To me, web hosting is kind of like insurance.
Let me explain. When it’s time for you to renew your car insurance what do you do? If you are anything like me, you probably go on the price comparison sites and pick the cheapest quote. We all do it. The reason being we never think that we will get into an accident so why bother looking further than the price.
Web Hosting is much the same. Again, the first thing anyone looks at is the price. We assume there will never be any issues. However, what I would strongly suggest is to look beyond the price and see what you are getting for your money. This is especially true if this hosting is for your company website and loss or downtime will cause your company disruption or loss of earnings.
Here’s a real life example. I recently designed a website for a client and he wanted to use hosting he had already purchased. The hosting company were one I had never heard of and their site looked straight out of the 90’s. Against my better judgement, I agreed to use his existing hosting. The build was going great and almost complete but a few DNS records had to be changed. A typo was made in the panel which meant I lost access and couldn’t get back in to rectify my mistake. No problem I thought, a quick change by the hosting company and all will be sorted. Trouble is, I couldn’t get hold of them. There was no number, no live chat or social media. Only an email address. After a number of days and still no response the only option was to go directly to the domain registrar and get the domain taken off them. Eventually the domain was transferred over and the site could go live. Luckily, this company didn’t rely on their site for revenue or ecommerce otherwise this could have been curtains.
I’m not saying to go and buy the most expensive hosting package with all the “bells and whistles” but to simply do a bit of due diligence before signing up.
Here are some pointers to think about:
- What kind of support does the hosting company offer? If things go wrong, you are going to need them.
- If they have live chat or phone number give them a call as a trial run.
- If there is only email support, ping them an email to see how quickly they respond. NB – I would recommend ideally getting hosting with at least Live Chat (phone is better) so you can actually talk to someone when things go wrong.
- Check out some of the reviews online. Remember the Trip Advisor rule though that there will usually be one or two bad reviews so look at the consensus.
- If you can, get hosting from a company you have actually heard of
- If the hosting company have a tin-pot website, you can bet their hosting is tin-pot as well
- Look what is included in your plan and consider future expansion. Is there enough space? Will I need additional databases in future? Dedicated or shared hosting?
- Finally – consult with an expert if you are unsure.
The above will probably only take 15 minutes of your time but could be the best investment you could ever make for your business.