If you or your business has an online presence, a crucial part of the whole web presence is deciding who will host your website. The web hoster provides the web space. It also manages the servers on which your site will run, maintaining your company’s connection to its customers. So, what if you are not a web geek? And what if you don’t know how to shop for a good web hoster? Here are some questions and pointers to assist you as you shop.
1. Customer service
Can you think of anything more frustrating than not being able to get through to a live person for help? Technical problems are bound to occur holidays or weekends – they happen at any time. Make sure that support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may also want to look for a web hoster who will speak your language, not overwhelming you with technical terms that only the web specialists understand.
Does your web hoster have effective backups to prevent data from being lost? Does it often shut down for maintenance? A site that is frequently down will lose a lot of visitors. What do you do if you find a site on the search engine, but the page doesn’t load? You’re not likely to stay there and see if a page ever appears, you simply go on to the next site. Be sure that your web hoster does regular backups on their websites (should be at least twice per month), and ask about their maintenance schedule.
Hackers are becoming more intelligent, finding clever ways to break into websites, gaining access to all of your private and sensitive information. Ask your web hosting company about their security protocol and how often they upgrade to effectively maintain their security measures.
4. Is your web hoster a reseller?
Many web hosting companies are merely resellers of web services. Find out if the company actually owns its own web servers and serving infrastructure. CharlesWorks does not have to wait for a middle-man to deal with servers or server issues – all of which arise on occasion everywhere. CharlesWorks can also make customizations otherwise unavailable to hosting companies who do not own their server infrastructure.
5. Amount of web space
CharlesWorks has its own servers. However, not all web hosting companies own or lease their own web servers. Some of them are actually resellers for another, larger web hosting company. The disadvantage of using a reseller is that you are most likely dealing with one who doesn’t know much about the servers and the system they are reselling. If there is a problem or question, your “web host” has to relay your request to technical support of the actual web hosting company. It may take up to several days before your issue is dealt with.
Be sure that your web hoster can provide sufficient server space or can accommodate your needs should you make changes or expansions to your site.
Does anybody actually like advertising pop ups? I find them to be distracting and annoying. How does YOUR business look when pop ups display every time someone loads your site? Realize that most “free” web hosters will impose advertising on your website. This is done to cover the costs of providing your site the free web space and associated services.
Price is of course something to consider when shopping for a web hoster. Remember that you get what you pay for. Without a viable means to recover the costs of running their servers, web hosting companies will not be able to support their business, which leads to poor service and inevitable failure.
7. Payments – Contracts
Many web hosting companies require at least one year minimum of service, imposing an agreement between you and the provider. Often this agreement is a list of terms regarding payments, proprietary rights, account usage and limits etc. At the point of being presented with such a contract, many people are in a vulnerable position of needing their website on-line yesterday. They’ll agree to the contract, most likely not understanding all of the terms of the agreement, and finding themselves married to a company that is not providing for their needs.
We’ve all heard the saying, “trust your gut”. Yes, trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with who you are doing business with, ask questions, and feel free to use the above as a guideline, and yes, FEEL FREE TO QUIZ US AT CHARLESWORKS!