Most people choose a web host based on convenience, while a select few dig deeper and check out reviews, testimonials and options for upgrading. It’s best to be in the latter group, but even that group isn’t asking enough questions. You should know what type of hardware your host has and why. Old, outdated and ill-maintained hardware, or hardware that simply doesn’t align with your vision (like going green), can all lead to a subpar experience. Ideally, your web host is transparent and regularly informs customers about their hardware upgrades, but don’t expect that to be a given.
Some clients are happy if their website appears to be working appropriately, but bad hardware on your host’s end could lead to more down time than necessary, more vulnerabilities and poorer performance. You know that technology is constantly advancing, and as processing websites requires more and more advances, hosts should be hustling to keep up. Over time, your website will slow if your web host isn’t upgrading hardware. This can lead to less traffic, poor SEO, fewer clients and ultimately fewer sales.
A Green Machine
For many clients, one of the most important aspects of hardware is that it is green. If your goal is going carbon neutral, make sure your web host is included in this. The hardware selected can make the biggest green impact (or not), and bear in mind that in general newer hardware is going to be greener. You can also ask about specifics—there are even some hosts who rely on some solar power!
A “stability check” is also a good idea, since newer and maintained hardware is naturally more stable. How often hardware is maintained is also an indicator of how serious your web host is. If they’re not doing upgrades and maintenance, that may be a sign that their business is suffering. However, the other end of the spectrum is also a red flag. If your host is constantly upgrading and changing equipment, they might be struggling to figure out what they’re doing. Aim for a company with moderate upgrades.
A Two-Prong Approach
Your perfect web host both upgrades on a regular basis and keeps client informed as they do it. You should know what upgrades are taking place, why and how it will benefit you and/or the environment. Hosts should be happy and proud to share this information, so be leery of any that try to keep it under wraps. Honesty in web hosting is critical, and should be at the forefront when shopping around.
This, of course, will require more due diligence than what’s the norm for many hosting clients. It’s very easy to simply go with free or low cost hosting that’s presented when you select a domain. In some cases you may luck out, but there is probably a better match for you out there. Going with the convenience approach is kind of like marrying the first person you match with on a dating site. They might be a good enough person, but are you the best match for each other? Probably not, and the same is true of web hosting relationships.