Cheat-Sheet: What You Need to Know to Select a Web Host

Web Hosting

Web hosting may not be the most glamorous tech topic, but the wrong host can have a deeply negative impact. More people are having to make this decision as the cloud becomes more popular. Here’s what you need to know to focus your efforts.

  • Don’t Forget the Back End
  • Just How Fast is Cloud Growing?
  • What You Need to Know: 5-Point Guide

Don’t Forget the Back End

Typically when we think of the Web, we talk about the front end. That’s not just true of consumers but businesspeople as well. Unless we have a position that focuses on data centers and infrastructure, the Internet seems to be about design and user experience; the way the site is run and stored, and backed up is much less tangible and seems to be a secondary concern.

Clearly, that’s not the case. “It’s your digital identity’s lifeblood,” notes Zach Katkin of Inspired Mag. “[A] down host means a down site, means no business, means lost customers.”

It’s true. Effects of poor web hosting can be devastating, such as damage to your search prominence and potentially even blacklisting (if the company hosts enough illicit activity).

Since cloud hosting is becoming such a standard choice in business, it’s increasingly important for companies to closely examine the options in this competitive market. Let’s look at the growth of the cloud and guidance for choosing a host.

Just How Fast is Cloud Growing?

Organizations are implementing more cloud solutions all the time, with a mind-bending 71% increase in cloud software adoption just in 2015 alone. (In fact, infrastructure-as-a-service, or IaaS, is now growing even faster than software-as-a-service, or SaaS).

What accounts for this somewhat absurd growth? Let’s look at the software side. Adoption of cloud apps in industries without a strong compliance focus grew 100% between 2014 and 2015, but the phenomenal growth rise was in the compliance-focused sectors – healthcare and finance – which saw an almost 200% increase.

Enterprises are also generally starting to pick up the pace, comments Bitglass CEO Nat Kausik. “Industries like education and communications are leading the move to cloud,” he says, “but the surprise is that large corporations, even in heavily regulated industries, are gaining confidence in using cloud apps.”

Part of the reason cloud is succeeding more among regulated companies, says Kausik, is that third-party security services now exist to provide an additional layer of protection. Sure, but the most important thing is that the cloud providers themselves have long records of meeting international standards and compliance mechanisms.

RELATED: At Superb Internet, we are audited and certified to meet the strictest security and compliance standards. Here are just a few of the standards and laws we meet: SSAE-16; ISO 27001 and ISO 9001; full-staff ITIL certification; and FISMA, HIPAA, and PCI. Learn more.

What You Need to Know: 5-Point Guide

As this piece is being written, a hosting company in the United Kingdom is scrambling to recover its reputation after a technical glitch deleted more than five dozen virtual private servers, knocking some sites offline for days. Any business action you take involves risk, but clearly, you want to start using WPX or similar reputable hosting platforms to avoid a hosting horror story like that.

Here is a five-point guide to decide what company should host your website and apps:

#1 – Huge brands aren’t always the best choice.

Going with a brand name you recognize can end up being a huge disappointment, according to How To Start a Blog Online founder Muhammed Abdullahi. “Their servers often had issues and made my sites load slowly and go down too often,” he says. “Their customer care agents were often too lazy, clueless or too busy with other things to properly offer help when I needed it.”

#2 – Don’t scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Everyone wants to get the best value – as good of a service as we can get for the price. That obviously should not be the only factor when making a key decision, though. Some web hosts don’t have any credibility and can’t provide the quality of service a business needs.

#3 – Make sure the site has satisfied users.

A good company will have strongly positive responses from its customers, says Victor Ijidola of The Next Web. (Ours are here).

#4 – Check uptime guarantees.

Be aware of what an uptime guarantee is. Hosting services sometimes experience unscheduled downtime, and that means your business is thrown off-track. Ijidola recommends looking for companies that offer uptime of at least 99%. (However, that would effectively mean your website isn’t accessible almost four days a year, which is why we guarantee 100% uptime.)

#5 – Verify that the system is fast.

As we discussed above, the infrastructure or backend that supports your site and apps should not be a cause of grief, and that’s especially the case if you are pouring time into the design and user-friendliness.

“Having a lean and faster loading pages helped us improve our conversions and bounce rate,” says Tony Brown in The Next Web. “[T]hat evidently helped us rise above the search results as well.” (Notably, our use of enterprise-grade solid-state drives for our cloud, along with InfiniBand and distributed architecture, all accelerate your business.)

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