Ready To Launch?
Whether you have a significant amount of information you want to present to the Internet or you’re just starting out, selecting the correct web host for your needs is absolutely critical. Spend too much and buy too much space and you’ll find yourself six months down the road with buyer’s remorse, but if you underestimate, you’ll need to upgrade, shift hosts, or start over entirely. Understanding your needs – to generate income, garner significant traffic, or just have a presence on the web – will go a long way in selecting and employing a web host that serves your needs for years to come. Asking yourself these five questions before you lay your money down will help ensure your satisfaction rather than your disappointment!
Probably the biggest concern on your mind will be price. Nobody wants to feel like they’ve been taken in hindsight, so shopping around for a great deal seems like the most logical place to start. The problem though is in a vacuum, you might find a cheap offer, but without checking into more stats about the host, you could be getting ripped off. A lot of time you will find website hosts offer specials like incredibly cheap monthly costs, but when you get everything ready to launch, you find this is for a 3, 4, maybe even 5 year commitment, and the regular price for 1 or 2 years will be significantly higher. Another fear is finding out that the amount of bandwidth allotted to you at this great price is tiny, and you’ll need to upgrade after you start getting significant traffic. While price is important, it needs to be considered in view of the other metrics available.
2. User Satisfaction
One of the easiest things you can do for yourself is to do a quick search on reviews of the host. The great thing about the web is that it’s nearly impossible to silence your detractors, and if there’s a large group of people out there who feel swindled or simply not taken care of by a web host, you’ll find them. Dissenting voices are actually often the loudest, so finding the negative aspects of a company shouldn’t be that difficult. Unless the reviews are mostly negative, however, it will still be on you to weight the value versus the negatives, pros versus cons, and come to a decision. There are many highly regarded web hosts out there who will have great reviews, and in light of the other considerations you should be taking, should be able to provide you with what you need at a price you can afford.
Many web hosting services offer differing plans, based on how much space you need, as well as other amenities such as privacy filters and data backup. One thing to consider is how far you plan on going with your site and how much traffic you anticipate attracting. If you grow significantly and you start to trash your bandwidth, knowing ahead of time that your host will allow you to upgrade to more space and capability with minimal hassle is a great feeling. Always check into your options for growth and how seamless that process is, before you jump into a contract. In this age, it shouldn’t be difficult to accommodate a growing website, so if the host doesn’t offer some kind of scalability, it’s probably best to steer clear and save yourself some frustration in the future, trying to port your site to a different host.
4. Additional Services
As mentioned previously, a lot of hosts will offer additional programs and add-ons to incentivize you to work with them. They almost always cost extra per month or year, but some are incredibly worth the price. For instance, some hosts will offer privacy services, and what this means is that if someone wants to know who “owns” your site, they would normally have access to your very personal information, like address, name, etc. A privacy masking service will change the owner to the host company, and all correspondence would go through them to you, keeping your information secret. Beyond that some offer data back-up, energy-saving practices, discounts for multiple domains, and other features that make them attractive compared to other hosts in the same data and price range. It’s a great idea to really look into this before you make your selection and find a website host for your site.
5. Tech Support
It won’t matter until it matters, but when it does, you want to be able to get someone on the phone or via chat as soon as possible. When your site is down or slow, how easy will it be for you to get in touch with someone who can fix it and get things going smoothly again? If the host doesn’t pride itself on customer service, and by that I mean they don’t mention it in their sales pitch, it’s probably a safe bet that you need to inquire further. After further inquiry, if it still seems murky or worse yet, that tech support isn’t something they’re concerned with, you’re much better going elsewhere for your hosting needs.
Look Before You Leap
There’s a lot to consider when you’re ready to have your site hosted, and you’re going to be paying good money for this service, so don’t cut corners or rush into things. Beyond these five questions, there are other, lesser concerns to worry about. Things like advertising revenue, plug-ins and design features, email capability and list-handling, and areas of specialization are all things to consider before joining a web host and starting your site. The key is being well-informed, and of course this goes for all aspects of life, but signing up for a web host, investing your time and money, and then having major problems later on, can all be avoided by asking yourself the five questions above. Do yourself a favor and do your homework; you’ll be glad you did.