Reliable and high-performing website hosting is a crucial part of any successful website. When you’re thinking about having a new website built, your choice of host is probably one of the last things on your mind. But, neglecting to choose the right host can have disastrous effects on your website—and your business.
With so many choices it’s easy to simply opt for the cheapest option. However, website hosting should be seen as an investment in your business. Think of your website host as the foundation of your site. You wouldn’t build a home on a shaky foundation, and neither should you build a website with a low-quality host behind you.
What is Web Hosting?
When you create a website, you essentially create a bunch of different files. These files need to be stored somewhere to be accessible on the Internet. You pay a hosting provider to “host” these files for you on one of their servers. This is generally the annual fee that you’ll pay to a hosting company.
Hosting companies have collections of servers also known as data centres. Beyond the servers, there are a lot of additional elements like backup power supplies, network connection equipment, security measures and a lot, lot more.
Most importantly, when you host your files on a hosting company’s web server, you want them available 24/7, so your website will always be accessible on the web.
What to look for in website hosting – here’s 5x important things to consider:
1. High Reliability and Uptime
Reliability and server uptime refer to how often your website will be available online. Most hosts stick to the rule of 99.9% uptime.
2. Bandwidth and Storage
Bandwidth translates to the amount of traffic and number of page views your website can handle every single month. The other consideration is storage. The limits for storage vary widely across hosting companies and platforms. However, unless you’re storing videos, collecting and storing lots of user data, or large volumes of media content, you can probably get away with using minimum levels of storage.
3. Solid Customer Support – This is critical!
Customer support is something you don’t think about until it’s too late. Customer service and support should be responsive and ready to assist when and if you need it. If your website is offline or there is an issue you want to be able to easily contact the website hosting company. Some companies only offer email support with a ticketing system, generally not good if your website is down. Ideally have a website hosting company that can provide immediate phone support, and most importantly is on the same time zone as you, it’s not much fun trying to contact a hosting company halfway across the globe at 3 am in the morning!
Take for example the new client who contacted Clark Marketing & Design for help at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed some website changes only to check their website themselves and find out their site was off-line, simply with a notice stating, ‘contact your hosting provider.’ After much frustration and annoyance, numerous calls to the overseas hosting company and being on-hold on one of these calls for some two and half hours, their issue was logged, ticketed and eventually sorted……after 7-days!
Once sorted, Clark Marketing & Design, transferred the hosting over to our locally based website hosting, providing the client with a lot more accessible locally based service and support.
4. The Ability to Scale
Finally, you’ll want to look for a website host that can grow with you. Hopefully, your website won’t stay the same size for its entire life. If you’re starting a site, then you want it to be a success. Over time, what you require from hosting may change. If you started with a basic hosting plan, then you might eventually need to upgrade for more storage or capacity. Makes sure there is flexibility available.
5. Security & Back Up’s
Security is a serious topic! Data centres that house the servers should have advanced physical security systems and protocols and use world-class, state-of-the-art security to ensure that there’s no possibility of physical access to the servers. Unauthorised personnel should not be allowed into the data centre at all and the servers need to be kept in locked cabinets that can only be accessed by authorised staff. Backups of data should be constant and regular to allow for all disaster possibilities!
Hosting will influence the overall success of your website. It might not seem like a big deal initially but choosing a low-quality hosting can harm your site in a variety of ways, including security, speed, capacity and support.