What Should You Look for in a Web Host?
At this point, many companies know they need a website but fail to ask questions about the web host. Whether you are hosting through the company who built your website or you are hosting your website separately, which web host you choose is more important than you may think. Making the proper decision on the front end about your web host will save you many headaches in the future. We’ve compiled a shortlist of questions you should consider when choosing a web host:
Does the web host backup regularly?
Sometimes things go wrong when you are managing your website ongoing. Just like you back up data on your computer, you need to have your website backed up as well. This protects you from losing your whole website due to any unforeseen events such as someone accidentally deleting a source file, a website virus or a hacker. When you have a host that regularly backs up your website, you can set your mind at ease that you can save your website if anything should happen.
Do they also host email?
Nowadays it is the norm for you to have your email the same as your domain name. (Bob@yourdomain.com). Because this is a common practice, most web hosts will also host email. However, not all do, and this is an important question to ask when choosing a host. It is also common for businesses to use an outside application to host business email such as Google Business Email or even just connecting Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail. You’ll want to make sure your web host allows for connecting to these applications.
Do they have good support?
If you are going it alone and do not have an internal or outsourced IT contact, you will want to make sure your web host has good support. You’ll also want to make sure they have 24/7 support, or as close to round-the-clock support as you can get. If your website or email go down you want to be able to call someone to help you get it going again quickly. Also, things can get pretty tricky when you are hosting both a website and email and if you make changes to one or the other you should know what you are doing or have help figuring it out.
Can it scale?
The scalability of your web host is also something to take into consideration. Many start out with a certain amount of website traffic, but that can increase with growth of the business. Website traffic can also spike depending on what sort of online and offline promotions you are running. You’ll want to make sure your web host can scale your website traffic easily, so you don’t have too many users crash your website. As a side note, if you know you are going to run any sort of campaign or event that might increase your website traffic, you may want to notify your web host first.
Shared or dedicated hosting?
Many times, web hosts will run specials or offer low-pricing on website hosting each month by placing your website on ‘shared hosting.’ This means your site is being hosted along with multiple other sites by sharing one server. You could be sharing the same server with a dozen or even hundreds of other websites. This means, if there are troubles with one of those sites, you may have problems as well. Shared hosting can also decrease website response time. The other option is dedicated hosting. This means your website will have its own dedicated server that it runs from. While this can be more expensive monthly or annually, the quality, performance and safety of your site will be better.
Can you park other related domains?
It is also a common practice now to not only register your website domain but also buy the .net., .org., and .info, as well as hyphenated and misspelled versions of your website domain name. This is a way to protect the company brand as well as catch all website traffic for your name. Check with any web host that they can easily park your company’s other domain names and redirect those domains to your live site.
Can you make changes easily?
With any website, there are a variety of things that you may need to change that are connected to the web host. Sometimes you need to change a server setting, create or update new email accounts, change email passwords, or connect your email or website to third-party applications. You’ll want to make sure your web host allows for easy access to your domain name to make these changes.
Can you change hosts anytime you want?
As in any business endeavor, sometimes you need an exit strategy. Before you make the commitment to go with a web host, you will want to make sure you know what you are committing to and for how long.
There are many things to consider with your web host in regards to your website and email. If you need help making any of these decisions or would like to consult with us for ongoing help, please contact Keystone here.