Arguably the hardest part of getting a business website set up is deciding on which web host is the right one to support the digital marketing needs of the business. Websites are becoming an increasingly vital marketing channel for businesses, so getting every element of the website right is fundamental to the business’ success. Making the wrong decision on a web host could cause significant problems, waste time and even money. So a good piece of advice is to never rush into a decision around a web host and read as many reviews as you can before you make a decision.
If the services that hosts provide are not something you are massively familiar with, then it may help to run through some of the basic features and services that are commonly provided. Whilst most hosts offer the same kind of packages, there will be variances between the details of each one. For example, one may provide 99.9% Uptime and another may be 99.7%. Information like this could be critical at some point in the future once your website is up and running.
Here are some of the key areas to look out for:
Customer support/technical support – Some hosts are rated very highly for their customer support and some do not even offer any (generally free ghosting services). If you are venturing into website set up for the first time and you are doing it all yourself, you will probably want the peace of mind that there is help available. So if having technical support is important to you, make sure that you check how well the host is rated for this.
Uptime guarantee – From time to time, web hosts may have technical issues that result in your website being unavailable. Or they may need to schedule maintenance that brings it offline. As you can probably imagine, having a website that is frequently offline is not going to be great for business. So have a look for a host that offers a high level of guaranteed uptime, especially if you think this will be a big priority for you.
Performance – Not all hosts provide the same level of performance. If you are looking at free hosting, be aware that performance is not going to be as good as premium packages, so you might experience slow loading pages and other performance issues. Shared hosting tends to provide a better level of performance but it can vary from one host to another. Website visitors do not like to wait for pages to load, so if you do not want to lose potential customers through poor performance, work with a host that is renowned for high performance.
Storage and bandwidth limits – Some hosts offer ‘unlimited’ disk space and bandwidth but others provide limited amounts. Bandwidth limits dictate how much traffic your website will allow, so if you have a low limit and you get a surge in website visitors, your site could crash. In terms of storage space, if you are only allocated a small volume of space then as your website develops and more content is uploaded, you could face being unable to add any more content as you reached the limit. This can be very frustrating and you may even need to start over again with another host, which will take up a lot of your time.
Money back guarantee – A good way of starting off with a host is to work with a 30-day money back guarantee. Therefore, if you get going and then discover that the host isn’t going to be able to support some of your requirements, you have the option to back out at no cost.