You’re not one to go with a default web host, but when it comes to comparison shopping it’s easy for even techies to get frazzled with all that tech jargon. There’s no ultimate shopping list that’s going to work for every business. Maybe you’re completely okay with a shared server, or maybe your business has reached a point where a dedicated server is a must. Before you choose, make a list of your musts, your wants, and always stay within your budget.
Need a little help getting started? First, jot down your non-negotiables. This can vary depending on your needs but, for example, if you want to work with an American web hosting company but live in the Middle East, you need a web host with around the clock support. Otherwise, you’ll have to schedule a call at 3am your time just to fit around their office hours.
Here’s a template to get you started, but feel free to customize as you see fit. Chances are your needs will change as your business does, so it’s a constant work in progress.
- At least 99 percent uptime
This one should be a non-negotiable for everyone looking for a web host. Aim for as close to 100 percent as possible, but know that anything under 99 percent is subpar. It might not seem like much, but it can make a huge difference during peak seasons or if you have thousands (or millions) of visits per day.
- Compensation for extra down time
What happens if a web host offers 99 percent down time but ends up at 98.8 percent? There should be compensation, and the terms should be in writing. If it’s not written into the contract, be wary about asking for more details. Clearly, the web host hasn’t thought of that issue before and you’re less likely to enjoy a flawless transaction.
- Shared servers that have a cap
If you’re choosing a shared server (as most do), what’s the cap on the amount of hands in the pot? There’s going to be a huge quality difference comparing three clients sharing a server to 20 sharing a server. Of course, you’ll be paying more for fewer sharers, and only you can decide what’s doable.
- Communication on a platform that works for you
Maybe you’re the type of person that just wants to pick up a phone, call your web host and not have to navigate a maze of automation. Perhaps you prefer video chatting, or maybe you live overseas and want to be able to IM with your web host when you’re stuck with poor Wi-Fi. A great web host offers a variety of options.
- Easy payment options
It doesn’t matter if you like auto pay, to pay manually online yourself or sending in a check. It’s the job of any business to make it as easy as possible to collect money. If you’re not comfortable with a web hosts’ options, keep looking.
From 24-hour support to customer service reps who are both friendly and knowledgeable, it’s your dime. When you’re paying for web hosting, you should get exactly what you want at a price that’s fair. There’s a lot of competition in the web hosting industry, which plays out well for you. Take your time, do your homework and don’t assess a potential match without your checklist by your side.