When setting up your online business, it’s easy to lose yourself in product development and design.
However, there are a “host” of other duties you need to sort out before launching your site.
Choosing the right web hosting for your business is a critical part of setting up your site.
It would help if you had a host that matches your business model, giving you a flexible and cost-effective solution.
There are dozens of web hosts looking for your business right now – How do you choose the right host for your site?
In this post, we’ll unpack a few factors to consider when selecting your provider.
1. What Kind of Hosting Do You Need?
The first thing you need to decide on is the type of hosting you need for your site.
If you’re launching a personal blog, you can get away with a shared hosting model.
Shared hosting means you share a server with other sites using the host.
The result is a slower performance in loading times for your site.
However, shared hosting is the most affordable option.
Therefore, it’s a great choice when you’re starting and don’t have much traffic visiting your site.
However, if you’re launching an eCommerce site and want to hit the ground running, a dedicated hosting option might make more sense.
Dedicated hosting gives your dedicated access to a server, improving your website performance.
Your site can handle higher volumes of traffic without crashing, and there’s no concern with pages loading slowly.
2. Where Is the Host Geographically Located?
It’s important to consider where your customers are and where the hosting provider’s data center is located.
If you’re serving customers locally in Singapore for example, it doesn’t make sense to use a provider with their data center in London.
Each time a customer in Singapore requests your website, a roundtrip request will be made to the London data center, adding unnecessary latency to the request.
You’d be better off finding a provider with a local Singapore data center.
On the flip side, if you’re serving customers globally, you may want to use a CDN like Cloudflare.
A CDN essentially makes copies of your website in data centers around the world, and serves up your site to users from the closest data center to them, thus increasing speed and reliability.
If you’re looking for hosts particular to a geographic location, we’ve dug through the clutter and found some reliable sources.
Host Advice shows a number of American hosting companies by market share, keeping in mind that market share is not by any means an indicator of how good they are, HostAnalytics has the major European providers, Tech Daily has a pretty good list for providers in Canada and MediaOne has a great list for Singapore as it seems like the hosting hub for Asia.
3. Is the Host Reliable?
When selecting your host, you need to choose a reliable vendor.
Most top-quality hosting companies offer uptime of 99.5% for your site.
Anything less than this is unacceptable and could end up costing your site traffic and conversions.
Avoid signing with companies that offer anything less than a 99% uptime rate.
4. Is the Host Secure?
According to information from a Symantec Security report, 1 in every 13 websites is a cybercrime victim.
Choosing a secure host goes a long way to improving your website security.
Your host should offer firewall protection and monitoring of your network to ensure dangerous traffic stays away from accessing your site.
Your host also needs to provide user access control, preventing unauthorized access to your site’s admin features or backend.
5. What are the Competitive Advantages of Using This Host?
When assessing the shortlist of hosting candidates, take the additional features on offer from the host into consideration.
Most hosts offer the basics of a sustainable connection and ample disk storage space. However, some offer other services that come in handy as your business grows.
Look for email options allowing you to set up accounts with your domain name.
Drag-and-drop web builders are a hot trend online right now. With these tools, you can create your ideal website in minutes. Many hosts offer compatibility with leading website building platforms.
Other important additional features to look for in your host include whether they offer SSL certificates and 1 click installs for apps such as WordPress.
Some hosts also provide direct access to useful eCommerce tools like Magento and OpenCart.
6. Does the Host Offer Data Backups?
While cybercrime is a threat in the online world, there’s also the chance of human error when updating something.
However, if you sign up with a host offering backups, you won’t lose all your data.
Backups also come in handy if your disk fails and your site crashes.
Look for providers offering free backups.
7. Do You Get a User-Friendly Control Panel?
One of the most confusing aspects of being a new webmaster is your lack of knowledge on navigating your control panel.
Plesk or cPanel offers you user-friendly options for managing your website.
With a user-friendly control panel you can take care of minor development tasks, like installing a CMS or creating email accounts.
8. Does the Host Scale with Your Business?
When starting your online business, the goal is to grow your company as fast as possible.
You’ll need to make sure your web host offers you a hosting package that scales with your growth.
As traffic increases, you will put more pressure on the server, causing a need for more server resources.
If your host can’t accommodate the growth, you will lose out on the traffic and potential conversions.
When assessing your hosting provider, ask the following questions.
- Do you get an option for a flexible subscription?
- Can you migrate your hosting solution at any time?
- Can you shift from a shared or VPS hosting solution to a dedicated host easily?
It’s important to find this out before signing up with your host.
Trying to migrate your site to another hosting solution after launch will be a hassle you don’t need in your life.
9. What Is the Cost of Your Web Hosting?
When assessing your potential candidates for web hosting, make sure you shop around for pricing.
Most hosts offer the same pricing model, but a few have special offers during the year.
It’s important to note that the cheapest hosting option might not offer the best service.
Therefore, make sure you go with reputable and recognizable hosting companies when signing up for your account.
10. Does the Host Offer Customer Service?
Customer service is an important part of your hosting solution.
If things go wrong with your connection or network, you need a touchpoint at the company to voice your concerns.
Customer service is essential for assisting you with tasks, like upgrading your hosting option.
Look for hosting companies offering live chat support as well as phone support.
Using email support and waiting for 5-days for a reply is not what you want these days.
Choosing the right web host is a critical component of setting up your website.
You’ll never have any issues with uptime, security, or traffic volumes with the right hosting partner.
Follow the tips in this post to ensure you find a compatible, effective, and trustworthy web hosting solution for your blog, eCommerce store, or online business.