The time has come. You’ve picked a great domain name, and have all sorts of great ideas for your website. Now, you just need good web hosting. You’ve even found a web host that seems like it will suit your needs perfectly.
But before you sign on the dotted line, or commit to a full year of pre-paid web hosting, here are a few things you should check.
The hallmark of a good web hosting company is good customer service. If you’re having a problem, you should be able to call at any time, day or night, and get help from a friendly customer service representative.
One way to check a company’s customer service is to try it out. Go to the hosting company’s website and find the contact information. Call their customer service line, send an email, or start a live chat. Evaluate how long it takes for you to get a response.
Finding good but affordable hosting isn’t nearly as hard as it used to be. But it doesn’t hurt to compare the prices offered by different services. Even if you pay just a dollar less per month, you’ll still be saving money, which is always a good thing.
Look to see if there are any coupon codes for the web host you are considering. Using these online coupons can save you even more money.
Most hosting services offer an uptime guarantee of more than 99%. This means that they will do everything they can to make sure your site will be live and accessible at a minimum of 99% of the time. Remember that even with 99% uptime, that is over THREE days of down time per year.
However, not all companies offer such a guarantee. If you can’t find a guarantee on a host’s sales page, check their help documents. If you still can’t find an uptime guarantee, this might not be the web host for you.
Ease of Use
Choose a hosting company with a control panel that’s easy to learn and easy to use. Otherwise, you might find updating and managing your sites such a chore that you don’t do it as much as you should.
One way to check for ease of use is to do a one month trial of a web host. If, after a month, you decide their control panel is too bulky and cumbersome, you can just move on to another host.
The speed of your website can make a huge difference. Studies show that site visitors who have to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load will actually start to leave the site. And there’s a good chance they won’t come back.
You can check a company’s typical loading times by reading customer reviews. Most companies go through periods where the sites they host seem slow to load. However, customer reviews will give you some idea how fast or slow particular hosting is on average.
These are five things you need to check before choosing a web hosting company. But do you think anything else needs to be added to the list? If so, leave a comment and let us know.
About the Author: Chuck Gallagher has been designing websites ever since he discovered the Internet. He’s also mastered the art of finding great but affordable web hosting.