When there are thousands of web hosts available, there are sure to be some bad apples! Unfortunately, many clients never realize this—or they do, and settle for “good enough…some of the time.” Your web host plays a vital role in the success of your website, but many web hosts simply don’t align with your needs. For instance, the majority of web hosts in North America don’t even offer virtual private server/VPS hosting! It costs the same (to the client) as basic shared plans, but has all the bells and whistles of dedicated hosting.
If you’re just starting to shop for a web hosting provider, make sure the host offers a lengthy trial period. This should be a minimum of one month, but many offer much longer options. This shows you that the host is sure of their service. You shouldn’t be locked into a contract right away, and a money back guarantee should be a given. With guarantees, the host is showing that you can trust them, which is critical in business.
Keep ‘em Separated
It’s very tempting to go with the same web hosting provider as the domain registration company. This is convenient up front, but not necessarily the best plan. What if your domain gets tangled up with the web host (it will) and you decide to switch hosts in the future? Moving to a new hosting company is a lot simpler when you keep your domain registration separate. Already made this mistake? Don’t worry.
It’s very easy to switch to a different registrar. In fact, a great web host will give you clear instructions on how to do it because they don’t want to tie you down. Also, make sure you can use your preferred payment method. While it’s convenient to make auto payments with a web host, it can get challenging when you want to cancel. A shady company can keep charging you for months or even years, trusting that you might not notice or go through the necessary steps to make them stop.
If your web host flirts with blacklisted IPs, it’s time to run. You don’t want your emails blocked by providers because of a bad IP. When a host is blacklisted, you might be blacklisted, too (or at least your emails). Before you decide on a web host, get their IP address and check their reputation using a tool like Spam Haus Lookup. This can be part of the comparison shopping experience. Make sure the features and prices align with other reputable hosts.
For safety, always back up your site on a regular basis. It’s best to do this with an automated backup system, such as Carbonite (otherwise, you will definitely forget). Always choose strong passwords, change them regularly, and don’t use the same password in multiple places. Finally, never feel loyal to a host. A better one just might pop up at any time, and you want to always be on the lookout.