Web hosting is a vital part of any business’s online marketing. It’s the key component in the workings of a website, and without it, your site simply wouldn’t be available online.
There are lots of different hosting options that web hosts have available to their clients. These range from everything such as shared hosting, which is the standard entry into hosting, and then up to more powerful options such as VPS (virtual private server) and dedicated hosting.
Web hosts come in all shapes and sizes. Some web hosts are huge companies that operate their own servers and offer lots of other related products and services such as domain registration. Others are small independent companies who may be operating on rented servers. Whatever the circumstance, as long as you are getting what you pay for, then there shouldn’t be any problem whether or not they are an international company or a tiny local one.
What prices are you paying?
Have you thought to check the prices that you are currently paying your host to some alternative hosts? There is a chance that you might be overpaying for your hosting, especially if you are using the shared hosting option, which is usually the most popular with clients.
Shared hosting is when you are sharing the server resources with hundreds of other users. Each user has an allocated amount of server resources such as disc space, data transfer, add-on domains and databases. Depending on what your requirements are, you can sign up for one of a host’s shared hosting packages.
However, the prices charged by hosts for an almost identical service vary, and in some cases, you might be paying a lot more than you need to. For example, some hosts will have packages for shared hosting where you are able to run a limited number of websites. If you want to operate more than 5, you might need to upgrade to a higher package. However, some hosts may not put any restrictions onto the number of add-on domains you can add to your account, and let you run as many websites as you want.
Some web hosts change their prices very rarely, while others might be more inclined to update them each year. It’s well worth spending a little time and checking websites such as Fortune Lords, where you can compare alternative web hosts to see if you can make any substantial savings by switching hosts.
If you are simply paying a few dollars more each month than some alternative hosts, then it probably isn’t worth the time and effort to switch, but if you see that you are paying what could amount to a hundred or more dollars for hosting on an annual basis, then it might be in your interests to consider moving your sites out.
Is your website always up and running?
One of the worst things is to find yourself on a web host that has frequent downtime. This is when, due to a problem with the server, you find your website offline. This is definitely not something you want to happen often, as it could cause your business a lot of potential clients and income if they are unable to access your website.
Another problem with experiencing a lot of downtimes is that Google and some of the other popular search engines such as Bing might try and crawl your website during the period where it is offline. If this happens too many times, it might send out the signal that your site is no longer live, and you could find yourself removed from the search engines.
There are a couple of services that you can sign up that monitor your website, and send you an email or even an SMS if your site is ever down. This is particularly useful for people who experience frequent downtime, and you can show the results to your host, who may otherwise insist that there were no problems with the server.
Is your website running slowly?
One problem that lots of people experience is that they find that their websites are extremely slow to load. This could be due to a wide range of issues, but one is related to the server. Maybe the resources on the server where your site is hosted are being stretched to the limit.
If you are using a shared hosting solution, there may be other users on the same server who are hogging all of the server resources, and causing problems for you and other people. This type of thing is particularly common, especially with hosting accounts that you can pick up for $1 a month. They are definitely not a viable solution for a business website, and at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
If you are with a premium host and are experiencing slow loading pages, it’s a good idea to get in contact with your host and explain to them what the problem is. In some cases, they might be able to locate what is causing the problem and explain to you how to deal with it.
A slow loading website will always give a poor user experience to your site visitors, that is if they hang around long enough for the page to finally load. Page speed is something you need to always keep an eye on, and try to resolve any problems that moment you are aware of them. If you are using WordPress, then there are a number of different cache plugins that you can check out which can help with the problem.
Are you getting good customer support?
Good client support is an extremely important factor for a good web host. Is your host responding in a timely manner to your support requests?
Are you getting a quick response and the issue resolved quickly, or are you finding yourself going back and forwards with the support, trying to get them to understand what the problem is ??
If you are not happy with the customer support you are getting, it might be worth considering looking for an alternative web host. Problems can always appear out of nowhere, and you will want to have peace of mind that when and if it happens, your host is going to respond quickly and effectively to your calls for help.