Many people don’t even know who their web host is. Fewer have ever reached out to them. Like your dentist, you probably don’t even think about your web host unless a problem pops up—however, that’s the worst time to get acquainted. Your web host plays a big role in the overall performance of your website, although you may not notice it (but your visitors do!). Your web host can impact your site speed, level of security, and ultimately the kind of experience visitors have.
How do you know your web host isn’t delivering? You might have to introduce yourself first, but once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot red flags:
- They don’t offer virtual private server/VPS hosting: The majority of web hosts don’t offer VPS hosting, but they should. It’s a service that’s in between basic shared plans and dedicated hosting, giving you the best of both worlds. You get the security and speed of dedicated, but at the price of basic. Many web hosts don’t offer it because it’s not to their advantage—even though it benefits their clients! If your web host doesn’t offer it, you have to wonder what else they’re holding back on.
- They don’t have 24/7 support: You should be able to connect with your web host any time of day or night in a reasonable manner. Maybe it’s via phone, video chat, or live chat. Since your website doesn’t run on banker’s hours, your web host shouldn’t either. Otherwise, what’s going to happen when your e-commerce site goes down at 5am on Black Friday? You can’t afford to wait until Monday to fix it.
- They have poor reviews: Depending on the size of your web host, you can’t expect flawless reviews—but you at least deserve a host with over 95 percent satisfaction. Check out what others have to say about your host, and you might realize it’s not “normal” to have so much down time. It’s the Digital Era’s version of word of mouth.
- They’re not transparent: A reputable web host is happy to explain processes to you regardless of your own tech-iness. If it seems like they’re purposefully being vague, they probably are. On the other hand, they just might not have the capacity to explain things. Either way, that’s not something you should put up with.
- They don’t have over 99% uptime: No web host can guarantee 100 percent uptime. However, you can (and should!) certainly expect over 99 percent. It might not seem like there’s much of a difference between 98 and 99 percent, but there is. Your customers will notice and it will reflect poorly on you. Make sure you get as much uptime as possible and that it is clear what the compensation is if your web host doesn’t deliver.
Is your web host actually being a “host” to you and your business? They should be, since they’re an integral part of your online success. If you’re not totally happy, it might be time to start shopping around.