What to look for in a Web Hosting Company

Web host reviews can feel rather stagnant because most are written from a factual point of view rather than the emotional point of view. Spending money is more emotional online, so how does a review of the technical capabilities of a handful of Web hosts measure up to how good they are?

When you are looking for a hosting solution for the first time, it always appears to come down to price. But don’t be fooled. Each hosting solution has its own way of handling the hosting. The servers can be just as varied in operating systems as computers, and there may be solutions more geared for development or commerce than just general use.

Whether you are just an aspiring blogger or entrepreneur, there are some things to look for when it comes to deciding on which hosting solution is best suited for you.

Number of Domains

It’s easy to get your first domain name. A good number of hosting providers will give you a free domain name if you opt to buy one of their hosting solution packages. However, it’s just as easy to start getting more domains. Find out if your potential hosting solution has any limits on how many domains you can have under a single account.

Number of E-mail Accounts

It is a rare thing to not be able to get an e-mail account associated with your domain. But there are some hosting solutions that don’t. If this is a deal breaker for you, move on to the next potential hosting solution. If it isn’t, find out if they offer integration with an e-mail provider like Google Apps and the associated cost.

Amount of Bandwidth and Storage Space

It is common for hosting providers to give you these details hand-in-hand with one another. Bandwidth is the amount of data that they will allow you and your visitors to upload and download (cumulatively) during the monthly billing cycle. You will know what your potential overage costs may be, or how the hosting provider handles them. Storage space should be large enough to support growth for your website.

Up-Time Guarantee

Every hosting provider claims to have close to 100 percent uptime. Be sure to read the fine print they give you regarding their uptime calculations. This is a deal breaker for many if hosts don’t actually provide 100 percent, or close to it. Use your Googling skills to read reviews about that host to find out about their uptimes.

Customer Support

Every hosting provider has some sort of customer support. You have to wade through to find the one that offers the type of customer support that you desire. Not every hosting solution will offer 24/7/365 live chat or telephone support. Some hosting providers may in fact require you to pay for a higher tiered plan to unlock anything other than e-mail support.

If customer support is a big priority for you, you may want to look at selecting a managed WordPress hosting package that offers premium support.

Site Backups

You will want this feature in the event that the worst happens. Some hosting solutions may only do a site back up once a week, or not at all; leaving that responsibility to you. Even using cloud based hosting is not a fool-proof way to keep your data safe.

Framework Support and Easy Install

There are a lot of differing types of frameworks, with WordPress being one of the most popular ones. You will want to find a hosting solution that will accommodate the Content Management System (CMS) that you want to use. Being able to install that CMS should be as easy as possible.

Database Support

It’s uncommon today to not need a database for your website. The most common database offered by hosting providers is MySQL, but if you have a preference for a different one you will have to ask them if they offer it. Not all database types are advertised or offered by all hosting providers.

Extra Applications

Depending on what your specific needs are, you will want to confirm that a hosting provider offers the solutions you need. Will you want forums, billboards, e-mail lists, eCommerce capabilities, or some other social features? Not all hosting providers will support all the extras that you may want or need.

Security Measures

Getting the exact security methods a hosting provider uses may be impossible because it is usually proprietary techniques. But knowing how regular they are with monitoring will help ensure that the potential for data loss is as close to non-existent as possible.

Exit Strategy

Read the fine print with your chosen hosting provider. How hard will it be to move your website to another hosting provider? Will there be any cancellation fees? How helpful will they be when and if you decide to eventually move? These are all concerns that you should have answered before you sign on the virtual dotted line.

Summing Up

These are just a handful of the concerns that you should have answered before finalizing on any hosting provider. Sadly, you won’t know the extent of how good or bad a hosting provider is until you actually use them.

While bandwidth. storage, cost and uptimes may be the primary concern of most consumers, it is important to look at the other factors that can make hosting a dream or a nightmare. Security measures, ease of managing multiple domains and CMS support should also be a primary concern for anyone looking for a hosting solution.

Feel free to thoroughly question every aspect of a plan that a hosting provider offers. There may be something that is not initially shown, or is buried in the fine print. As a final note, don’t be afraid to visit a third-party hosting review site to read what other users have to say about your chosen hosting company. Look for a good number of positive ratings and keep in mind to avoid a company that has a lot of negative reviews.

Mizzy Moore is a young writer who is passionate about literature and blog writing.