One of the best ways to create and manage an online brand is by setting up your personal website. For this to be done you would need to select and register a domain name and also pick a good web hosting service. With the number of web hosting companies available it will not be an easy task to accomplish. This blog post is to help you in the process by proving a checklist that contains all necessary questions to be asked before choosing a provider.
Determine how much bandwidth you will actually need
There is no specific answer as it will depend on how and what you try to extract out of the website. Some pointers like will there be everyday blogging, will there be streaming video and audio content available on the site, is there a need to have unlimited email, will you be using multiple domains etc have to be considered. In order to create basic and simple website, your hosting company must support PHP, Perl, Ruby, MySQL at a minimum and other applications and programs. If the above sounds like Greek and Latin, then ask for your hosting company to provide you with some user-friendly programs to help you build your website.
Understand the level and availability of technical support
Technical support is a critical aspect that you will need to look when choosing a hosting service company. Most of the service companies claim to provide 24/7 support in their advertisement. The cause of concern here is the most companies stop with advertising and do no provide this kind of a support in reality. In case the company just offers a telephonic support, give them a call and check their responsiveness. Also understand the amount of time taken to resolve issues. Get to know if they have a forum or FAQ page, the company location and the location of their support group.
Take time to read and understand the terms of services
Understand what will happen if you cancel the contract with the company? Will you be charged a transfer fee if you need to? Does the company offer money-back guarantee? Have they ever shut down a web site without informing or alerting the owners?
What is the hosting company’s uptime record?
Here again you might see many companies advertise 99% uptime, an uptime is nothing but the time that the server was fully operational. It will always help to verify any claims made by the company.
Is the company capable of handling increase in traffic? Determine their connection speed.
Ideally we all would love to increase our websites traffic and increase in business. For this to happen, you must ensure that the hosting company is able to handle surges in traffic. Get to know if there are alerting mechanisms in place when you reach or exceed your bandwidth limits. Upgrading to more space should be done with ease. Ask details about other companies’ websites they have hosted. You might want to log on to those sites and understand how the site traffic loads are handled. You might also want to ask and find out the number of websites, the hosts per server etc.
What is the backup strategy in place?
Understand the frequency of backing up servers. Do not settle for companies, which do not have a backup plan or does have a plan but infrequently backs up servers. Understand if your hosting company is a reseller or if they have their own data centers. This is very important as you stand to lose all your data is there is no back up plan.
What is the level of security offered?
With the increased website attacks and spamming, find a good host that provides spam filtering and protection from virus attacks.
Is their web server running on Windows or Linux? Or do they use any other OS?
This will largely depend on your requirements and you might have to find an operating system that is more compatible than the other.
Is the company well established?
It is not a written rule that an established company will offer you peace of mind. Also, you should be careful with a company that does not have any track records as it will be impossible for you to carry out any research and understand their credibility.
Steps above are good points to consider when choosing a web hosting company. You may also want to read What type of web hosting best suits you which helps you find the right web hosting provider for your business or blog or personal web site.
|Recommended hosting companies: Bluehost,WebHostingHub|