Most business owners understand the value of creating quality web content and they’re finally beginning to understand the importance of developing a web site that is responsive.
But, that very important process of selecting a reliable web hosting company is often ignored.
When business owners take the time to select a reliable web hosting company, they ensure their website remains accessible and safe at all times.
Haphazardly choosing a web host, based on something like pricing alone, can produce disastrous results.
Related Article: Make Your Site at Home: What to Know Before Selecting a Web Host
Choosing the Wrong Web Host
According to Forbes contributor James Lyne, more than 30,000 web sites are hacked each day. Target, Home Depot, and BlueCross BlueShield are just a few of the many top brands that have been hacked in the past two years. There is no perfect solution to prevent hacking. A reputable and reliable web hosting company will perform regular backups of your data to a secure and remote server just in case there's a security breach and you lose your data.
When your website is down, it’s like having the door locked and the closed sign hanging at a brick-and-mortar business. Your customers can’t enter your store to shop and you can’t make money. Websites are designed to allow customers to shop 24 hours a day. This doesn’t happen if your website is inaccessible. In August 2013, Amazon lost $66,240 per minute when the web site went down for more than 30 minutes.
Security breaches and lost revenue are just the beginning of your problems. Websites that have long downtimes regularly often see a drop in their search rankings. If your website is down, that great content you developed can’t get accessed and indexed by the search engines. This can have a negative effect on your website’s search rankings.
How to Avoid Problems With Your Web Host
Here are 10 tips that will help business owners choose the right web host; avoiding mistakes that can create big problems later.
1. Know What Kind of Web Host You Need
Understanding the needs of your business can help narrow your web hosting options. If you plan to build a website that features video blogging, 24-hour live streaming and the ability for visitors to register and upload their own videos, your website would require more features than someone who just uses their website as a virtual resume. Websites that receive a lot of daily traffic will likely not function well on a shared server because these servers are designed to accommodate a lot of small websites that have limited demands.
2. Choose the Right Hosting Package
Many small businesses turn to shared hosting as a way to save money, but with the smaller price tag comes a bigger risk of slow website response times. Slow websites turn customers away. An option like a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is slightly more expensive, but it provides a faster, higher quality web performance and delivers a better customer experience.
3. Read Web Hosting Reviews
Refer to reputable websites when doing research on the reliability and reputation of web hosts. Researching a web hosting company through third party reviews is very useful in discovering any consistent issues or persistent complaints from current or past users. Pay attention to how the company responds to complaints, if the company responds at all. This will give you an idea of how the company deals with unhappy customers.
4. Get the Right Amount of Bandwidth
While most new websites don’t use a lot of bandwidths, it is important to leave room for growth. Make sure the web hosting company you choose doesn’t lock you into a certain amount bandwidth and then charge you additional fees if you need to revise your hosting plan later.
5. Don’t Get Stuck on Price
When you’re a new business owner with a limited budget, the web hosting company offering the lowest price might be very tempting. As cliché as it sounds, remember: you get what you pay for. The cheapest price might just result in slow servers, poor customer service, constant downtime, and an association with thousands of unprofessional websites that you would be embarrassed to share with your grandmother.
6. Read the Terms of Service
No, really. Read the Terms of Service. Don’t just skim through them. Read them. Most people accept the Terms of Service without bothering to read exactly what they’re signing. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Stop doing it. The Terms of Service usually includes the refund policy, which might be good to know later.
7. Test Customer Support
When you are researching web hosting companies, always look for a way to contact customer support. Can you find a quick and easy way to contact them via email, online chat, or 24/7 phone support? Yes? Great. Now test them. Be sure to test each feature before you purchase their services to see if they meet the needs of your company.
8. Know the Backup Plan
It doesn’t really matter why your website is down or why you have lost your website’s data. You need to know if the web hosting company you choose has a backup plan to help you recover just in case. Ask them, “What’s the plan, Stan?” If you’re not comfortable with the answer, you know what you need to do.
9. Ask About Security Features
Security breaches happen, even to the mom-and-pop store in that small town in Idaho that has a population of 2,000. Make sure your web hosting company can provide Secure Sockets Layer to safeguard your customer’s private information. This is an essential feature in providing customers with safe transactions and it should be a feature that’s provided by the web hosting company.
10. Avoid the New Guy Who Can’t Handle Growth
Many times new companies offer low prices hoping they’ll make up for it with a large influx of clients. However, most new hosting companies are not equipped to successfully manage that many clients at once. It’s best to stick with a more established company that can deal with growth without compromising their clients’ experience.
When web hosting companies experience growth too quickly and they don’t have the resources to handle it, that creates problems for business owners like downtime, slow page loads, lost revenue, and negative effects on search rankings.
Your web host provides a virtual storefront for your business. You should carefully select a virtual store front just as you would a brick-and-mortar. Know what your needs are, read the contract, do your research and ask about security issues.