Picking out a low-quality web host is one of the top five mistakes companies make in setting up and operating their websites. Here are a few elements to evaluate to be certain your web host is strong.
- Poor Web Host Selection: a Common Website Mistake
- Eight Elements for Selecting Web Hosts
Figuring out which web hosting company deserves your business can be a bit daunting. After all, every service out there claims to be customer-centered, have virtually no downtime, and be staffed with experts; then you run into a problem and realize it’s actually the opposite.
Let’s look at how to choose a good company to provide your business’s hosting. First, though, let’s explore why web host selection is one of the top mistakes people make in running their websites.
Poor Web Host Selection: a Common Website Mistake
Just like there are plenty of opportunities for success online, there are also seemingly innumerable ways in which to make mistakes with your website. That’s a problem: websites really do need to be excellent because they are so central to business in 2016.
Here are four top errors made by businesses with their websites, according to John Rampton of Forbes:
- Failure to develop and execute a business and marketing plan
- Thinking that running a website is hands-off or low-maintenance
- Excessive emphasis on design and visual appeal without compelling copy (“On top of having a website that’s easy on the eyes, it needs to convey the message you’re trying to present,” says Rampton, “such as your business objective, plan of action for visitors and the quality content that you’ve been busy creating.”)
- Selecting weak web hosting
Specific to the issue of hosting, Rampton notes that many businesses actually use free hosting services – only to later realize that they don’t own the content and can’t remove it because of vendor lock-in. Even if you choose a paid hosting service, you can quickly run into problems with speed and reliability. For these reasons, carefully selecting your web host is important.
Eight Elements for Selecting Web Hosts
Here are eight elements to guide the selection of a strong hosting company to meet your current and ongoing needs:
- Strong networks
You want to choose a company that has strong hardware and taps the power of excellent networks. For example, Superb Internet’s Coast-to-Coast proprietary network infrastructure includes 11 sites in five states across the continent – providing direct connectivity to all the primary worldwide Tier 1 backbones and ISPs.
Affordability will always be a key concern when looking at any service. Just remember that you don’t want to pay so little that the company isn’t providing support or the hardware backing your site is cheap.
- Infrastructural or support constraints
Think about what you want to do with your site. If you want to have rich content on your site, engage your audience with videos, and sell online, it’s in your best interests to invest in high-quality hosting. You don’t want to be constantly frustrated with performance weaknesses when you are trying to grow your business.
Call the web hosts you are considering and ask their support staff questions so you know exactly what you are getting.
- Tech support availability
Many people consider tech support to be a deciding factor for what hosting companies they are willing to take seriously.
“When my site, for some unknown reason, goes down, can I call up and get a real, live person on the phone?” asks Blue Derkin in Hongkiat. “And, more than that, can they find out what’s wrong and fix it, or at least tell me what I need to do to get my site back online?”
- Standards & certifications
Even if your company doesn’t require standards or certifications such as SSAE 16 auditing or ISO 27001 or HIPAA compliance, look for companies with these types of designations. Why? By getting third-party verification that they meet certain quality and security standards, companies demonstrate that they are adhering to hosting industry best practices.
See how the company is being discussed online. Do they have a good reputation with the people who actually use their service every day?
- Administrative UI (user interface)
You should be able to perform simple tasks on your own without always relying on the hosting company’s support team. Make sure that you are able to easily install apps such as WordPress; review email, manage FTP accounts, etc..
Finally, think hard about the future: hosting is a long-term relationship, ideally. “[W]hat you consider adequate hosting now might not meet your needs two years from now,” explains Derkin, “once you start selling your wares online and getting some good traffic to your site.” Make sure that the hosting company you select is able to scale its solutions so that you can grow seamlessly rather than having to jump to a different host.