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API Journal Authors: Hovhannes Avoyan, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

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Thoughts on Web Hosting: What You Need From Web Hosting Providers

Web Hosting Provider Tips

Picking Your Web Hosting Provider Can be Hard

Website hosting providers are numerous on the market today. Due to this when you are in the market for a company to host your public facing website, you won’t struggle to find a decent provider. However before you go ahead and invest in a web hosting company, you should take a looks at our tips for finding the best web hosting company to suit your business needs.

1.       Skip Unlimited Bandwidth and Disk Space Claims

Although it sounds like a great deal on digital paper, the truth of the matter is when it comes to unlimited disk space and bandwidth, most companies won’t come close to using their maximum bandwidth or disk space capacity. For the majority of websites, the type of content which fills the sites (written) hardly makes a blip in the amount of bandwidth or disk space a company website could use. Unless your company website is video heavy, relies on a large customer shopping cart portal, is a gaming site or streams live content (music, video), unlimited bandwidth and disk space makes no sense.

Instead of opting for unlimited bandwidth and disk space, utilize various bandwidth and disk space calculators (freely available via a Google search) to determine your needs. After, purchase appropriately.

2.       Shared Servers vs. Dedicated Servers

Here’s the thing, most websites are going to be hosted on a shared server. In short this means your website is being hosted on the same server as other websites are being hosted on. Shared servers cut down on space usage and they lower costs. However once your business starts growing causing your WordPress website to add more pages and content, your web hosting company might contact you to see if you want to invest in dedicated server(s).

As you might have guess, a dedicated server is dedicated solely to your website. And as you might have guessed dedicated servers are more expensive than shared hosting. But guess what? Just like unlimited bandwidth and disk space, most companies’ websites function just fine within the confines of shared servers. Before jumping ship to a dedicated server set up, make sure you need to make the jump. Before you make the jump, make sure your growing website needs all the specifics a dedicated server offers. Also make sure it fits your budget.

3.       100% Uptime Guarantee

100% Uptime Guarantee

100% Uptime Guarantee

100% Uptime Guarantee is a claim which a tremendous amount of web hosting companies claim. If you aren’t sure what it means, 100& Uptime refers to your web hosting companies’ server uptime, i.e. how often your website is going to crash.

But like all claims, how can you tell if your web hosting provider really has 100% uptime or 99% uptime or 73% uptime? Like bandwidth calculators, there are sites online (again, freely available via a Google search) which will let you know the true uptime of your chosen web hosting provider. In addition, it’s a great idea to check out user web hosting forums like Web Hosting Talk and Sitepoint to learn what existing customers say about your host’s uptime.

But we will let you in on a little secret: the dirty secret of 100% Uptime is, regardless of company, no web hosting provider truly has 100% uptime. Due to natural disaster, downtime for server or website maintenance, migration of data or simple human error, all web hosting companies experience some downtime.

4.       Maintenance & Customer Support

Like any other living organism (your website is a living organism, we promise you), from time to time, maintenance needs to take place. Maybe its regular maintenance of your server or maybe you need FTP access to your server or maybe you need help reinstalling OS (Operating System) templates, whatever the case, customer support is needed. A good web hosting company provides their client base with solid 24/7/365 customer support. But how do you rate customer service?

  • Is your IT customer support team local or are they halfway around the world? If they are halfway around the world and only accessible at 3 AM your local time, well, it might be a good idea to look for another web hosting provider
  • How long does it take your IT customer service team to fix an issue. Is your support ticket lodged in your hosting companies system for days on end? When you call your support team, do they put off your need for hours or days? If so, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere.
  • When you call your IT customer support team, do you talk to the same IT engineer 80% of the time or are you constantly dealing with a different IT tech? Good hosting companies maintain an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time your customer support tech will be the same person. The other 20% of the time, it will be another IT expert who knows your web hosting history like the back of their hand. If you are constantly getting to know a new IT expert, friendliness aside, it’s time for a new web hosting company.

The Bottom Line

Before you dive in head first with a hosting provider, it is your job to do your homework. Before you invest your money in a service which promises you the sky, you have to be sure the sky is what you want and what they can deliver. By using these web hosting tips, your company should be on the right track.

Next week we will cover the importance

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