The Internet is definitely one of the inventions of the last century that completely turned the world around – today we can play, meet, learn and experience different cultures without leaving the comfort of your living room.
Making business is no different. Just in the US, more than 78% of people aged 15 and above have shopped or actively shop online. This translates to approximately 200 million people. Any ambitious businessman will recognize the potential in this market and naturally want a piece of the pie. One of the first steps towards a successful online venture is carefully choosing your partners along this journey. Quite possibly one of your most important choices would be to find a web host to support your website. Even though the last few years showed a great improvement in understanding the hosting service, many are still confused as to what to look for in the plethora of different hosts out there. Heck, even when we created WebHostFace we took into account all those aspects looking as a client” and you can include a link to our homepage. This one is for them!
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Many such guides list client support as a somewhat minor factor, but I’ll try to convince you differently. No matter how experienced and knowledgeable you are, chances are you will need support sooner or later. Extremities occur and there are just things that are out of your control. This is why its best to be prepared beforehand of the level of expertise you should expect from your hosting staff. How? Here are my tricks. It all starts with extensive research. There are plenty of places where hosts meet, discuss, advertise (but try to avoid most review or top 10 sites, as they are often driven by affiliate commissions) and answer questions. Hosting forums for example. Find a few and look at the host offers, see which ones seem to meet your project requirements. Make a shortlist and test each one, say by visiting their Live Chat. You’d be surprised how many fail this test. Companies still neglect the value of flawless client support and don’t invest much in training and nurturing their staff. So good hosts will really shine in that aspect. What if all your shortlisted hosts fail the test? Rinse and repeat!
This one is a biggie too. Not only speed is important to your visitors (well, mostly the lack of speed) but search engines take that as a factor too. Fast website equals happy campers. Happy campers equal happy Google. Not many ways to test speed before you purchase a hosting account, however many hosts already offer moneyback guarantees for the first X days. Having this safety net should relieve you from the pressure of making the wrong choice and encourage you to test to the fullest.
This is again a little tricky. You naturally want a perfect 100% uptime as each minute your website is down may equal to lost prospects. Realistically speaking no company can guarantee you that, but many boast numbers like 99.9%, 99.99% or even 99.999%. For you those are just empty numbers. You cannot test them, even hosts that list such statistics cannot really be proven. A good tip here is to look for a partner that offers you a comprehensive service level agreement (SLA) where you can get some compensation if your downtime exceeds a certain amount. And don’t be afraid to pursue it should it come to that.
Plan features and extras
By the time you start looking for your web hosting provider you should have a good idea of your plans, needs and requirements. You will naturally have that in mind when you make your pick. But there are tons of companies and each has at least a few plans – which one is the best for me? As a rule of thumb I always advice customers to look for a plan that offers space and traffic above their demands. This gives your project a room to grow and if the host also has easy upgrade options then you are on the right track. Same is with the extra features that come with the account – just because you think you don’t think you need a feature, won’t you feel better knowing you can use it at a future point if needed?
There is a reason I list price as a last decision-making factor. And its because there isn’t a definitive price-quality relation in the industry. Generally the cheaper you buy – the lower quality you should expect, but there is such a variety of marketing and managerial methods that you just cannot be sure. There are many quality hosts that just have a huge promotion for the first signup period just as there are fly-by-night companies that have no idea of how pricing is formed and just go for the quick buck with a high price, tricking some people to believe they are paying for a premium service.
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I hope this article gave you a better idea of how the industry works and what are the main obstacles to overcome. If you use it though, and you find a perfect hosting partner to help you realize your dreams, then it would be a job well done for me.
Good luck and may the Internet be with you!