There are several reasons that make it a difficult task to choose a right hosting company. First of all, there are simply so many of them. Apparently, it’s relatively easy to set up a hosting company. So there are many companies which have not been around long and might not be around in the next year or so.
Second, online reviews are not necessarily trustworthy. Often times, they are written by affiliates that have monetary interest for certain companies. Also, there are many companies that provide very cheap or even free hosting service. Website owners, especially new startups sometimes fall into these companies, which may lead long downtimes or slow customer supporting service.
Here is the essential guideline in choosing the right host company for your business.
The monthly hosting fee ranges from free to a few hundred dollars depending on what platform they offer such as shared hosting, dedicated hosting, reseller hosting, or virtual dedicated hosting. It’s fundamental what kind of platform you need for your business before you decide.
Usually it’s easy to upgrade a lower platform to a higher one. So it is a good idea to start with a smaller package. But try not to use a nameless cheap hosting service. This will cause you much more stress due to downtime or slow service.
You might think 95% uptime is acceptable. But customers who visit during the 5% downtime would most likely never come back to your site. It’s not only losing a possible sale that time but also you may lose returning visitors and customers.
Look for a company that guarantees over 99.9% uptime. The fact that they guarantee it means that they understand how significant this matter is and they do their best to keep their commitment. It’s not really saving money if the hosting fee is half compared with competitors but uptime is less than 80%. It turns out a definite damage to your business.
Customer supporting is a very important factor, too. However, it’s a tricky issue. It’s not easy to see if they provide reliable customer service until you actually sign up with them. Try to read as much as user experience from their forums or other online webmaster forums. Check how fast and accurately they respond to customers’ or users’ questions.
Most website hosting companies offer a money-back guarantee or a trial period to experience their service and customer supporting.
Spec / Features / Packages
Website host packages offer various features and functions. Most website owners don’t need all of those additional bonus features. But there are certain things that you need to pay attention to before you decide a web host company.
Check if it offers plenty of bandwidth and its memory and CPU has recently been upgraded. It’s always good to have various email features such as auto-responder or forwarding. See if they provide an easy and reliable admin interface. The most popular one is CPanel. The common blogging tool is WordPress or b2evolution. See if these are provided in the service that you’re looking into.
Most hosting companies give you a dedicated IP address if you pay additional dollar or two.