FrontPage, you need to make sure your web host is set up for FrontPage extensions.
8. Type of Servers: An example of this is websites that will be built using the .NET framework or ASP. For your website you will need to make sure your web host has a windows based server. Most web hosting providers are on Linux or Apache and ASP websites will not function on them. A better choice is to stay away from building a website that requires a windows server in the first place.
9. Added Features: Instant Install is a feature offered by most web hosts these days even if they call it another name. It’s an automated process for installing databases and database driven features you can add to your website like photo galleries, forums, blogs, content management systems, calendars, guestbooks, and more. It’s just as easy to choose a web-hosting provider that gives you these features in case you need them as it is to choose one that doesn’t. Again, room to grow is important.
10. Is your web host a good neighborhood: This one is a little more difficult to explain and find out about but it is important. Some search engines punish websites who are in a bad neighborhood. They do this by banning websites that come from a particular set of IP addresses due to previous problems with websites on those IP addresses. You need to see samples of other websites that are hosted by your web hosting service. If a lot of them are warez websites, porn websites, file sharing websites, or other websites whose activities do not seem to savory, then you may be looking at a bad neighborhood and may want to find another web host.
That’s my top 10 tips for choosing a web hosting service. I hope you find these tips helpful when you look for where to host your next website!