One of the essential factors to consider when you decide to set up a website is where to host it. A web host provides the resources needed to give your website visibility as well as other features that add functionality and security.
Some web hosts fail woefully in their services and can ruin business for website owners. To help ensure you don’t fall prey to under-performing hosting services, we have compiled the essentials to look out for before choosing a website host. But first, a quick look at what web hosting is all about and how it works.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that makes it possible for websites to become visible and accessible on the internet. In other words, without web hosting it is impossible for the outside world to visit your website, let alone know that it exists.
You may think of web hosting along the lines of social media platforms. Facebook, for instance, creates an environment that ‘hosts’ people’s profiles. If you choose not to create a Facebook profile people on Facebook won’t be able to find you.
How web hosting works
To host your website you need to get it on a server, which is actually a special computer that is always online. When people try to access your website by keying in your domain name, their computer makes a connection to the server and your web page becomes visible.
If, for any reason, that special computer experiences downtime, your website will go offline too. This is why web host providers invest a lot in server locations to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Great Web Hosting Essentials
In every field of endeavour, there are those who get the job done and those who get it done well. In web hosting, service providers who do an amazing job have these essentials incorporated in the packages they have on offer:
- Round the clock technical support
As long as issues like glitches, hacks, and wrong layout displays come up, 24/7 customer support is a must-have. A good web hosting service should be able to attend to client issues whenever it is reported.
Depending on the kind of website or online business you intend to run, an issue that takes a bit of time to get resolved could harm your website. So look out for a web host that has a tradition of giving prompt support whenever you need it.
- Reliable security
Cybercriminals are out for blood and their victims are usually websites with little or no security measures to keep them at bay. To always be one step ahead of these hackers, you need a web host that provides you with all the necessary security tools and features.
If security is paramount to you (as it should be) companies like Domains4Less Hosting and GoDaddy provide advanced security apparatus that can guarantee the safety of your website. In addition to their comprehensive and proven security measures, which include SSL encryption, impenetrable firewalls and daily malware scans, you will also get 24/7 monitoring on your webpages.
A reliable web host you can go to bed each night without the fear of a security breach.
- Guaranteed uptime
Just 5 minutes of downtime can be a huge loss to you in terms of visitors, reputation and transactions (if you run an e-commerce site). You need a web host that can guarantee uptime 24/7.
Now here’s the puzzle, no web host will come out to say they can’t guarantee uptime. So how can you separate mere promises from actual results? Well, you can ask around at web hosting forums, or just try out a demo site with different hosts. You can then use an uptime monitoring tool to see how well each host performs over time.
- Backup service
A good hosting service will see to it that your website is backed up regularly. In case you lose any data, this backup would help you recover and continue business as though nothing happened.
Some web hosts do daily backups, while others space them out. You should be better off with a host that does daily backups especially if you run an e-commerce site or have sensitive data stored daily.
A web host is expected to have email included in its packages but good web hosts go beyond allowing you to send and receive emails. Good hosting services make provision for email scanning for spam and dangerous software that could infiltrate and impede your website. Any such culprits would be blacklisted.
Other aspects to look out for are storage, accessibility, and integration with other relevant tools.
The bottom line
A good hosting service will make your website function better. So, only choose a web host that satisfies your requirements and has a proven track record.