What should you think about when choosing a hosting provider?

“Great hosting boils down to the 3 S’s: speed, support and security.”
~ Adam Berry, digital director at Wingard Creative.

Though those are the three vital things to think about, you also should be aware of your ability to scale your website. As your target audience grows so should your website. You’ll need the resiliency to handle the sudden bursts of traffic that can come from more interest. Website hosts are available at almost any price from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars a month. Small businesses that are just getting started, will more than likely do quite well with a cloud, virtual private server, or managed service. These options can range from as little as $10 a month to just about $100 per month.

Here’s a guide to help you pick the best no matter which option you go with.

Important Items to Remember When Choosing a Website Host

How much help will you need?

Basic customer service will ensure you get email, ticket and phone support when you need it. No matter which host you pick, turnaround time will vary, mostly dependent on traffic and specific request. If you are looking for extra help, some provide 24-hour phone support, though it will cost more. When thinking about non-managed service, keep in mind that your vendor will not be your systems manager, though they will be able to help with basic configurations. When looking into managed service keep in mind that while they can manage everything, it will cost many times more a month. It’s not for many if any start-ups or small businesses.

How much traffic do you have?

Each of the website host options you look into will more than likely charge based on storage and bandwidth usage.

In simple terms, bandwidth is a measure of how much data is shared over a certain period. If you don’t have that many website visitors, you have low bandwidth. On the other hand, if you suddenly surge to the top of the Google results, the bandwidth you need will surge.

As long as you’re honest with yourself, you’ll be just fine. If you think your requirements will change, look for more flexible plans with the option to upgrade.

Read the fine print!

As with many things in life, certain deals can be too good to be true. If you see something that says “$1 a month for 12 months!!!!” then you should check to make sure that you won’t be stuck into a two-year contract when the price skyrockets. Similarly, if something says that you have unlimited bandwidth, chances are they can do whatever they want to your speed at their discretion. Always read the fine print on deals that look great.

Own your domain!

If you can afford to get your own .com over a .wordpress.com or similar you need to. Owning the domain that you are interested in using is vital. When you own your own .com you have the right to benefit from everything that you do. It also allows you to have more flexibility should something happen. Along those lines,

“Make sure you own the domain. That way you can change providers if needed, and own any earned SEO benefits,”
~ Nicholas Rubright

Also added to this, make sure you look at all the details of your contract. It’s been mentioned before, however, it needs repeating. There is always a chance that your website host has snuck something into the contract that you don’t like. For example, no ads on the site or G rated content only. You need to be best informed so that even if you don’t mind know, you know for later should your opinion change.

Summary

Choosing a website host is just step one to creating your own website. In the modern age, there are many options to choose from and no option is equal. You’ll need to keep in mind the pros and cons of each website host as well as what they will and won’t let you do. You should think about buying your own domain and never rely on unlimited or unrealistic and too good to be true offers. Take your time when doing this research, nothing is worse than being stuck with a website host that doesn’t fit your website or company.

If you need help, you can always come to me. I offer a two-hour consultation for every new client for free. After that, I price my services for start-ups and small businesses that need work at a cost-friendly budget!