Congratulations – your new web site is ready to go live! All you have to do is find a home for it. How do you decide which web host has the best deal? While price is certainly important, there are a few more points you should consider.
1. Know What You Need
Do you just need a place to park your web pages, or do you need a whole package? Many hosts offer a range of services including server space, domain name registration, databases, and design templates. Will you be streaming data? How much bandwidth do you need? How much storage space? If you aren’t sure what these terms mean, you’ve got some reading to do before you’re ready to sign a contract with a web host.
2. Background Checks
There are hundreds of web hosts competing for your business. Look into their company history. Online businesses come and go quickly, and it’s really easy for shady companies to disappear once they’ve got your cash in their pockets. That’s not to say that you should never give startups a chance, but don’t take unnecessary risks just because the price is right. Make sure you contact their tech support. How they treat you as a potential customer will set the pace for how you are treated once your monthly bill is already paid.
3. Location and Security
The physical location of a web host’s servers could have a lot to do with your decision. How sturdy is the building? How can they ensure that your data is safe from both natural disasters and thieves? Bear in mind, too, that if the host is based in another country, there could be legal issues with storing your customers’ personal information offshore.
Reviews from other customers can set off red flags when everyone has the same complaints, but this is really no way to predict how satisfied you’ll be. For every angry online rant, there are probably 10 people who are happy with the service and simply see no reason to write about it.
5. Customer Service
Prepare a list of questions, technical and otherwise, and give the customer service department a call. If you have a problem with your site and need help from your host, this is what it’ll be like. How easy is it to get through to a human being? Once you do, are they pushy or patient? Ask a few questions to which you already know the answer. Does the representative know what they’re talking about? Does the information they give you match what their website is saying?
Launching a new website is exciting. It’s tempting to sign on with the first good hosting deal you find. Without a solid, reliable host, though, even the best website will be ineffective. Take the time to do your research, have an idea of what you need, and explore several different options.