A website is the modern equivalent of a storefront and all businesses, big or small, need a well-designed website these days. There’s a popular misconception about websites, that registering a domain name is the same as hosting a website. This simply isn’t true. Registering a domain name is like giving your website a name. It does not really include a website. In order to have a working website that can be accessed throughout the world via the internet, your website needs to be hosted somewhere.
And this is essentially what web hosting companies do. They take the content of your website and store it in their servers which are connected to the internet. Hosting servers are a type of physical server that store the website files and all the related data viz. software, services and applications. It is also known as a web hosting server and can be accessed remotely over the internet. Thus, once your website is hosted, people can access it over the internet.
The first thing to know about web hosting companies is that there are a lot of them and not all of them are as great as they promise to be. Given that you have hundreds of options, it makes sense to understand what you want from your hosting provider.
How to Choose Your Web Hosting Provider?
Uptime is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to choosing a web hosting provider. Uptime, in essence, refers to how long a server has run before it crashed, whatever may be the reason.
Here, it’s important to understand that a server is very much like a computer. It’s bigger and has a lot of networks and resources, but at its heart, it’s just a computer. When your website is hosted on a server, it is ‘up’ for as long as the server is running. If for some reason, the server were to crash, your website would crash as well, at which point, it’s ‘down’.
New websites often have a singular focus — growth. For this purpose, you might have marketing campaigns running left, right, and centre. However, if your website is down, people will simply see an error message when they try to access your website.
This will not only create a bad impression, but people are generally wary of using websites that seem to be down every now and again. So, it’s a loss in the long term as well. This is why the uptime that a web hosting company provides is crucial.
You should be getting an uptime of, at least, more than 99%. All servers fail, and all websites go down at some point. But the probability of failure must be kept as low as possible.
Cyber attacks are on the rise, and people are getting more and more conscious about privacy and data security. Data breaches can lead to serious business problems. So, it’s important that your web hosting provider does everything it can, like offering robust fail-safe hardware, implement strong firewalls, have efficient data recovery processes, offer advanced malware protection and so on, to ensure that its servers are safe from attackers.
The only real way to verify this is by research. You’re going to have to see what type of security that a company has and what existing customers think about it. But it’s crucial that you try and get as much information about security as possible.
3. Customer support
Even if you have an in-house tech team and you’re a hosting expert, there are times when you need to reach out to the hosting company. In such cases, you want them to communicate with you as soon as possible. Proactive and dedicated customer support should be a primary consideration when you’re considering web hosting companies.
Also, check if the company has different ways to reach out. Chatbots, emails, phone support — these are just a few of the popular methods through which effective customer support is possible. Ensure that your web hosting provider has at least two different modes of communication.
Scalability refers to adding or removing resources to your website. This may include RAM, bandwidth, storage, or CPU cores. When you start off, you may have very little traffic. So, you would choose a plan that is inexpensive but caters to the limited audience that you have.
However, as your website grows, so will the traffic. When the site traffic surges, you will need to add resources to your website, or else it’ll slow down or at times, even crash.
The ease of adding resources is important. Great hosting companies will allow plenty of headroom for your website and adding resources to it should not take more than a few minutes and a few clicks. This is important because, if there’s no space for your website, you’ll simply have to change your hosting provider and website migration isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to do.
5. Backup services
All storage devices fail at some point. Even the best hosting companies might suffer a cyber attack. It doesn’t matter what causes your data loss because, at some point, it’s going to happen. This might be a small loss where you’ve just lost one hard disk or a huge problem like losing your website’s index.php file.
Whatever may be the loss, you need a way for it to be recovered. Now, no hosting company has a legally binding backup clause, where they have to create and store backups for your website. However, good hosting companies do it, and they do it well. Ensure that the hosting company you choose has a robust backup policy that you can, at the very least, partially rely on.
Additionally, the best web hosting providers offer an automated backup solution at added costs. You can create a comprehensive backup strategy with the combination of your manual backups, hosting provider’s backup and the software’s automated backup.
Obviously, pricing is important, and you shouldn’t be paying exorbitant prices for simple hosting solutions. However, thanks to the sheer number of hosting companies, you’re bound to find ridiculously cheap deals. More importantly, beware of free hosting plans. Somewhere in between silly-cheap and silly-expensive lies the true pricing for a hosting plan.
A lot of great web hosting companies actually have well priced hosting plans. It’s always better to go for such plans because they will be reliable, safe, and offer better performance.
Choosing a great web hosting company is important because hosting is not a short-term solution. Hosting migration can be cumbersome, so it is better to find a partner who you can rely on for your website’s security, speed and performance.
HostGator India offers you safe, performance-driven, reliable hosting with plenty of room to grow. You can choose from Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting plans. We offer free SSL and pre-installed control panels with a majority of our plans. You can further choose from Linux vs Windows variants as well as SSD (Solid State Drives) vs HDD (Hard Disk Drive) storage for your hosting server. Enjoy 24×7 dedicated expert support and efficient resolution for all your hosting queries!
For more details, leave a comment below or get in touch with us today!
To know more about the other web hosting categories and to choose the right option for your business, visit our Hosting Blogs Category.