How well do you know your web host? Probably not as well as you’d like, however just like any relationship, this is a two-way street. Your web host should revere transparency, but they also know that most clients will get overwhelmed with too much tech jargon. Web hosts try to balance between being informative and just giving clients the information they absolutely need. If you want to know more about your web host, ask. You’ll be able to tell right away if they have something up their sleeve.
There are a few key items some shadier web hosts notoriously try to keep hidden. If you don’t know the details about any of these items, start asking. Web host won’t give up the goods? That’s a red flag that something might be amiss.
- How secure their data center is: Do you know where the physical server you rely on is kept? Your web host should be transparent about the location of servers as well as the security they have in place. You don’t want your server to be in someone’s basement or in an area with a lot of natural disasters. This information might not be readily available on your host’s website, but they should be happy to give you details.
- Why they don’t offer virtual private server/VPS hosting: The majority of web hosts in North America don’t offer VPS hosting—yet. However, now that it’s just as affordable as basic shared plans, it’s getting more common. Ask your web host why they don’t offer it and the answer can be very telling. Do they not think their customer deserves it, or is it on their to-do list and they haven’t gotten around to it yet?
- How many security breaches they’ve had: The odds of finding a web host with zero data breaches are slim to none. Breaches are much more common than you think, but your host should be open about it. They should also tell you what measures they’ve taken to prevent breaches in the future. It’s an evolving safety practice.
- How much uptime you’re really getting: The amount of guaranteed uptime you should have should be written into your contract. However, how can you know for certain? You should get reports from your web host, if not automatically then certainly whenever you ask. What happens if they don’t deliver the right amount of uptime? That compensation should also be clear.
- The details of who has your information: How secure is your web host, who’s behind it, and what are their hiring practices? Are there background checks conducted, drug testing, and what are the requirements for new hires? You should know who’s in charge of your hosting and what skills they bring to the table.
Not all web hosts are created equally, and you may need to do some digging to ensure you have a safe, reputable host in your corner. It’s worth the effort and you just might find a better host for your needs.