Comparing web hosting services can be an arduous and frustrating process. Even if you happen to have a good idea of what you’re looking for, there is no shortage of web hosts to consider.
First you’ll have to decide if you want free or paid website hosting, as well as the types of features that interest you. For those new to building and hosting a website, even seemingly simple decisions may leave you feeling out of your depth.
The good news is that there are options like WordPress hosting that take care of a lot of the heavy lifting for you. These all-in-one platforms offer features like WordPress templates and WordPress themes that allow for easy customization.
Still, there are several things you’ll want to consider before making your final decision. Here are just a few important factors to focus on when choosing a web host.
This is perhaps the most important factor when choosing any web host. You want to make sure your provider has a track record of reliability, or uptime in other words.
When current and prospective customers visit your website, you want them to access your pages without delay. Part of this relies on you – the way you build your website could have an impact on loading times.
However, your web host also needs to provide reliable service that ensures limited downtime. It’s normal to have scheduled downtime on occasion for maintenance and updates, but if a site gets a lot of complaints related to unscheduled downtime, you’ll probably want to consider other, more reliable options.
Whether you opt for free or paid web hosting services, you’ll have to determine if the options for bandwidth and storage meet your needs. However, your business needs can change over time.
Most web hosts offer a variety of packages to accommodate the storage (i.e. the files that make up your website) and the number of visitors you anticipate. What if your company grows and you need more product pages? What if you’re overwhelmed with visitors (one can only hope)?
You need a web host that offers options to scale up (or down) depending on your needs, your budget, and the changes your company experiences over time. It’s important to ask about the options available to you up front to ensure that you can make changes to your service should the need arise.
Experts say it’s not a matter of if, but when your website will become the target of hackers, so you need to do everything in your power to ensure that data breaches don’t occur. Not only do you want to protect your interests, but most businesses also have a legal obligation to protect the privacy of sensitive customer information.
Your web host may or may not offer security options. Either way, you’ll want to implement your own security solutions to protect your website. However, you should ask about any security they might provide, particularly options like encryption during transfer of data between servers.
Many webhosts offer options for data backup to protect you in case the worst should occur and your data gets compromised, corrupted, or lost for any reason. You may have options to back up files as you see fit, or to automate the process for ease of use.
Files can be compromised for any number of reasons, such as data breach, equipment failure, or potentially even corrupted data being uploaded from your end. Regardless, you want assurances that you can get your website back up and running as soon as possible following such scenarios. Backups will reduce your downtime.
There is no shortage of programs designed to provide you with metrics pertaining to web traffic, the amount of time visitors spent on pages, the funnels that brought them to your site, and more. You may therefore think it’s not important to find a web host that offers analytical tools.
While it’s true that you can get by with third-party analytics, the tools provided by your web host are probably fully integrated with their other features, ensuring compatibility and likely the best functionality. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker if a web host meets all of your other criteria, but it’s definitely a perk you should look for when choosing a suitable web host.