Choosing the right web hosting company can make or break a site’s success. Here are some key things to look for when making that choice.
Searching for and finding the right web hosting provider is no easy task. You’ll need to consider various factors before making the final decision. Wrong decisions can lead you to a ‘bad’ hosting service, one that:
- Wastes your money and hard work
- Has negative effects on your SEO efforts and search rankings
- Affects your online authority and trustworthiness
- Gives you a slow website – called an “online death”
Almost half a billion dollars is lost every year because of slow websites, with conversion rates dropping as much as 7% as a consequence. All of this can be prevented if you only choose a solid hosting provider. In this post, we will discuss just that – what factors should you consider in order to choose the right web hosting service.
The most important features a web host should have
All of these features have an important role to play, and not a single one of them should be neglected. This will ensure that you align your goals with those your website actually needs. Most of them can be checked on the host’s official website.
However, carefully read everything. Many businesses put selling before the truth so it’s possible that they will include some ‘extras’ in their description. Remember to always read other people’s reviews and ratings to better understand everything.
A website’s performance and speed are the first features we will look into. Bad performance creates frustrated clients who can’t open and find what they’re searching for. It can even make your website completely go offline. Web pages that load quickly and perform well bring advantages on both fronts – better user experience and higher conversion rate. Here, dedicated virtual private servers are always a better option than shared hosting.
Uptime – a measure of the time in which the server is active and available. In other words, it shows the time or percentage of time in which the service is up and running. Its counterpart is called downtime. This one shows the time or percentage of it in which the server was unavailable. According to Hosting Manual, uptime is usually measured in ‘nines’:
- 99% – Two nines equal to 7 hours and 12 minutes of downtime in a month
- 99.9% – Three nines stand for a downtime of 43 minutes and 12 seconds
- 99.99% – Four nines have a downtime of 4 minutes and 19 seconds
- 99.999% – Equals 26 downtime seconds
Are they Australian- or foreign-based?
This is a crucial factor for those who prefer local website hosting. If hosting services are run on servers located in a foreign country, your content and data could be stored in a different country that follows different privacy laws compared to Australia.
Moreover, hosting services based on overseas servers experience issues like high latency, as your request travels through several locations. With this in mind, it is quite possible that you may experience slower website loading time compared to Australian web hosting services.
There are a few ways to determine if a hosting provider is located overseas or here in Australia. For instance, you can look at the ’About Us’ or ’Contact Us’ pages for the right contact number, main office location and available hours for communication. This information will allow you to determine their location and may influence your future decisions.
Here you watch for the effectiveness and speed of the company in providing support for technical issues. Always try to choose a web host that offers live technical support to their customers, 24/7. Chat support is an added bonus, as well as social media visibility, instead of email and support tickets. Priority should be given to businesses with an in-house customer support department. They will surely have a better understanding of the company operations compared to outsourced customer support service.
You can also test their support capabilities before signing up with them. Ask questions and pay attention to how they answer them, and for how long did you have to wait for the reply. Timely responses in the same language as yours that come from the same time-zone are more appreciated, for the obvious reasons.
A double-edged sword, as you’re looking for both an affordable provider and reliable service. The old saying – you get what you pay for – is all so true. In-house support and state of the art hardware are expensive. Ensure that you’re getting the best possible provider for your money. Compare the features every provider offers with their fees before making the final purchase.
Most web hosting companies offer attractive hosting deals during signup and for your first payment. However, the renewal charges are often tripled later on. You might find that jumping from one hosting service to another will let you avoid this, but this is often an ineffective method that leaves your website offline every now and then. It is better to check everything in advance.
Ultimately, identify your hosting needs. You can then use this to determine the right host provider. What type of website are you creating? What platform will you use? What is the volume of traffic you expect? Answer these questions before making your decision, and it will surely be the right one.