Selecting a Web Host for your Web Presence
Websites are Internet real estate property that require hosting in servers.
So you’ve decided to establish your Web presence to share your interests or promote your business 24/7. Whether that presence is a personal homepage, a mobile-ready ecommerce site, or a just a personalized web-based email account you’ll need to have it hosted on a server somewhere. If you are technically inclined you can place your Web presence on your own server in your own home, but that’s not recommended if you want to be found easily by the major search engines. Besides, you’ll have to keep that server running all the time, even when you’re on vacation. The extreme option would be for you to buy a server and have it colocated in a datacenter. That would be too expensive and time-consuming so most people (or businesses) do not opt for co-location services. The common route is to find a web hosting provider, preferably in your country (or a country that respects your data privacy), and rent server space from a Web Hosting provider.
Start simple, but plan to expand your Web presence.
If your needs are simple, let’s say for a personal website, then Web Hosting companies like SiberName can provide you with a free basic website hosting service through shared servers to help you get started. When you register a domain with Sibername you automatically have access to free Web hosting to build your own 5-page website whenever you wish using their online website builders. You also get instant access to a webmail account. That’s usually sufficient for you to start off with, until your website gets popular enough to attract over 20,000 visitors each month. Then you’ll need to scale up your web hosting services to accommodate increased bandwidth usage from your website visitors, especially if you start adding multimedia content on your site, something which increases web hosting space requirements. So once you have significant traffic, or if you add multimedia content to your website, then you’ll need a web hosting upgrade. How do you find the ideal Web hosting provider when you need more space and bandwidth?
Checklist of things to look for in a Web Host Provider:
Reputation: Research the quality of companies you wish to deal with for years.
- Better Business Bureau: Do they have unresolved issues with the BBB?
- Client Testimonials: Do their own customers like them? (see webhostinggeeks.com)
- Online search: (see Wikipedia.com articles, Google News…)
- How long have they been in business?
Customer service: Compare the customer support services of providers before you pick one.
You’ll notice, as you shop for hosting providers, that hosting prices vary widely. During an economic downturn it might be more tempting to sign up with providers offering their services at the lowest price. But let the buyer beware. Pricing should always play a back seat to customer service when it comes to Web Hosting, especially if you are making your first steps on the Web. Your relationship with your provider may probably last you for several years so try to find a company that is responsive to your needs from the very start. A simple test you can do to compare Web hosting customer service is to email the support department of different providers and compare the different responses you get. How long did the response take? Was the response clear and useful? Was the tone caring? Here’s the email address for Webhost SiberName’s customer support department firstname.lastname@example.org to evaluate the quality of their response. Then call others and compare. In addition to this you can search for customer testimonials on the quality of customer service they offer. Keep in mind that your relationship with this kind of company may last longer than most marriages so communication and responsiveness is important.
Typically, customer service departments in older companies are often superior due to their cumulative years of experience in solving hosting issues that may arise. Also, if providers use a state-of-the-art problem e-ticketing system to handle support requests, issues are resolved more quickly since multiple agents can be called upon instantly if a website is down, malfunctioning, or has been hacked.
Security and Backup: Always have a security and backup plan. Get a guarantee!
All websites run a risk of data crashes and data loss, even government websites. This may become an important concern for you as your Web presence becomes more important. You’ll need to be able to recover your data fast in case of a crash. Some providers allow you to access your website backup at the touch of a button. Some services will do it for you automatically. Some leave it up to you. You may want to ask a potential provider about their data security and backup systems. Here is an example: https://us.sibername.com/codeguard.php
Reliability & Scalability: System reliability depends on technology & human reliability
Server uptime and speed must be considered even though many providers now do a good job in this area. There is a variety of online tools you can use to verify a website’s uptime. You can also do a simple Internet search to find testimonials of satisfied or dissatisfied users in this area. Some providers even guarantee the server uptime (example SiberName) In addition to server reliability, you should make sure that a provider can accommodate your expected growth. Server scalability should also be taken into account, particularly if your Web presence becomes successful. How easy will it be to ramp up to larger hosting services when server upgrades are required?
