A few days ago I made a post on the release of WordPress 3.0 and…
Web hosting: it’s not the most glamorous of topics, by any stretch of the imagination. But, it’s one of the most important points to consider when you are running an online business.
Make no mistake about it, the hosting provider you choose will be where your website stands and grow, or fall on its face. Here are several things to watch out for when you choose a web host for your business.
1. Choosing The Right Server
Your business needs the right amount of server space to work properly. You can never have too much space, of course, but you will have to pay for it in one way or another. But, if you don’t have enough, you will see a lot of downtimes that will lose valuable sales opportunities.
2. Ability To Be Flexible
So, it’s essential that when you choose your web host, you take server space into consideration. There’s a fine balance to strike. For example, if you only have a few visitors, you might get away with choosing Windows VPS hosting cheap and under your budget constraints. But, if you find you go over your monthly limits, it is worth looking at increasing your plan to accommodate your needs. It might cost a little more, but what you could lose in profit will put that into perspective. Your web host has to allow you to make those changes so that you can increase or decrease your server space as your visitors rise and fall.
Not all web hosts offer as robust security as others. But, with the current online landscape as it is, safety is something you have to take into consideration. Choose a service that offers SSL – Secure Socket Layer – protocol. It’s the bare minimum for any business, and many of your customers will look for this before deciding to make a purchase.
4. Check Downtime Records
All web hosts suffer downtime and outage issues at some point – unfortunately, it’s part of the business. But, it’s how they deal with these problems that mark out a great service from an underwhelming company. Excellent companies who take pride in limiting their downtime will be happy to tell you about it, and talk to you about their recovery periods. So, be wary of a service that has a lot of outages, and of course, also make yourself aware of the time it takes them to fix things.
5. Check For Support
The nature of online businesses is that they are available at any time of the day. The trouble is, if your web host is only available for support during office hours, it isn’t much help. Just think about the problems it can cause. Let’s say you get a notification that your site is down at 6 pm. If your hosting provider isn’t around until the next morning, then you could be looking at well over half a day without your site. That’s a lot of missed opportunities, and your sales figures for the month is likely to take a hit. Make sure your service provider gives you 24/7 support every day, or you run the risk of missing out on a lot of potential sales.
6. Check The Nature Of The Support
Another point to consider is that not all 24/7 support services are created equal. It’s vital that you understand how that support will be given should you have a problem. In an ideal world, it will be someone on the other end of a telephone. But, in most cases, this is impractical – and understandable if your web host is a smaller company. However, the bare minimum you need is live chat or instant messaging. Avoid firms that promise email support, but don’t reveal how long they take to respond. They won’t be able to offer you help when you need it, and you will find yourself being frustrated when they don’t reply immediately.
7. Look For Shopping Cart Quality
A lot of web hosts offer free shopping carts with their packages. They are worth looking at, for sure, but it’s important to do some thorough research. In an ideal world, you will have a cart package that includes as many different payment options as possible. Think about VISA, Paypal, and everything between. It’s also worth pointing out that poor quality carts with questionable design tend to convert far less than higher quality carts. If that is going to lose you a lot of sales, then you should consider paying for a custom made service with more options.
The web host you choose for your business website plays a vital role in the success of your business. This is must not be undertaken lightly. Use the above tips when next you want to decide on a webhost. If you have any other suggestions feel free to add them in your comments below.
As you can see, there is more to choosing a web host than might meet the eye at first glance. It’s essential to have a long think about the sort of services you need, before making your decision.