Top 10 Considerations for Choosing a Website Host
For the first time entrepreneurs and established businesses alike, the internet has opened infinite opportunities to get their names, products and services literally ‘out to the world’. Starting a website is now quick and easy and end users need only point and click to personalize their site to their exact specifications.
But how does anyone choose a website host? There are dozens of options, each offering dozens of added variations. Businesses should think about what they want to achieve with the website before making a selection. Here are a few details to consider:
1. What Function Will the Site Serve?
Some sites will be simple blogs, others will be much more complex with multiple pages, offering a variety of services, perhaps with videos and e-commerce availability. The website owner should think about their intended use of the site as they evaluate host options. Many hosts offer expansion options for businesses that grow beyond their original expectations.
2. What is The Monthly Budget?
Website owners can decide the amount they want to pay and choose from providers who offer sites at that rate. Or, they can identify the services and supports they want and then compare rates among the providers who offer those options. Naturally, a higher monthly rate offers more features. Considering the expanded clientele the site might attract, spending a little extra up front might prove to be the best option.
Once a ‘class’ of providers is identified, there are more choices to be made. For each possible host, consider these questions:
3. Is it a Shared Host or a Dedicated Server?
‘Shared host’ sites host typically smaller websites, and have their end users all access a single server (or bank of servers). This can limit website speed, ease of access, and cause ‘over-usage’ complaints (see below). ‘Virtual Private Servers’ or ‘Dedicated server’ options create server space for one end user only, so there is no competition for server resources. There are many low cost VPS options available.
4. Is Their Control Panel Is Easy to Navigate?
This is where end users put in a lot of time as they input their preferences. Understanding and using the hosting tools should be simple and accomplish the set goal. There should be adequate support available when problems arise.
5. What Services Are Included With the Hosting Fee?
Depending on what is needed, host sites can provide email, e-commerce, time keeping, extra security, or even energy saving options.
6. Is There a Required Contract Period?
Many hosts require two year contracts; some require longer terms. In general, it’s not recommended to sign on for more than two years because of the fast pace of internet development.
7. How Many Domain Names Are Offered?
Many hosts offer a number of domains within one account, giving website owners a greater opportunity to diversify their online presence.
8. Can The End User Control Back-up Function?
Businesses rely on technology to save and maintain their data. Server crashes can be disastrous, so know the servers’ back-up policies before signing on.
9. How Reliable is Their Hardware?
Internet servers are now found all across the globe. There is no standard of care for the hard components, and some hosts cut costs by using inferior server hardware.
10. Can the Host Terminate the Contract?
This is usually a problem for small, individual website owners who may exceed their expected server capacity, and it happens even on sites that advertise ‘unlimited’ usage. The hosts’ right to terminate the contract should be spelled out in the Terms of Service document, so be sure to read that thoroughly.
Making these decisions before signing a contract should give owners of hosted websites years of trouble-free internet opportunities.