Don’t get ripped off by your website domain hosting. Take a moment and see if you’re really getting value for money. Below are the 7 key questions you need to ask you website host, to ensure you are getting a good hosting deal.
The good news is that there are thousands of website hosting providers out there that are screaming for your business. And it’s usually no sweat to change. So let’s check out the crucial questions:
1. Get a Plan That’s Affordable
Yes I hear you. The price of your website hosting has to be affordable. I don’t like reaching into my pocket either. I am happy to chip in the dollars where I can see a provider is simply the best of the best – but otherwise forget it.
Pricing can be a confusing issue as it does vary across different website hosting providers. Some offer a free service (with lots of disclaimers) whereas others can run into the hundreds of dollars each month. Shop around and make sure you are comparing apples with apples. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $10-20 per month for a secure mid sized website.
2. Get a Generous Bandwidth Allocation
Your website needs bandwidth. Every time someone visits your site, their computer is placing a request for information. Your website host responds to this request by sending your content directly to the user’s computer. The whole process happens very quickly. Every website hosting package comes with an allocation of bandwidth.
If you have a content rich website, which has lots of large images or available downloads, users are going to consume a large amount of bandwidth. This places a high demand on your bandwidth allocation. If you step over your bandwidth allocation, your website will cease to be transmitted. Which essentially means your site will be offline until either the next billing cycle, or until you grovel to your website hosting provider.
Naturally, you don’t want this to happen. Ensure that your website host provides you with a generous bandwidth allocation and all will be rosy.
3. Get a Large Website Space Allowance
Just like a file on your hard drive, your website does take up space. Sometimes this can be a few megabytes, other times a few gigabytes. It really depends on your site. A good domain hosting provider will give you a generous website space allowance (preferably unlimited). If your host only offers a small allowance, such as 10-100MB, be wary. In this age of increasing media capabilities, this allowance will be eaten up quite quickly.
4. Secure an Uptime Guarantee
The last thing you want is your website hosting provider to flick off their server. This turns the lights off your website and turns you into a panicking zombie. A quality website hosting provider will provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You’ll never get a 100% guarantee as there will always be maintenance requirements.
It’s also worth checking out what the guarantee is. The better the guarantee, the more serious the company is in keeping it.
5. Access to a 24/7 Helpdesk
In the wonderful online world, things go wrong. Either you accidentally clicked the wrong button, or you’ve lost your password. I’ve been there and it’s no fun. The anxiety faced can often be multiplied by a poor website hosting provider who is either ‘out to dinner’ or ‘answers requests within the next 24 hours.
Well this is not good enough. You need a website hosting provider that will actually be there when you need them. Every second that your website is offline is bad news. You must demand a help desk that’s manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Preferably by phone, email and direct online chat. Anything less is a quality compromise.
6. Easy Installation Features
I’m not a tech head. Chances are you’re not either. Some website hosts offer a great interface that allows you to install content management systems, backups and plugins at the click of a button. This saves you hours of work. Ask your hosts to define their installation and add-on features. If they sound easy to use, give them a thumbs up.
7. Money Back Guarantee
Does your website hosting provider put their money where their mouth is? Are they prepared to back their service with a rock solid guarantee? If so, this removes a lot of your initial risk. It allows you to sign up with them, and if things don’t turn out to your liking you can shake hands and head off into the distance with your money still in your pocket. Go for the money back guarantee and ensure you’re with a quality website hosting provider.
It’s best that you take the time to choose an a website hosting provider that meets the above seven criteria and fits effortlessly into your small business plan. Once you have the right hosting plan, you can ease back into your chair and forget about it, knowing that everything is under control.