Think of a web host as the vehicle that brings your website to the eyes of your audience.
Every website needs a place to “live” on the Internet, and a web hosting company is as important as your choice of apartment when you move into a new city.
What exactly does a web hosting provider do, and what should you look for in the perfect company? Business web designers everywhere must understand this vital choice when it comes to creating the perfect corporate site, which is often your best advertising and eCommerce platform available to you.
What Do You Gain Out of Web Hosting?
Every hosting company has its own offerings, features, and services, but they all share the same base functionalities. To give your site a platform to stand on, web hosting involves the following:
- A domain (i.e. the web address) that you choose yourself as long as it isn’t already taken.
- A server, the physical machine on which your site lives. When visitors enter the website, the server gives their web browsers the content.
- Storage to support all the text, images, videos, and other multimedia elements.
There’s obviously more to it since the decision to choose a professional web host is multifaceted given the competitive nature of the market. What decisions do you have to make when it comes to web hosting?
What Problems Could I Experience From a Poor Choice of Web Host?
It should be obvious why the foundation of your business website matters, but the specific issues you could face from a low-quality hosting vendor include:
- Poor SEO rankings. Whether it’s server downtime, slow loading times, or poor user experiences, the issues caused by bad hosting are apparent to search engines like Google, which will likely rank your business low in the results page.
- Server downtime. In an age where customers expect websites to be running 24/7, you will surely experience a large loss in revenue from a poorly functioning website. Ensure that the provider you go with can recover from incidents quickly.
- Cybersecurity troubles. The best web hosts have security practices in place to prevent data breaches and malware attacks, as well as excellent customer support for incident recovery. SSL certificates are one way to ensure security in today’s risky environment.
Putting time and thought into your decision is one of the best investments you can make for the website of your organization.
What Type of Web Hosting Do I Need?
Depending on your needs regarding reliability, cost, speed, storage, and other requirements, different types of hosting probably suit you better than others. The categories brought up by industry experts are:
- Cloud hosting. By hosting on multiple servers, the provider can scale up computational needs during times of high traffic and have redundancies to prevent downtime.
- Colocation hosting. While expensive, colocation hosting allows you to host your own hardware onsite to work with the servers at your web host.
- Dedicated hosting. Businesses wanting exclusive access to a server rather than sharing one with another of the web host’s clients can choose a dedicated option.
- Managed hosting. Consider outsourcing maintenance and updates to a 3rd party company to simplify the work for your own IT teams.
- Shared hosting. Many hosting vendors allow multiple websites to run on the same server to save on costs, meaning lower prices for you.
- Virtual private servers. Instead of renting physical servers, you may be purchasing virtual machines for use, which are often less expensive to install and configure.
What else should you look for in the ideal web hosting company? Having low downtimes and strong security are givens, but let’s go into more detail to help out in the search.
What To Look For in a Hosting Provider
Talk with potential candidates and ask about the features and services offered. Most web hosts are more than happy to explain their own selling points, which may include:
- Enough resources. Read the terms before dedicating to a provider, as many of them put a limit on the amount of bandwidth or storage you can use. Gauge your needs and find a solution that fits within your budget.
- Flexible scaling. Your business will grow its customer base over time, so make sure the website keeps up with increasing traffic.
- Transparent pricing. Beware of hidden costs and misleading prices, especially if you’re choosing from multiple tiers of service.
- The chance to get help. When you face technical problems, having a support staff on hand is great for peace of mind.
- The ability to help yourself. At the same time, you shouldn’t have to rely exclusively on customer support. Many vendors offer training resources for your own staff for this reason.
Other miscellaneous services include automatic backups, seamless updates, and domain management tools.
The Process of Selecting a Web Host
On top of gauging your needs and selecting based off of features and pricing, you can test out other aspects of a web host. Build a list of potential candidates and start comparing.
- Read reviews. What experiences have the host’s past clients had with the company? Reputation is an excellent tool for finding out how a potential vendor handles complaints and responds to client needs.
- Read the Terms of Service. It may be tempting to skim through it, but it’s important to look for the fine print. What refund policy, for instance, is on offer?
- Test responsiveness. Is the company able to answer your communication emails and calls quickly? A responsive vendor is one that’s easy to work with.
- Have a backup. Ask whether there’s a backup plan in case your website does go down. If the vendor at least can answer that question, then you know you’ll be in good hands.
Finally, remember that you get what you pay for. Cheaping out on the foundation of your business’s online presence really isn’t the right move in today’s website-driven market.
Work With Globalgraphics—a Leading Hosting Company in Birmingham
Are you deep into your search for web design and digital marketing or just getting started?
Either way, why not get in contact with the leading hosting company in Birmingham?
In an age where online presence is everything, Globalgraphics is committed to your success. Contact us today to get started.