When you’re building a new site, it’s common to spend considerable time brainstorming, planning, wire framing and conceptualizing. You want your site to be perfect. So do we. When it comes to hosting your site, you probably give a hundredth of the amount of consideration to the company you use. This will make your developer grouchy because it makes their job much more difficult. Choosing poor hosting companies is extremely common. Sadly, we deal with substandard hosting outfits on a daily basis.
Choosing the right hosting company will make all the difference in the development and success of your site. A bad hosting company can cause the development process to drag on much longer than it should, knock your site off line for extended period of time and cost you lots of money with little return. Bad hosting can turn your dream site into a nightmare in a few seconds.
Here are the three most important factors to investigate when looking for a hosting company for a new site.
What type of support does your hosting company offer? Ideally, you should be able to get someone on the phone who you feel comfortable communicating with 24/7. When you are first developing your site, there are numerous minor tweaks and changes that will need to be made to your hosting account to get things up and running. Most aren’t very time consuming. Having to send an email, get a ticket number and wait for someone to contact you can severely cripple the development process. Having to wait 4 hours or 3 days to have a change made that should take a few minutes is unacceptable. You may need to put your hosting provider in touch with your developers directly, so enquire if they are comfortable and capable of working with developers. They should be. In the best case, you will have one or two support people that are assigned to your account, that understand your site and become an extension of your development team.
If your site goes down, you are temporarily out of business. Most hosting companies will tell you they have ’99% Uptime’. This isn’t always the case. Things happen at even the best hosting companies, and sooner or later your site may go offline for one reason or another. Ask about the safeguards your hosting company has in place to prevent this. More importantly, find out how they have handled outages in the past. Get a reference from other users, and get a first hand account of their recovery procedures. A really solid hosting company will admit when they have had issues in the past, and will be proud to discuss how quickly and how well they have corrected them. If a hosting company tells you they never have issues, and have never had a server go down. Run away. Quickly.
It’s really, really easy to get ripped off when you are paying for web hosting. Unlike many other things in the world, the most expensive hosting companies aren’t necessarily the best. Strangely, we’ve had nearly the opposite experience. Many of the less expensive hosting companies are some of the best we’ve dealt with. This is economies of scale in action. Larger hosting companies can offer very competitive pricing because they have so many clients. Some smaller hosting companies charge exorbitant prices, but not necessarily superior service, features or support. Take advantage of this, and shop around. Don’t make a decision based solely on the lowest price you can find, but there is no need to pay through the nose either. Investigate the amount of disk space, data transfer and other extras that are actually included in the available plans. In many cases, a low price upfront can easily soar out of control with data and transfer costs, or other fine print extras.
You do the research for every aspect of your business. Please do the same with your hosting company. It makes the job of a developers much easier, and in the long run it will benefit your pocketbook, your business and the people who visit your site. We’re always happy to help with any suggestions, so get in touch or leave your questions and favorite hosting companies in the comments.
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