It goes without saying that every business today needs a website and with this comes the decision about web hosting. You can't just point a finger and pick one arbitrarily, because web hosting is serious business and you certainly get what you pay for with web hosting.
To help you select the right web host for your business website, here are 11 factors you need to consider, before signing on the dotted line.
- Customer support: When something goes wrong (because something always goes wrong), you want instant access to customer and tech support 24/7. Some web hosts only provide email support, which is next to useless when you need to fix a problem immediately.
- Backup systems: How often does the web host backup your website? Whilst you should always backup your own website regularly, it gives you added security knowing that your web host has a recent backup on the server as well.
- Storage capacity: As your business grows, you will want to make sure that your web host offers you the right amount of storage capacity for your website. Some hosts offer unlimited storage - but check the fine print because there is usually a cap on this and a penalty if you go over this limit.
- Bandwidth: As your traffic increases, your bandwidth requirements also increase. So instead of paying additional charges if you go over your designated bandwidth limits, make sure the host offers you several options, as well unlimited bandwidth.
- Shared vs dedicated hosting: With shared hosting you share the resources on the server with lots of other websites, which means that they can use all of the available resources and slow your site down considerably. Dedicated hosting gives you your own slice of resources, even if you are on a shared server.
- Multiple domains: Do you want to host a number of other websites on the same host? It pays to make sure you can host multiple domains on the same package (you usually have to pay more for this).
- Domain parking: Many businesses purchase multiple domains, simply to reduce the competition and keep their domain name unique. So make sure you can park multiple domains with your host without building websites on them.
- Email hosting: Do you want to have your business email hosted by the same web hosting company? Do they offer POP or IMAP? Do they have any options and do they offer free emails with your hosting account?
- Easy CMS installs: Most people use WordPress, so make sure that they have a one click, easy install available. Of course, if you use Joomla or Drupal, ask them about these install processes as well.
- CMS updates: How often do they update their CMSs? Regular updates are vital to the security of your websites and in keeping hackers and spammers away.
- Up-time: You want a web host with at least a 98% uptime, because if your server isn't working, neither is your website. You can also ask about redundancies at this point, because any quality web host will have redundant servers, which can pick up the slack if their other servers go down.
When you have the answers to all of these 11 factors, it takes all the stress out of selecting the best web hosting for your business.