There are now so many choices for web hosting, it’s a bit overwhelming. Once you evaluate the features you need for your personal or business website, it’s easier to narrow down the playing field. Keep in mind, there are many general must-have features any provider should offer:
- Unlimited disk space and bandwidth – these are expected from any hosting provider
- 99% uptime – reviews will ensure your provider has no uptime issues
- 24/7 customer support – if or when you need support, you want 24/7 availability
- Virus protection – an important feature and expected by today’s providers
- Ecommerce toolset – optional sales and marketing tools for your selling platform
- Scalability for expansion – add or remove features as your business expands
- Secured site certification – a site-wide requirement and generally offered
- Site builder – a set of website templates is offered by most web hosts, or you can seek out a third party like SquareSpace or Wix.
These basic features may be all you require for your business. If you expect to expand your business or sell to a broad customer base, there may be some added features and services you won’t want to miss. Understanding your business will help answer the questions as to what features you need.
Decide What Added Features You Require
The added features are those that go beyond the basics. If you run a small business in which your site is view-only, you may not need more. On the other hand, if you are using your website to sell products and expand your business, you likely need some added features. Figure out what web hosting services you require to effectively run your business:
- Domain Name Registration – your web hosting provider may offer domain name registration or you can seek out a third party.
- Shared Web Hosting – your provider is able to support multiple sites on one server.
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS) – your provider offers private resources in a shared server environment.
- Dedicated Web Hosting – your provider offers unique dedicated servers and solutions for your environment.
- Remote Backup Services – Your provider offers remote backup services in support of your uptime and reliability.
Most reputable web hosting sites offer some or all of these added features in a scalable sales model. If you are expanding your business, you need flexible services that will support your customer base over time. While you may not need all of these features, a full-service provider will offer them.
Read Online Reviews
Your online research can go a long way toward selecting the perfect web host. Online reviews have done the heavy lifting for you, but select a non-biased reviewer. Some companies offer reviews on all of the providers they are doing business with. You want to read online reviews to learn more about the services and understand the feature sets. Keep in mind that there are dozens of top-ten lists, and some may be created by the same entities. Look for some consistencies in service levels by many reviewers to learn the truth. Use online reviews simply as a guide.
Compare Feature Sets
It’s easier than you think. Most every online review offers a features table displaying the top 10 web hosting companies and the features sets they offer. This web hosting comparison is a great way to learn what features are available and what to expect. Use these tables to decide what features you require, and then ask questions of your preferred web hosting companies to ensure the provider you select is knowledgeable and can offer these features.
Select a Reputable Web Host
Keep in mind that a reputable web hosting provider may not be the one listed on the top-ten review tables but rather one with a history, good customer testimonials, and a knowledgeable support team. When you find a reputable company like RackCo, a simple phone call goes a long way toward your web hosting decision. You may need to find out if a simple, out-of-the-box solution is adequate, or if you need a full suite of hosting services. A reputable web host generally offers a variety of information technology (IT) solutions even though you may only need a unique set of services to efficiently run your business.