Choosing A Web Host – Nine Qualities Of The Best Web Hosting Companies

There are so many choices when it comes to hosting a web site that it can be a daunting task to find a web host that is suitable for your needs. In this article, Starbucks is used as a metaphor for nine of the most important qualities when evaluating the best web hosting companies.

Imagine visiting your local Starbucks in the middle of the day only to find them closed because their coffee brewer is broken. A loyal or regular customer, might come back again later but a new or recent one would find a new place to get their coffee.

1. Solid/Reliability

Every time your web site goes down, so does your number of visitors. If you lose visitors, then you lose profit, members, reputation, etc. You cannot afford for your web site to be down—even for a short amount of time! To ensure the web host you’re looking at will be reliable, find out how many customers they have (typically the more the better), see if they have a guaranteed up-time, search for complaints about them on the internet and ask other users using their service about their experience (if you know any).

2. Speed

No one likes to wait in line to get what they want—they want it now or they wanted it yesterday. Starbucks delivers quickly and people know that the Starbucks line (even if long) moves fast. If your web site loads slow because it’s on an overburdened server or on a slow network, your visitors will go somewhere else. Make sure its blazing fast. Test the web hosts site and some of their customer’s sites to see how fast they load. Also, read the Top Twenty Do’s and Don’ts for Your Web Site.

3. Space

Starbucks usually have indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate the most people. It’s not easy to move a restaurant and it’s not easy to move your web site. Make sure you have more than enough space for what you plan to do with your web site. Web space is cheap, so get a lot of it.

4. Substantial Bandwidth

Imagine if Starbucks was only allowed to have 1,000 customers per day and then they had to close their doors. This is essentially what bandwidth is for web sites. If you have too much traffic and use too much bandwidth, they cut off your web site or charge you more. It protects the web hosting companies from having someone who uses up all of the server resources. Make sure your new web hosting company allows you to buy more bandwidth should you someday need it.

5. Support

If you walked into a Starbucks and you couldn’t find an employee to take your order that would be really frustrating. When you have a problem with your web hosting company, you want to be able to reach some one and get a quick response. Find out if they have a published phone number, their hours of support, and how easy it is to reach someone.

6. Superior Features & Technology

When was the last time you heard some one ask for something at Starbucks they couldn’t make? When it comes to your web site, make sure you have all the options you need. Look into their control panel, number of allowed sub-domains, scripting language support, databases, and whether it is hosted on a Windows or Unix platform.

7. Sufficient Email

Find out if there is a limit to the number of email boxes you can have and what other email features they support. Make sure you have full control over them and can manage them yourself.

8. Secure Location

Web hosts that are local will likely be faster, more reliable and easier to contact than those that are not nearby. It’s best to at least have the web server be in the same country as most of your visitors. It doesn’t make sense to use a hosting company in the UK or Europe if you all of your visitors are in the United States. Also, make sure your web site information will be safe and secure on their servers.

9. Standard Pricing/Payment Plans

Finally, the last thing we can learn from Starbucks is that you get what you pay for. Starbucks charges more but you get better, faster service more of the time than you do at other coffee shops. When it comes to your web hosting company, you will usually get what you pay for—there are exceptions to every rule, but in general this is true. Also, beware for hosting companies that lure you with a low price but nickel and dime you for extra features that are standard on most web hosts (GoDaddy is notorious for this).

Now, what are you waiting for? Find out the two best WordPress web hosting companies and why we love them so much.


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