The biggest concern for an individual while starting a website is to choose the right web hosting service. There are hundreds of companies, all promising to be the best in service, but only a few has the infrastructure and team to tackle the ever increasing cyber-threats and extreme traffic that sites experience at times. Apart from this, keeping websites online 365×7, 24 hours a day isn’t a task that all hosting providers would bet on doing. And those who do this, charge very high.
In today’s post, we’re going to give you some very easy tips on choosing the right host for your website,
Who has the best Customer Care Support?
Going offline is the worst thing that could happen to your website. Google demotes unresponsive websites, pagerank takes a hit, and visitors start to sway. Such a situation can be averted if your hosting provider offers a speedy customer care support.
For me, customer care support is the number one thing, even more than the price. I don’t want my website to go offline in any case. If the customer care guys are ready to listen to me and are fast in taking actions, I’ll be more than happy to pay them extra if I had to.
I’ve heard lot of reports where website owners keep on contacting customer care for one reason or the other without getting a satisfactory reply.
Best Option: Always choose a web hosting service that has reputed customer care support. Those having an office in your country are the best.
Do you really provide near 100% Website Uptime?
Almost all providers promise 99.99% uptime but in reality 77% hosting firms offer not more than 98% uptime. So its important for you to do an extensive research before taking a descision.
Best Option: All reputed hosting providers like Hostgator, Media Temple, GoDaddy, VPS.net, BlueHost, DigitalOcean are good in uptime. Low cost hosting providers are usually the most problematic ones.
Do they offer local Server/DataCenter for my website?
Datacenters are data storehouses located at different geolocations of the world but connected together through high speed internet. All reputed web hosting providers have multiple datacenters across the globe.
Websites hosted on datacenter near to their target audience are faster in performance. If your website is primarily for Indian audience, go for a hosting service that has datacenter in India or nearby like in Singapore, Austtalia or Japan.
Best Option: Servers/Datacenters in Asia, Africa, Europe(except UK) are much costlier than US-based ones. So if budget is an issue or website is really lightweight, you can skip this point. On the contrary, you can use content delivery services like MaxCDN, Cloudflare which are quite affordable.
All hosting providers take security very setiously still some are prone to attacks slightly more than others because of their low-cost, less-secured infrastructure.
From outside, we can never know which one is secure and which isn’t. So the best thing is to do a Google search and find which were attacked in the past and why. Avoid all those which has a bad history.
Best Option: All the reputed sites namely GoDaddy, VPS.net, Hostgator are good in this aspect.
How much plans cost?
Price is a very big consideration while choosing a hosting plan for website. You can find plans from as low as 0.99$ per month to 800$ or more per month.
Price has direct relation with brand value of hosting company and the hosting plan – shared, VPS or dedicated you’re interested in. So its important for you to estimate traffic, CPU consumption, and weigh your pocket before opting for a hosting provider.
Best Tip: Go with a reputed brand if you’re starting up a business website. For a personal website or a starting blog, you can go with a low-cost hosting service.
Single and Multi-Domain Hosting Prices?
Different hosting services provide different plans. Some allow single website to host while some can allow multiple websites on single account. Depending on your need, choose the plan.
Can I Upgrade my Hosting Plan without website going Offline?
You may start with shared hosting plan, and with increase of traffic may require shifting on a VPS or dedicated server. So its important for you to ask if they provide easy migration of site without going offline.
As websites run for months and years, huge amount of data (in many Gbs) gets accumulated and hence server shifting isn’t a easy work if done manually. I’ve faced this problem myself hence recommend you to confirm on this at first.
Best Tip: Most hosting providers server upgradation/migration chare. This is somewhere between 50-100$.
Free of Cost Features, Addon, Services they offer?
Its always nice on the part of potential buyers to ask for something extra. Though most service provider does give free addons like one click WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento installation and free scripts for use, and discounts to new customers, its always a good habit to ask anything and everything you have in mind. Customer care guys listen more when the tag of ‘potential’ is with a customer.
Best Tip: Reputed hosting companies provide nothing more than what’s mentioned in their plan but startups can provide hefty discounts and additional services.
Check Existing Offers and Discounts, Yearly Deals
Hosting providers offer timely deals for potential customers. From big brands to startups, all follow this marketing strategy. So its good for you to hook with the one which is reputed and is offering good discount.
Most brands offer discount on bulk ordering as well.
