If you are just getting started with a new online venture, you might wonder about the importance of finding a good web hosting company. If you aren’t a technical person, chances are you don’t have the first clue about web hosting. Don’t worry, because most people find themselves in the same position. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
A good web hosting company is going to help you along the way, and explain things to you in simple terms. There are other things a good web hosting company should do for you, so let’s take a look at some of the basics.
System and Platform Setup
When starting a new website your hosting provider can save you a lot of money on the front end. Some companies will do more than others to help you get setup. It takes some technical expertise to get an initial site up and running, and some providers will do most of the work for you. A company like SiteGround for instance will get a WordPress site up and running free of charge. In fact, even if you are migrating an existing site over they will help with that. Having technical resources to do initial setup can save a tremendous amount of time and frustration.
Every good web hosting company is going to have great customer service. Watch out for this one, because some of the most well known companies actually fall down on this one. Just because a company spends the most on advertising, doesn’t mean the same for customer service. If you find a good web hosting company, their customer service is like your own little help desk. As long as you don’t abuse the service, and have reasonable questions, they are going to help solve your problems.
The best companies are going to provide 24/7 support either via phone and/or online. Most of the web hosting companies we recommend are available most of the time via phone, and have amazing chat and online ticket support.
Speed of your website is absolutely critical to ensuring that people have a good experience on your site. Many people take for granted these days that a website will load at sufficient speeds. In reality, that’s because the good businesses that you spend time with, invest in there hosting. The other end of that point, is that it is an expectation these days that your site load quickly. If it takes too much time for pages, products, or whatever to load, people are going to leave in an instant.
The good news is you don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to get a good web hosting company. Companies like A2 Hosting and Siteground provide great service at very affordable rates. In fact you will find an abundance of companies out there with WordPress, and shared hosting solutions that can easily handle most sites. And if you are a larger company with more traffic, most companies now offer dedicated servers, VPS, and cloud hosting solutions to fit your needs.
Similar to the speed of your site, uptime is absolutely critical. Time is money, and customers will jump ship in a blink of an eye if your site is down for some reason. New customers will almost certainly be lost if they try to visit your site, and find an error page staring at them. Now, once again, most companies you will find when doing a generic search have very good uptime.
That said, it’s not uncommon for most hosts to have a few minutes of downtime every month. If your current host is experiencing more than that, it’s time to search for a new provider.
It’s just a guess, but there’s a good chance everyone reading this article knows firsthand the importance of security. Think about all of the large companies who have had their systems hacked into and personal data stolen. No company or organization is immune to hacking, so it’s important to know the security measures for your hosting company.
To someone without a lot of knowledge, security is one of the trickier things when it comes to a good web hosting company. Here’s a good checklist of items you should be aware of when deciding on you hosting provider.
Backups and Disaster Recovery – Ensuring that your sites files are backed up is critical. Make sure you understand your hosting companies backup process, and what happens in the even of a disaster to recover your site. Every good web hosting company should be well versed in these processes.
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) – An FTP client is used to upload files to your accounts, for instance, when you make development changes to files. SFTP provides a layer of protection to help ensure these files cannot be stolen.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – If you run a site that houses personal information, you may need to have an SSL certificate which help to ensure your customers information cannot be stolen. Check with your hosting provider to see if an SSL is part of the package or needs to be purchased separately.
Malware Scanning – Just like on your personal computer, you want to ensure a hosting provider scans for malware. Also verify what happens if such a problem is identified, and who is responsible to fixing the issue.
The Bottom Line
Finding a good web hosting company does not need to be rocket science. There are plenty of very trustworthy companies out there. Many of those we discuss on this site are separated by a few minute points, and would be great for 99.9% of organizations. That said, do a little bit of research to ensure you don’t end up with a “lemon.”
Most of the providers we discuss are affordable, but be wary of companies charging rock bottom prices. If that’s what you find, there’s a chance they’re skipping something important along the way. Whether it’s speed, uptime, security, or customer service, you want these to be flawless capabilities of your provider.