You’ve decided to create a website to pass along valuable information, promote your business, or make some extra money. One of the most important decisions is choosing the right web hosting service.
If you blindly choose a web hosting service without asking a few very important questions, you may be stuck with a service that won’t fit your needs. While transferring to a different service isn’t exactly impossible, it’s time that is better spent on running your business.
Save yourself some headaches and do a little research upfront. The success of your future website will thank you.
Must Read: InMotion Web Hosting Review
Web Hosting Basics
Before we talk a little shop, let’s make sure you know the basics.
In a nutshell, a web hosting service makes your website’s content available on the internet. Websites are stored on special computers known as servers. When people type your website’s name into their browsers, their computer connects to the server containing your webpage. This allows them to view the webpage.
Got it? Good, let’s move on...Here are some questions you will want to ask when researching web hosting services.
How do I plan to use my website?
Someone starting a blog about an obscure subject will have different needs than a person getting ready to sell “the next big thing”.
Make sure the web hosting company has the services to reach your website’s goals. Many hosting companies offer clusters of services to fit a website’s unique purpose. Of course, you need to know what you want to achieve out of your website before you know what services you may need.
How reliable is the server?
Your website is pretty much useless when a server goes down. Bad network connections and weak servers can drive people away from your website and affect your sales.
An unreliable server isn’t just an issue when it is down. A website that has too much downtime may affect your rankings with search engines like Google. This means that when someone is searching for a product or service you offer, people may not even see your website in the first couple pages of search results.
Look for a server with uptime (times website are live) scores of 99.5 percent and above.
How easy is it to access customer service?
If this is your first website, you may need a little help along the way. Web hosting services with 24/7 live customer service either through chat or the phone can be very helpful during those tense moments when you aren’t sure what to do next.
Look for web servers with in-house customer support. They can answer your questions and concerns more efficiently compared to outsourced customer service.
Is the web hosting service user-friendly?
Having access to customer service is great. Being able to create and maintain your website with an easy-to-understand control panel can make you feel more confident when you’re creating the website you dreamt about.
Of course, determining user-friendliness can be difficult. You can read lots of reviews, but it can become pretty overwhelming. After all, people from all different backgrounds and technical experiences create websites. Some spend more time putting out negative reviews than actually researching if the website is right for them.
So what can you do?
Narrow down your choices and see if they offer a trial period. If the web hosting service seems to be working for you, give it a try. You may need to try a couple before finding the one that truly resonates with you. In the long run, the time you spend with a couple of trial periods can save you a great deal of frustration over time.
What’s the true cost after the trial period?
Some web hosting companies lure you with a super-low rate for hosting. When it’s time to renew, they may charge up to triple the initial cost for hosting.
Do you really want to be surprised like that?
Read the fine print. Determine if the renewal rate is within your budget.
Starting a Website is Exciting
Of course, there is a steep learning curve that goes with it. These few questions are a great start for finding a web hosting service that fits your needs. While it’s not an all-inclusive list of questions, it can help you weed out some of the potential services that won’t work for you.
Make sure you read web hosting reviews and check out our resource library to answer more of your web hosting questions.