Choosing a Web Host


If you have created your own great website but need to find the best hosting provider to get your site online - here are some important things to consider and some important questions to ask to ensure you choose the right hosting provider for your business.

Whether you have create your own great website - or had someone build it for you - a key element to your success online is choosing a great web hosting provider to get your site on the web and put your site to work for your business. But selecting a web hosting provider may not be as easy as it seems. Most small business owners talk to track every penny of business costs to ensure continued growth and success. Yet, if small businesses try and save money on web hosting costs by going with a low cost hosting provider, they may get a frustrating experience that ends up costing both time and money.

So, how can you make sure you choose the right provider? Here are some of the things you should look for when choosing a web host provider.

  • Reliability - In this web-connected business world, your website defines your business. If you've just met with a prospective client for the first time, you want them to be able to go to your website and investigate your business further. It could damage your chances of doing future business with this prospective client, if your site is down when they visit.

In addition, if you're actively marketing products and services electronically, you need confidence that when a potential customer discovers your business (whether in the middle of the night or the middle of the day), they can easily access your site and place an order. How much revenue can you afford to lose because your web hosting provider is down when prospective customers try to visit your site? And how many of your marketing dollars could be wasted if your site is not available when prospects decide to learn more about your business? For most businesses the amount of potential loss will exceed the small savings you may be getting from going with the lowest cost provider you can find.

So, when you're investigating a web host provider, ask what guarantees. Does this web hosting provider offer a guarantee of their reliability or uptime? The strength of a guarantee is a great indicator of the confidence your web hosting provider really has in being able to provide a reliable service.

  • Technical support - Many small business owners don't work a typical 9-5 schedule. If you're working on your website at midnight, and you need help installing your digital certificate (for example) you need a web host provider that can answer your questions whenever you have them.

So, when making a decision about a web host provider, ask about the technical support they will offer you. Will this web host provider be there to answer your questions whenever they come up?

  • Technology - If you've designed your own site or if you edit your existing site, you know that there are various technologies used on the back-end to ensure the site has the full functionality you intended. These may include FTP, PHP, MySQL and others.

Many low cost web hosting services can offer low prices, because they limit the technologies that are available for you to build or use on your site. Often these hosting providers offer huge storage capacity as the main 'feature' of their service. When choosing a web host provider, don't be blinded by storage space. Some hosting providers will give you plenty of space and little else. Consider the feature set and functionalities the hosting provider offers. Will they support the technologies that you'll need to build and operate the site that you want?

Finally, consider that if you are spending your valuable time troubleshooting your website because of problems with your web host provider, that hassle directly impacts your bottom line. If you are looking for a new hosting provider or considering renewing your existing hosting agreement, my advice is to ask the questions I mention above and do your homework to make sure the hosting provider you chose is truly giving you the best service for your money... the success of your web business could depend on it.

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