Whether you’re creating an eCommerce website or a blog, who you get to host your website is almost as important as who you get to design it. While some companies offer an all-inclusive design and hosting package, chances are that you will have to find someone to do the hosting as a separate entity. Since signing on with a host is a long-term decision, it’s important that you choose one that fits your budget, has the technology and infrastructure to handle your traffic, and provides good customer service.
Not all websites are created equally or with the same purpose in mind, so your type of website determines the resources you’ll need, as well as the amount of storage and support. Considerations include:
* Type of content. Is your website a blog, or will there be a lot of video and other graphic content.
* Type of platform. Are you using a DIY web-builder or commissioning a custom design? Is your platform Joombla, WordPress, Drupal or something else?
* Is your traffic mainly local or global?
* How much storage do you need? How much speed and bandwidth?
* Do you need other services, like email or help desk support? Do you need the company to host multiple domains?
In addition to these questions, you should also determine the level of service you need ahead of time. For instance, if security is a concern, you might want to go with a dedicated server, If price is more of a consideration, a shared hosting package might work better for you. You’ll also want to determine if you need managed services or if you will have the time and expertise to do it yourself.
Once you know what your basic requirements are, you can use this information as the basis for comparison shopping from provider to provider. Knowing what services are available with each package is just the beginning. There are thousands of hosting services out there, so use your requirements to create a list of questions to help you narrow your search down further.
The FAQ section of the provider site is another way to learn how they operate. You can also contact the provider to gain more detailed information.
Check References and Reviews
Most businesses are happy top post testimonials, case studies and customer reviews, but some of these can be false or misleading if they’re on the provider’s site. Try to find independent consumer reviews on trusted websites, and check out any website the company hosts for yourself to determine things like page load times. There are also services you can use that will test and rate website performance for you. Just do a search for Website Performance Testing Services. Look at the dates of the reviews as well, and try to contact clients personally, if you can.
Once you know your parameters, choosing a host is just a matter of finding a provider with whom you’re compatible.
Pro tip: When you reserve domain name, try to reserve extra domains that contain alternate spellings and suffixes. This will help protect you from unscrupulous competitors, fraud and hijackers who want to try to capitalize on your success.