The Internet is a vast network of virtual space, just waiting to be grabbed by enterprising businesses, who want to catch the eye of their target audience while extending their own reach. The Internet being an entirely virtual medium, is both an extremely useful and an extremely dangerous place. When choosing a web host, it is important, therefore, to keep a number of factors in mind. Make an informed decision, and look at the following aspects of your web host carefully before you take the plunge:
Price – the bank is where it hurts the most
The first and most important aspect which most people consider, when selecting a Web hosting site, is to look at the price. One should not jump at the cheapest available host, but go into the details of the offer. Look at the various features that a particular host offers. Features like hardware support and non-outsources tech support cost money, and a site charging minimal prices will probably not be offering these services, which you may require for your web-site. Often the start-up price may be low, but the space you get may not be up to your needs. Therefore, it is imperative to first check if your requirements are being met by the host, and then compare prices between different hosts. The cheapest offer then available for comparative services should be the one which you decide in favor of.
Tech Support – for seamless web presence
For the intelligent consumer, this is the most important factor of all. When your site goes down, you should be able to call up a live person, in an emergency. Even more than that, they ought to be able to find out the source of the error and fix it. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, before selecting a host to look for the kinds of customer support that they offer. The kinds of support and communication that they offer, whether phone, e-mail, toll-free or otherwise should also play a part in determining whether they will be able to provide the right kind of support for your website. Checking the customer feedback on the technical support is a good policy. Ensure that the host provides 24/7 support and check whether they outsource their tech support to other sources. Whenever possible, go for those with their own, integrated customer support system. A really good customer support system will even explain to the customer what went wrong and possible advise ways to guard against it.
Scalability – ensuring that there are no invisible ropes tying you down
This is important if your business has any real ambitions of growth. It is important to allow room to grow. If your business starts to expand, then you will require more web space for your site to expand. Any good web-based enterprise will always have growth as one of its major agendas. Hence, when selecting a web host, it is important to check for the kinds of scalability services that it provides. The host should allow your site the chance to grow by providing a good amount of space, much more than you may initially need. You should also check whether it has VPS or Dedicated Server solutions. In the case of unexpected growth that needs to be accommodated, you should be able to update your account with the host. If you need to transfer your site to a different host, it may cost you a lot of money and valuable time. So it may be a good idea to check how much space you have available to you when first selecting a host.
Web Hosting Protection – better prevent than repent
With the Internet being a place where attacks always endanger the integrity of material, it is very important to protect the web-site. When going with a host, you should try and choose one which also provides basic protections to for your website. Server backups in the event of hacks, cracks, viruses or other forms of attack or damage should be a must in your shopping list. Secured FTP connection and virus scans should be provided by the host. Valid SSL certificates should be a consideration for ecommerce owners and shopping carts. Encrypted password protection is another way in which your host can support the integrity of your website.
User Interface and Template – the glitzy accompaniments
A lot of web users are often technologically challenged themselves. This is a reason they use professional services in the making of their websites. You should be facilitated to complete tasks such as setting up email, FTP accounts and other such simple tasks, without calling the helpline of the web-hosting company. Your web host should provide an operative Control Panel to allow you to make updates and modifications to your web-site easier. If there’s a problem with a difficult interface, then the website owner, who uses it to modify the site, will be faced with most problems.
Some web hosting companies even offer the user the chance to design the template for their own website. In-built software allows the user to create mobile sites, web pages and other tools needed to construct the web-site. Most professionals do not use these tools, but it is something that you should look into if you are thinking of making small pages for small businesses.
Email Services – another channel to connect with the people who matter
In the Electronic age, with the email being the most favoured form of formal communication, the kind of resources a web hosting company offers will definitely have to include good email services. The email should be functionable and such factors as user-friendly email software, email allocation quota, password reset, account deletion and others should be considered when examining the email services offered by the web hosting company. Password protection and data protection are also important considerations. Updated mailing lists, spam filters, virus protection, email redirects and catch-all mails are added features that enhance the marketability of the services offered. The ability to create safe, workable, fast email accounts, which should also have unlimited space will always tilt the balance in the favour of the web host that facilitates it.
Hosting Features – stay alive to the best deal
The server must have the basic features necessary to support a web-page or a web service. Although there are variations in the way in which web hosting companies provide service, certain features are a must, without which challenges will arise to smooth functioning of web sites hosted. If your website depends heavily on internet access, it is very important to ensure that it does not get frequently timed out. It should guarantee almost 100% uptime and 24/7 server monitoring. Periodic backing up of the web sites should be done on the server to ensure that any damages suffered from attacks or malfunctioning do not cause loss of major data. Although it is difficult to find a web host with unlimited bandwidth, database and storage services, taking the one which offers the best in this regard is important, and those with higher limits are always preferred choice. Some web hosts even offer advanced features like dedicated ip, but most of the time this requires an additional fee. Features like having multiple data centers or energy saving or even free domain privacy can also enhance the reputation of a web host.
Add-ons, Bonuses and Options – the perfect packaging
Finally, this is a factor that often influences the decision, when selecting a web host for one’s website. These added perks are received on sign up and often the sum of the value provided for these is more than the cost of hosting the site for a number of years. Although many web hosts do not offer these bonuses, they often place the company in a good light and can be a very good relationship device, making the start-up process an easy one. The E-commerce platform, shopping cart, money back guarantee, one-year domain privacy, a toll-free number, directory listings and even free advertising credits on Yahoo, Google and Facebook are only some of the bonuses/perks offered by web hosts in order to make their hosting space more lucrative.
Often, these perks come as varying options. The various options that the web host provides can be tailor-made to suit to the needs of the website owner, or may come as pre-decided packages that the user can choose from. The more options a web host provides, the better the chances of finding what one needs on the hosting space, and thus the business can grow freely and function smoothly without having to worry about the services that it needs to add on to its web services list. This creates a win-win situation for both the web host, which draws more customers, and also for the various websites, who can find their requisite features ready-made in their hosting space.