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For years I’ve been choosing web hosts for clients and recommending companies to go with certain hosts. It’s a important part of running and managing a successful website because regardless of how successful your marketing is and how nice the site looks, if you site isn’t accessible or quick to open it means people and potential customers will go elsewhere.
As a result I’ve created a quick checklist, explaining what to look for in a host, to make sure you get it right from the start. After all if you host turns out to be poor it can be an expensive and costly mistake that will frustrate you and leave a sour taste in your mouth and a dent in your wallet. 1) Is the Host focusing on Hosting as a Primary Product or is it a sub service?
Many small businesses are getting ruined by choosing their ISP’s to be their web hosts. The problem with this is the ISP’s have enough customers and are offering hosting as a additional service, therefore it’s not only expensive but they’re going to be happy whether they have you or not. 2) Does the Host offer Phone and Email Support?
To cut down costs in the recession, and to increase profits, many web hosts are now only offering support to its customers via email only. This is a seriously frustrating way to deal with a company and can result in problems sometimes taking days to re-solve.
Make sure your host has a support and sales telephone line and offers email support as well. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do, at least you know it exists.
3) Make Sure Your Informed about Server Maintenance and Server Issues
No web server is going to be working until the end of time. Sometimes they need to be maintained, software updated, or even replaced. As a result you’ll see pretty much every hosting company saying that they have 99.9999% up time, this is an industry standard. Some hosts though don’t inform their customers when this happens. Make sure, when choosing a host, that your host offers a server status page and email updates to its customers informing them of planned maintenance schedules.
4) Does the Web Host offer an Easy to Use Control Panel
From time to time you’ll need to log in to your hosting control panel to make changes, add email accounts, change passwords and check on bandwidth usage e.t.c This should be a straight forward procedure, however, with some hosts it’s not.
Most hosts allow you to use a demo account and trial the control panel before you buy. If you can do this, great, if not look for an industry standard third party program such as cPanel, Pleask or eXtend. Those programs are used by thousands of people are incredibly simple to use.
A good control panel makes administration a pleasure and saves an incredible amount of time. A poor control panel is a nightmare and will result in non-stop help being requested between yourself and the hosts’ support team.
Picking a good web host can be a hard task but if your host ticks the four boxes above your more than likely to be with a host that’s worthwhile. If they don’t offer any of the above, then STAY AWAY! It’ll cost your company both time and money.
Exeter Web Hostingoffers hosting options that fulfil the four points mentioned and much more. If you’d be interested in hosting your site with us, or registering a domain name with us, then feel free to contact us.
Web hosting should be simple and straightforward, just make sure you get it right from the start, if not your making your life a challenge.