When choosing a place to host your website, there are many factors to take into consideration. With over 10 years of experience under my belt in web development, I have come across a few good ones. Here are the top 5 factors that I consider when choosing a Web Host:
1) Where are they based?
This is probably the single most overlooked factor. Where your website is based means that you will have to apply by local laws of that state or country. It also means that their business hours may not be the same as yours. I for example, live on the eastern coast USA and my server is in Utah. My work day is half over when theirs is just beginning, so I have to time my communication wisely.
2) Do they have 24 x 7 Support? How about live support?
I can’t stress how important 24 x 7 support is. It’s kind of like insurance, you don’t need it until you really need it. If your website goes down on a Saturday afternoon, will you be able to contact them? Do they have a phone number listed on their website? If they do, pick it up and call them BEFORE you place your order. Make sure the number works and get a feel for their level of support before you buy! As a general rule if they don’t have a phone number, don’t buy!
3) Read the fine print!
No one enjoys reading all the legal jargon that accompanies a purchase of this nature. You must remember, this is your business! The success of it will largely depend on your Web Host. Does the host have a traffic limitation or not allow adult oriented sites? All of this will be in the terms of service.
4) Should I choose a shared, dedicated or VPS server?
Really this question is related to scalability. The type of websites and the nature of your business can help you to determine this. If your business doesn’t do much business online and you need the most basic of sites, then a typical shared server will be fine. This is the ONLY situation in which I would recommend a shared server. If you’re planning on hosting several websites with even remotely heavy traffic, then VPS or dedicated are your choices. In short, shared servers are great for static sites or very small dynamic ones with low traffic.
5) How long have they been in business?
Last but not least, make sure to check out the history of the hosting company. If the business has only been around a couple of years or it has changed hands a lot of times in recent years, then I would steer clear of them.
At the bottom of this article you will find links to more information on reliable hosting. Now it’s time to go and practice what we’ve learned….