Checklist for choosing the best web hosting
There are different hosting plans available online for least possible costs, even zero. Although price is not always the only criteria there are several other things to consider before you conclude your search for the best web hosting. Lets discuss the aspects of different hosts you must observer in order to make the correct decision about best web hosting. Price is one concern a big one I must admit, however you may also need to look into the features company is providing, how much up time it is guarantying, how honest they are with their commitments etc. Always remember a disgruntled customer is as good as gone forever and a bad website can result in countless such disgruntled customers, hitting you straight with decline in revenue. So it is better to buy a rather expensive plan instead of loosing customer base.
The selection criteria mentioned below is good for both new websites or if you are planning to switch host in search of best web hosting.
Customer support plays a vital role in any host’s success. You may come across several good companies with bad support. The requirement here is simple. You need to have 24 hours ready support nothing less. Also the support must not be naïve to just read from the script, you can do it yourself too, look for proper technical support. Your website can go down anytime and not having adequate service immediately will hit you financially with those disgruntled customers. So this is an important criteria in choosing best web hosting.
Uptime is very important for your website, more so for a professional business website as compare to a personal website. You can do the calculation yourself how much does it cost to you, when your website is down for 8 hours in the peak time. Furthermore if you have advertised yourself and people coming to your website to see nothing or message of “coming back soon” believe me they are never returning. You need to follow these two rules
- See how much uptime is guaranteed by the chosen best web hosting. Good professional host not only state the uptime guarantee but also offers compensations for the more than mentioned downtime, like money back guarantee, discounts on next month’s subscription etc. So if some company is not providing any guarantee it is not worth opting them and it is straight away out of your list of best web hosting.
- Don’t also opt for companies offering uptime as high as 100%. It is not practically possible. In high 90s it can be maintained but 100% means company is misleading you by possible catches in their policies or flat lying.
Best web hosting companies share uptime or downtime statistics on their websites. Check these to see if the levels are acceptable to you. Again anything in high 90s should be good enough. If such statistics are not available, ask your shortlisted best web hosting explicitly to provide those. Observe what the readings are and decide intelligently. If they don’t provide you with some chart, you may reject such host. Because if they themselves don’t know their performance, how can they ensure it to you. A good free website to monitor uptime is www.siteuptime.com,
Taking backups is mandatory even if you have the best web hosting services in the world. Confirm with the company if they take backups on some fixed time period. See if their schedule is suitable for you. For instance for a personal website you may be happy with monthly backups but for an e-commerce website you may need daily backups. Also you must also take manual backups yourself too. You can use cPanel tool for managing your website to take backups. The interface is simple and you can take backup of your work (content and DB) with ease even when your chosen best web hosting company is taking its own backups.
Most of the shared plans by best web hosting companies grant you the web space in a neighborhood of 250 to 300 websites. Although the real count may vary from host to host, depending on server’s specifications and host policies. Now on the shared environment some mischievous fellows can do illegal activities. You will never want yourself to be living in the neighborhood of crooks and drug dealers; similarly you must not appreciate your website shared at the very same place with some illegal website doing business in violation of law. Check your chosen best web hosting company’s acceptable usage policy to know if the host suspends accounts performing illegal activities by itself or not? You may also get banned for doing nothing wrong if you are sharing the same IP address being on that network. Also if an illegal businessman is doing some business like spamming, the overall server speed is bound to go down resulting in bad performance of your own website. You may checkout www.DNSstuff.com by checking out if your selected best web hosting does not have a huge share in spam transmission across the internet. There are no hosts on planet who can claim zero spamming activities on their servers, but still the count should be reasonable.
Infinite data transfer & disk space
You will definitely going to observe or must have already observed many reputed and so called best web hosting service providers coming up with claims like unlimited bandwidth and disk space. This can’t possibly be true. Maintaining hosting service is not cheap option and need a lot of costs like hardware costs, monthly bandwidth costs, other administrative cost, office rent, staff salaries etc etc. Now what they do, first they oversell, and oversell really badly. The result is their hosted websites’ ever declining performance. Secondly although they mention infinite space and infinite disk space, for sole purpose of attracting you to them. However once you reached to their website and scan through their policies you will find out that there are always some catches, for instances in their policy it will be mentioned that the infinite space means 50 GB and infinite bandwidth means 100 GB for instance. So if you exceed these limits they will suspend your account to take your frustration to even higher levels. Avoid these so called best web hosting providers
Owning Domain name?
Confirm from your chosen best web hosting company if the domain name you got is in your name not with someone else or the host itself. It should have been mentioned in their policy documents or FAQ. If not drop them an email to confirm. If the domain name is not assigned to you, then switching host in the future will mean giving up the domain name or paying extra for it by applying for UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy).
To manage your website yourself easily your shortlisted best web hosting must provide you with an administrative control panel. This panel lets you manage items like email address addition, credentials management, content addition, statistical data maintenance etc. It is mandatory to have such control for business portals. Currently the most popular such panel is cPanel. cPanel application makes managing all the website administrative options online very easy and hassle free. Basically you must seek that your best web hosting provider gives you maximum freedom to have control and manage your website like email, website files, taking backups, managing scripts, statistics, FTP and other such things.
Other important services
To gain competitive edge best web hosting companies keep on coming up with newer and newer utilities. These are useful but consider them something useful don’t make your decision solely on such value added options. Some important such value added features and services are given below:
- Automated installer script – This wizard like script help you to setup website components like forum, picture area, or even content etc on your website. It does not take long to install via automated script. You don’t need to be an expert to run these scripts and all best web hosting companies provide this.
- Website builder – You don’t need to be developer in the presence of a website builder utility. Using a good website builder allows you to create your website after providing content in a wizard like mechanism. The whole look and feel could be decided upon using this tool. Famous website builder these days is Site Studio. Best web hosting providers also provide their customers with this website builder tool
Based on above discussion it must be crystal clear to you that price, bandwidth and disk space are not the only criteria to make your decision of best web hosting service provider. Items like support, reliability, professionalism also are important enough to consider. If you are working under extremely tight budget that is separate story altogether though.
So last tip is collect your website hosting options, and keep on filtering each on the basis of criteria mentioned above. Eventually you will be left with set of good hosts, I promise.