Choosing a Web Host

One of the most seemingly complicated decisions that small business owners need to make is choosing the best web hosting service. With so many offering hosting for under $100 a year, choosing the right one can be a confusing task. There are also numerous, some bogus, hosting directories that claim to have the nation’s top 10 hosting providers, making deciding between what appears to be Greek apples to Greek apples daunting. Instead, you only need to arm yourself with some common sense. These tips will help you in choosing a web hosting provider that will effectively support you:

  • Ask around. Like good doctors, web hosting companies are hard to come by unless you get a solid referral from a trusted friend. Since there are many and you do not need a license to practice you can save a lot of time and possibly frustration by asking your friends, colleagues and web developers you know.
  • First contact. How was your first contact with this host? Did you like their website? Did they offer a live chat? Did you call the number and did someone answer? Like many companies, web hosts are not created equally and not all put an effort in overall customer satisfaction. If the first contact wasn’t to your satisfaction then likely you won’t enjoy the service as well.
  • Good support. Features like free email accounts, pre-installed software, free shopping cart software are all niceties but what happens when something goes wrong and your web developer cannot be found, will your web host be able to support you? Not that they should support you for free, but is there someone on their end that you can count on to help out in the event of an emergency and what are the terms of that support? Having this is an added bonus to whoever you host with.
  • Who are their clientele? In the under $100 per year web hosting world, you are not acquiring your own computer that will host your website. You will be housed in a folder of a server often containing hundreds of other websites. On one hand it is reassuring to know that they have many hundreds of other customers so that, hopefully, they will be in business for years to come. On the down side, should one of those websites be hacked, the entire ship or server will go down, along with your website.  Finding out, if you can, what their policies are in the event of a common hacker attack known as a “SQL injection” will clue you in to how much they care about what their customers are doing and how they’re doing it.

If you outgrow a shared hosted solution, what the under-$100 per year hosting plans typically are, then your next choices are a virtual private server (VPS) which is essential a bullet proof capsule inside of a web server along with other such capsules. Even if one capsule is brought down by a hacker, you and the others won’t be affected.

The good news is, a good host should be somewhat invisible. After you upload your site to a server, interacting with the host isn’t something you will be doing unless you’re a programmer yourself or someone has hacked into your server–leaving you to focus on the other important aspects of running your business.

SimplifyThis is dedicated to helping small business’s simplify operations and administrative tasks. Our online appointment scheduling tool and online invoicing tools give business owners and managers back valuable time.

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