(example from: shared hosting > VPS hosting > dedicated hosting) How easy will it be to downgrade your hosting services during a business downturn? Does your provider offer a range of server options like shared server services, reseller services, virtual private services, dedicated host services, or co-location services?
Location of Web host servers: Location sometimes matters
If you live in a certain country you may want to have a Web server in your country, close to your location, especially if you have a country-specific domain or your market is for people within your country. However, if you are targeting an international market that becomes less critical. Some providers will offer you server spaces in many countries. What should be considered in all cases is that you should select servers in countries that respect the privacy of your data.
Pricing: Value is more important than pricing. Know what you need and buy what you need.
The larger Web hosting providers are usually less expensive but you should make sure they have the services you need. For instance, you may require a Web Hosting company that also specializes in mobile-Web hosting. Mobile-Web hosting requires special applications and expertise that only some hosting companies provide! Here’s an example below:
- Mobile-Website building tools (from desktop) Website Matic
- Mobile-Website building tools (from mobile phones) Weebly, Boost
- Mobile-Website design experts (if needed)
- Mobile-Website SEO services (location-based, or other)
- Mobile-Website performance audit
- Mobile-Website design with virtual teams
- Mobile applications you can install with one click
- Mobile-friendly control panel
- Mobile-friendly marketing tools
- Mobile-friendly payment applications
- Mobile-email access and support
- Mobile-eCommerce tools
- Mobile-Web 3.0 Interoperability expertise(mobile operating systems and browsers…)
It’s usually more convenient to get all your Web Presence services from the same company so make sure the provider you select has all the services and expertise you need. If they say they are a mobile-Web hosting company, a simple test would be to see if their own website is mobile-friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendliness Test.
Usually smaller providers are more flexible in pricing and they offer different pricing packages depending on their expertise. They can offer pricing combination packages that include a variety of services along with hosting. One example is SiberName’s Club Membership Package. This package offers you a combination of premium website design, search engine optimization and hosting for a monthly fee. To see how flexible a web host is in providing the pricing package you need just tell them your requirements and ask them for a detailed price quote, one that includes setup fees, guarantees and subscription minimums.
Web hosting features:
As you compare website hosting providers you will surely notice the huge assortment of different features available to develop one’s Web presence. Here’s a link to a list of web hosting features from SiberName https://www.sibername.com/canadianwebhosting/features.php You may use this features grid to start conducting a competitive comparison of web hosting providers.
Checklist for selecting a Web hosting provider:
- Do they have the expertise and tools to help you analyze the performance of your site?
- Do they have the expertise and tools to help you achieve the performance you need?
- Do they have the expertise and tools to help you market your website?
- Do they have the expertise and available to build and fix websites?
- Do they have the tools you need for you to build or modify your own website?
- Do they have a blog page on their site to update clients on important trends and news?
- Do they offer, and respect, their guarantees?
- Do they have pricing packages that answer your needs?
- Do they stay current with more efficient, effective and affordable technologies?
- Do they have any issues with the Better Business Bureau, webhostingtalk.com…?
- Do they have a constrictive server usage policy?
- Do they have Free Website Builders, Free one-click apps?
- Do they offer Free scripts for your website available through your control panel
- Do they offer Free Website Migration? Do they charge any/many setup fees?
- Do they offer Free 24/7 Premium Support?
- 30 day money back guarantee for web hosting packages, cloud backup and scanning
- Website Uptime: Guaranteed 99.99% Uptime
- Is Shared SSL included in their hosting price
- Pre-installed WordPress, WordPress one-click installation
- Website management via: cPanel, Plesk,
- Fast load times, unlimited bandwidth?
- No “minimum number of months” commitments
- Backup service, Daily malware security scans, Enhanced security
- upgrade, downgrade or cancel your subscription at any time
- Canadian Website Hosting, Canadian Data Center Reseller Website Hosting
- Cloud Hosting, Windows Servers, Linux Servers, WordPress Web Hosting, VPS…
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