Choosing a good web hosting service to use is both easy and difficult. You have so many options to choose from, so finding a good one that suits your needs perfectly shouldn’t be too difficult. That same wealth of options, however, can make finding a good hosting service a bit more difficult at the same time. To help simplify the process of finding a good web hosting service, there are actually 5 key aspects to look for during your search. We are going to talk about those 5 key aspects in this article.
Speed is everything these days. Google and other search engines value speed as part of their user experience algorithm. Actual users, on the other hand, usually abandon a site if it doesn’t load in under 5 seconds. Speed is everything indeed.
A good web hosting service should offer enough speed for your site to load and perform optimally. You need to have enough bandwidth to handle the traffic you are expecting to get. You should also check if all parts of the connection – including the responses given by the hosting company’s DNS servers – are sufficient.
Luckily, there are tools that can help you figure out how fast a web hosting service actually is. To begin, you need to find a number of websites that use the same hosting service. This is relatively easy, thanks to user testimonials and reviews.
With a handful of references in hand, use tools such as Pingdom and Google PageSpeed to help you check the actual speed of the hosting service. You can get a lot of insight about the quality of that hosting service this way.
This next key aspect is a little trickier to check, but it is important nonetheless. Naturally, a good web hosting service needs to be reliable. This means low downtime and multiple redundancies should a catastrophic failure occur. The only way to really confirm a hosting service’s reliability is by using the service over a certain period of time. However, there is a way to get a good picture of what to expect during your search.
Check the hosting company’s SLA or Service Level Agreement. The SLA should declare an uptime level you can expect from the service. 99.5% uptime is usually the standard with shared hosting and other more affordable services, while cloud and SSD-based VPS services are usually advertising up to 99.9% uptime.
Don’t just take the hosting company’s words for it. Find out more about the kind of compensations you can expect when the SLA is not met properly. Any good hosting company will back their service confidently.
Whether you are running a personal website or a web application for thousands of users, scalability is always important. Ideally, you would want to start with a sufficient set of features in order to keep your costs at minimum. This is where scalability comes in.
As your site grows, you should be able to upgrade or add new features to your hosting account. You can keep the hosting service as cost-effective as possible while still have the features you need to handle the extra traffic and server load. You can even plan to add more sites to the hosting account with good scalability.
Security is another important factor to consider, especially if you are planning to handle customers’ data or other private information. Support for SSL security and a properly secured server are among the things you need to maintain maximum level of security. Web hosting companies now add extra security measures – such as brute-force protection and reverse proxy – to help secure hosted websites even further.
The other side of the security aspect is securing your own site. You need to be certain that regular backups are created and stored in remote servers. This can be an automated routine included as part of the hosting service or something you have to do manually. You may even want to maintain your own offline backup. Should something bad happen, you don’t need to worry about restoring your site at all.
The last aspect to consider when choosing a web hosting service is customer support. 24/7 customer support is simply a must. Some of the top hosting companies offer live support through a telephone line or live chat. If you do have live support, things will be much more manageable whenever you need help.
Email or ticket support can be just as good. All you need to do is check whether the support team guarantees a prompt response for every request. Some service providers are even advertising guaranteed responses within 2 hours of filing a support request.
To test the level of customer support you can expect, try asking some pre-sale questions before signing up for an account. You will be able to get a first-hand look at how the customer support of that web hosting service works.