Key Considerations When Choosing Your Web Hosting
Managing a successful website comes down to having a backend that functions correctly, including limited downtime and a quality user experience. This statement is true for those launching a website for the first time or looking to optimize one. Here are six features website owners should consider when deciding on reliable web hosting services.
Websites will never be completely immune to outside attacks, meaning in addition to prevention, website owners should consider a backup plan (literally). If an attack does occur, a backup can ensure that content is readily available and can be easily deployed and running again with minimal downtime.
Optimization and analytics
Especially as a new website owner, analytics can be vital in determining how you can better adjust your website to meet the needs of your visitors. Many web hosts will provide real-time dashboards that break down the most relevant data with little to no extra charge.
Availability of customer support
Even with the simplest of platforms, you are likely to run into unanswered questions from time to time. For this reason, around-the-clock support often becomes essential for businesses to tap into as concerns arise. While 24/7 support is becoming more common, some hosts are still only available during business hours or are known to take days (or weeks) to respond. In addition to availability, customer service representatives should be qualified to answer your questions and converse in your native language. Therefore, consider analyzing customer reviews or testing the support team for yourself, comparing response times and language availability. Even calling a few times can give you an idea of the typical wait time you can expect, or sending an email to generate an automated response with their reply times.
Price is often the first aspect users look into when selecting a hosting provider. However, it isn’t necessarily the most important. As the all-telling saying goes, you get what you pay for, and therefore, saving a few dollars here and there might only cost you down the line when important features are missing from your contract. Often lower prices result from reduced security, minimized customer support, or poor hardware. Website owners are then encouraged to look at the features before comparing prices.
Brand reputation and customer reviews
While a web host’s website may look promising, with the number of features and flashy slogans, users should take this information lightly. After all, internal marketing teams tend to have the ability to put a positive spin on anything. Therefore, website owners are encouraged to enable their creative side, doing a quick search on Google, social media or another third-party site to see first-hand what their customers have to say. In your search, look for details about the ease with which you can contact their support teams, how often the website is down, and general comments about the platform’s features. With the increasing prominence of social media, uncovering the truth about any business is easier now than ever before
Foundation for growth
As is true with most websites, the end goal is to one day attract a large audience of like-minded individuals in support of a growing community. Therefore, while you might be starting with basic features on a cost-effective plan, consider whether this host can support future growth plans. Two years out, you may be considering functionality for eCommerce or may need to upgrade to a VPS or otherwise dedicated server from their shared hosting platform to accommodate growing traffic. Although growth may still seem far away, consider that making the switch from one platform to another is a time commitment and may require some effort, both of which users can avoid by choosing a scalable platform from the beginning.
Making a website is now more simple than ever before. However, ensuring a website is set up for success in the long term is a lengthier discussion that involves a carefully selected host. By getting to know your options, you will be able to make the selection that will benefit your goals and ensure you have a strategic rather than tactical partnership.