Let me start out by stating that all hosting companies are not created equal. Far from it. In fact, I would go so far to say good hosting strive to make themselves transparent. The good ones, are content to exist quietly in the background, allowing webmasters and companies to advance their online presence, providing support when needed. The good hosting companies realize that their customer’s primary goal is to scale their business online. They exist to provide solid customer support, stellar reliability, and expanding resources when needed. This is the business model that separates the excellent hosting companies from the wannabes. If your hosting makes it difficult to get things done, well it’s time to find a new one.
I recently had an experience working with a client’s hosting provider that felt compelled to offer unwanted and many times inaccurate advice, making it next to impossible to get things done in a timely manner. I thought to myself, why would a hosting company appear difficult, even at times belligerent? The answer became obvious. It’s because they cannot provide the resources necessary to “keep pace” with today’s technology. That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with the factors that differentiate good vs. bad web hosting providers.
Keys to Good Web Hosting
This must be at the crux of selecting a web host solution. Excellent support is what makes or breaks hosting companies, and should be a primary focus of your decision to use one. What do I mean by support? Nothing short of 24/7 support with an option of phone, email, and chat. That means, when you have an issue at 2:30 in the morning, they will be there for you. Support should be providing a solution to your goal. I prefer chat for 95% of my technical issues, and all good hosting companies will provide this option with little or no wait time.
Uptime is another very important metric for web hosts. What percentage of time do they guarantee servers will be available? Even though 99.9% is the standard and may seem good, even tough to beat. Consider that if a website that is down .1% of the time over the course of a year, that translates into more than 8 hours of downtime! Be wary of this easily manipulative fact.
3. Control Panel
This may seem obvious, but make sure your selected host provides a way for you to administer your website, other than simply FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Administering a website without a user interface can become very inefficient. Look out for ones that force you to rely on their in-house expertise to get things done. This is totally unacceptable in today’s hosting environment. cPanel is one of the best out there.
4. Expansion of Resources
Another obvious one that can be easily overlooked, but ever so critical. Look for the inability of your host to expand vital resources such as bandwidth and disk space at will. When your business grows, so shall your online business. You do not want to get stuck with a host that charges you and arm and leg, or worse yet take forever and a day, to allocate more resources.
There are a ton of good hosting companies out there. There’s also many bad hosting companies. My choice for the good is Host Gator. Their customer service is superb and they offer world-class hosting. The key takeaway from this article is do your homework and settle for nothing but the best hosting money can buy for your website.
Hosting is a Commodity. An important commodity at that, but nonetheless one that should not prevent your company from making massive progress. High competition has driven prices down, which allows you to select the best hosting that money can buy. Do not settle for hosting that has the inability to reinvest in its own growth and in the process sabotage your online growth.
by Dan DeRoeck