Article

Marc Dane
Marc Dane 10 January 2018

3 hacks for picking the best hosting provider

When it comes to getting your website up and running, there are a million and one moving parts involved. For starters, you have to pick a domain name that will lead people to your site and choose a hosting provider, which can prove to be a challenge if you’re not sure what to look for. These three hacks will help you choose the right hosting provider for your business.

As Head of SEO and Content Management at WebCreate.io, I’ve learned a thing or two about choosing a hosting provider and getting your site up and running. I want to share three quick hacks that will help you pick the most reliable and secure hosting service for any size business.

Consider Your Site’s Bandwidth

The first thing you must do is think about is how much traffic your site will have or how much you want it to have as your business grows. A site that can support 50K visitors and a site capable of supporting over a million visitors are going to have vast price differences.

So, you’ll want to do one of two things, play it safe and choose a plan with less bandwidth, or pay a bit more and support the traffic you wish to have in the future. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both, so let’s explore:

Advantages:

  • Your website typically loads faster, the more bandwidth it has.

  • You’ll have one less thing to worry about in the future as your business starts to grow.


Disadvantages:

  • You’re essentially paying for a service you may or may not use.

  • You run the risk of not choosing enough bandwidth to support traffic to your site.

This alone could depending on the kind of site you have, create slow loading times or other problems. All of this is contingent on the amount of data your site is housing. For example, if your website has tons of photos, videos and not enough bandwidth -- your site will likely experience slower-than-usual loading times -- creating frustration for visitors.

Also keep in mind that some hosting providers limit the amount of bandwidth users have on a monthly basis -- but some plans come with unlimited bandwidth, and this is what you’ll want to be on the lookout for. There are remedies to this problem, so here’s some further reading.

You should shop around when initially looking for hosting providers. This will ensure you don’t feel blindsided by complaints of slow site loading times from site visitors. If you reference the terms and conditions, hosting providers usually explicitly spell out what is and isn’t included in a particular plan.

You can also usually find these details within the features of the plan, but you’ll gain additional insight from the terms and conditions as well.  

Think Security

You’ll want to protect your site from the potential of hackers, lost data and other unforeseen acts. So, you should look for a sophisticated plan, as they will have protections in place to avoid mishaps like lost, stolen or unrecoverable data.

This is also where automatic backups come in handy -- another great security feature. Automatic backups are normally offered daily, weekly and monthly and occur in the cloud, using.

Lastly, make sure you choose a plan with the appropriate amount of firewalls to avoid hackers, malware and other threats. You should also look for:

  • Antivirus and antispam protection

  • Intrusion detection software monitors

  • A reliable data center

Relevant Features and Add-ons

No matter if you’re running a small business or large online eCommerce marketplace, it is important to make sure your hosting plan has a few basic but necessary components:

  1. 24/7 Customer Support

  2. Unlimited Bandwidth

  3. Multiple Domains and Subdomains

  4. Email Accounts and Features

  5. Free Domain

  6. Pre-Installed Apps

You can even look for things like domain forwarding, which allows you to make one URL available for another address. Many plans also include a number of freebies, mostly in the form of third-party apps and features.

These are certainly worth exploring, and you’ll know if you have access to freebies such as a trial or perks like no transaction fees when processing credit cards in an online marketplace.

It's a Wrap

In the end, most companies offer a high uptime, which is the amount of time your website is up and running versus the amount of time it could be spent down or being repaired. While high up times are good, the proof is actually in the pudding.

So when making a decision, ask a customer service agent what the company’s current uptime is. This will give you the most accurate portrait of the status quo, instead of relying on rarely-updated figures.

You should also ask customer service or sales representatives about website responsiveness or where you can find info on their site responsiveness. You don’t want to choose a hosting provider and find out the user experience is slow and unresponsive.

The good thing is, most hosting providers are affordable enough to simply switch if need be. Also, many of them come with a money back guarantee for thirty days, in some cases extending from 45-days to 90.  

Overall, choosing a hosting provider for your business can be a time-consuming process, however, the goal is to outfit you with the knowledge necessary to have a functional website, with good visuals, content and more.

Applying the above tips can put you on the path to a fast-loading website with great uptime and all the right add-ons for when business starts to grow.  

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