Web hosting companies range from lean and sleek to simply huge. It’s important not to make the mistake of equating size with quality. When you’re working with a hosting company, quality can be measured in terms of several key factors – including level of service, transparency, and reliability.
Too often, business owners gravitate toward the first name that comes to mind when they think of hosting. But that approach may put your business assets at risk. There are many other things to consider before choosing a web host.
Stability vs. pricing
With regard to most buying decisions, the maxim “you get what you pay for” rings true. Web hosting is no different. Though a company’s price points may be attractive, what happens internally is what really counts.
From mergers to bankruptcy, the future fortunes of your hosting provider could leave your firm’s website in a jam if services get altered or discontinued. Before committing your company to a web hosting firm’s stability, you first have to develop a solid understanding of your business’ hosting needs.
Assessing your needs
Typically, a thorough evaluation of your company’s hosting needs begins by identifying the following: Room for growth.
When your business is small, it’s tempting to choose a bare-bones hosting plan. But your goal is probably not to remain small; so when your business begins to grow, you’ll likely need a better hosting plan with different features.
Consider your firm’s current status and projected growth, and choose a company that will grow with you.
- Security. When there are multiple levels of security available to you, the best choice can be a challenge. Does your business model include a need to register users online, process transactions, or close and record sales? Does your work involve confidential health or financial records? Opting for a web hosting plan with extra layers of security will help prevent down time caused by attacks.
- Level of support. Some businesses are equipped with knowledgeable IT departments that are able to troubleshoot problems, while others lack the internal resources to tackle a digital crisis. When you’re investigating prospective hosting companies, review the different levels of support they offer. Some companies provide full support at no additional charge; others bill for in-depth troubleshooting on top of your contracted amount.
What Web Hosting Functions do I Need?
Once you’ve determined the extent of your company’s hosting needs, you can begin to consider the specific functions you will want to target.
Here are some logical examples of how to select based on functions:
- Storage. If you have determined that your company will experience significant growth in the coming months or years, you will want to select a host with scalable storage options.
- Email. Will you be running your email accounts alongside your domain? If so, selecting a web host with email capabilities is important.
- Support. If during your research you determine you will need a high level of support, pay attention to this function. Sometimes paying for support is worth the cost, compared to receiving it as a thrown-in benefit.
There are plenty of other functions for your business to review, but these are tangible examples of what to consider. Selecting a stable host Businesses have to depend on a stable web hosting company.
Between the formation of an ongoing professional relationship and the ability to count on quality service, a reliable, secure web hosting company can make all the difference to your professional online presence.
Review the following key factors before you make your final decision:
- Years in business. A company’s history and years in business should provide insight into its overall stability. When you’re weighing different options, make a note of when the company was launched and study the clues as to its progress.
- Ownership. Frequent changes in ownership (for any company) may signal the presence of internal issues. Whether financial, structural, or some other kind, internal issues can lead to large-scale changes, such as bankruptcy or a change in brand identity.
- Financial health. Hosting companies that are struggling to stay afloat financially are a red flag if you are in need of reliable web hosting services. Conduct a quick search for news stories related to the company, and review their stock market profile for a glimpse into financial health.
- Verified referrals. You might spend some time interviewing business owners who have had to fulfill similar needs. Which hosting company do they use, and how satisfied are they with the service? In the latter stages of the selection process, ask the candidate firm for references or reviews.
- Online reviews. Reading online reviews, particularly for business owners who don’t offer references, can inform your search for the best hosting company. Be thorough about it; read reviews on multiple websites.
Though not a guarantee, the stability of a web hosting company over time should influence your final decision. Downtime is expensive Between a change in hosting providers and a reduction in quality and services, your company’s digital presence may be greatly altered if something occurs to interrupt hosting.
Obviously, downtime is expensive for your business. It results in poor customer service and an inability to bring in revenue, and halts progress toward business goals. A stable hosting provider will ensure your firm reaches established goals faster than you might have imagined.
Here are a few of the goals businesses can achieve when they work with a stable hosting company:
- Attract more visitors. Customers count on businesses with a reliable web presence and are more likely to return as repeat customers. When your business is sought online, it should have guaranteed availability.
- Enhance customer experience. Between content, videos, and images, you can engage customers with a memorable online experience, provided you chose a stable web hosting company.
- Provide better service. Offer customers live support and customer service from a secure website without interruption. A reliable web hosting company will strive for maximum uptime and flawless presentation of your site.
- Build a community. Engage customers in conversation, invite feedback, and reward brand advocates from your company’s website. With reliable hosting services, the buzz about your brand will be healthy and growing.
The above goals can be achieved much faster with reliable hosting. While the possibilities can be endless, they begin with a solid virtual presence.
Choose wisely When the end goal is to build a thriving business that provides exceptional service, compare options to choose your hosting provider wisely. Going offline just isn’t conducive to positive business growth.