Best Tip: Such offers are seasonal like during Diwali, Christmas, New Year and when a company enters into a new market.
Reputed web hosting service providers tend to have advanced infrastructures and better services on offer.
Best Tip: Web hosting providers like Sitegrond, Inmotion hosting and DigitalOcean may not the biggest but they have a very good reputation in the market.
Cpanel or Plesk Interface. Fee or Paid
Interface allow a non-geeky guy to host and run website on a web host. For installing WordPress, creating database and email-id, reading emails, interface is required.
Cpanel and Plesk are two of the most famous interface that hosting companies provide. Some provide this for free while some charge extra bucks for it. So before buying a hosting, confirm what interface they’ll provide and if its free or paid.
Best Tip: Cpanel is easier to use than Plesk. Its used by more than 80% users. Most services provide cpanel free with shared hosting but not with VPS and dedicated hosting.
Ask yourself – Which Hosting to Purchase?
Shared is cheapest and most basic plan which is good for websites with low to medium traffic and less CPU usage. Data storage, CPU, bandwidth, everything is limited and as the maximum point is reached, website is thrown offline.
VPS is slightly costlier and best for medium sized websites where traffic is slightly higher. It has a dedicated RAM and allow higher level of CPU and bandwidth consumption.
Dedicated server is for websites where everything is very high. Cost of dedicated servers are over-the-roof as well.
Know Plan Limits – Server Type, Storage, CPU Usage, Bandwidth, Database, Emails
There are few technical things you must enquire about. This includes,
1. Server Type: All hosting providers offer both Linux and Windows operating system. Windows OS is best if your website is in asp.net, Linux is best if its in PHP. In fact, Linux is best overall because of its security, less-problematic operation and low cost.
2. Storage Space: From as small as 50Mbs to hundreds of Gbs, you can get as much storage space as you need for your website. With increase of space, your hosting plan needs to be upgraded too. Price increases with space as well.
Apart from this, on most servers you can’t store videos, pirated content or anything that’s not good to kids. If you do this, accounts would get suspended permanently.
3. CPU consumption, Bandwidth: In shared hosting, you can’t consume more CPU and bandwidth than what’s allocated to your website. If you do, then your site will get suspended. On VPS hosting, you have RAM and CPU dedicated for your website, and you can even shift to higher a plan with a single click whenever you want.
4. Database and Emails: Just like CPU and bandwidth, number of free database and email accounts is limited on a shared hosting plan. There is also limitation over bulk email sending. In VPS and dedicated hosting, there are very few limitations.
Its always a better idea for you to read more about Shared, VPS and Dedicated servers before choosing one.
After-sale service, Refund Policy
After-sale service indicates how much a company values its customers, and how much its orientation towards providing better services to them. So before buying a hosting plan ask them about the refund process, free-of-cost and paid services they can offer you.
Site Data, Backup
Don’t forget to ask them if they keep a backup of data just in case their system crashes. You won’t like to be losing those useful articles and images you’ve compiled for months, so it’s important for you to ensure that they have proper system in place to backup sites to last working condition in case something bad happens.
What if my Account is Suspended?
After buying a hosting service, if your website or hosting account gets suspended due to heavy CPU usage, bandwidth, or traffic, ask them if you can get it started again? If yes, do you have to pay anything extra. Hurl such questions at them and seek for a satisfactory answer. You could also read their Terms of Services for this as well.
Best Tip: In most cases, hosting providers don’t take the responsibility of data when accounts gets suspended or charge extra for putting it online or ask for server upgradation as mandatory. So its important for you to be clear on this while selecting best web hosting service for your website.
Can I move to a new Hosting Provider?
Web Hosting providers never want to see a client going, so they put-in different sorts of boundation to prevent an existing client from going. They encourage you to take up a yearly hosting plan at a great discount, and you inadvertently end up in a year-long plan. In case you’re dissatisfied with their service and wish to leave, you either have to forfeit all the money (and switch to an another host) or continue using their services.
Apart from this, many hosting providers save your debit/credit card details and auto-debit money for renewal few days prior to scheduled renewal date. So you have to be careful before switching to a new host otherwise existing hosting provider would auto-renew the plan before you knowing.
Best Tip: Always use web hosting services for trial for 10-15 days before taking a call on buying. Most reputed hosting companies offer free-of-cost trial of their services.