When you’ve made the decision to have an online presence for your business in the form of a website you’ll need a website hosting service. This is how your website will be accessible to others on the World Wide Web.
Website hosting companies provide space on a server they own or lease for use by their clients as well as providing internet connectivity. To keep the costs low for small businesses they typically offer space on “shared” servers with many other business websites. Private servers are available but are expensive and usually “overkill” for a small business but if your website is “mission critical” then it’s worth considering.
Key Points When Choosing A Website Hosting Company
- Reliability or Uptime – Hosting uptime refers to the percentage of time the host is accessible via the internet. Many providers state that they aim for at least 99.9% uptime (roughly equivalent to 45 minutes of downtime a month, or less), but there may be server restarts and planned (or unplanned) maintenance in any hosting environment and this may or may not be considered part of the official uptime promise;
- Continuity – Make sure you choose a host who’s been in business for a while and isn’t going to disappear overnight;
- Customer Support – Make sure you choose a host with technical know how and strong fast acting customer support. For our clients, we only work with website hosting companies familiar with WordPress who can help us troubleshoot issues quickly and efficiently on behalf of our clients.
- Pricing – Reliable hosting should not be expensive. Most of the companies we recommend charge roughly $8-$10 per month for shared hosting.
- Features – With hosting providers we work with, within the price ranges mentioned above, you get unlimited domains, unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, a shared SSL Certificate, unlimited file transfer, unlimited email accounts, and potentially free single domain registration as part of the package.
- Recovery – If for any reason, you make a change/update to your website that goes awry, or there is a problem at the Hosting HQ, it’s good to be confident that you’re with a website hosting provider who maintains an automatic backup. Most companies offer customers one or two domain servers — one main server, and one for backup.
Whether it be domain registration or website hosting you’re after do NOT just choose the cheapest one. Do a google search on the company and see what other online users have to say. Stay away from companies that receive a high volume of consistently negative customer comments regarding stability, security, or customer service. Visit the ICANN Accredited Registrars to see if the company you’re considering is on the list.
Hosting Companies We Recommend
Ask the website hosting provider if they support WordPress, and if are they knowledgeable about WordPress? This will be a huge help if there are ever any issues with your website.
If you have hired a website developer who suggests that you switch website hosting providers, ask if they are providing the hosting themselves, OR if they are moving your information to a company who specializes in hosting, has 24/7 technical support, reasonable pricing, and the features we’ve outlined in this article. If you’re planning to use WordPress, Dreamhost and Bluehost make it really easy to install!
If you trust your developer’s recommendation to switch hosting providers or transfer your domain name, and he/she has a reasonable explanation why — be ready to accept and embrace the change. After all you have hired them for their expertise. There may be some little hiccups in getting used to things, there may be a slight interruption in email service, or some tweaks that need to be made but sometimes the little bumps are worthwhile as a trade-off to better service and pricing.Lastly, if you have hired a professional for your website design and development they will likely take care of both domain registration and hosting on your behalf. Always make sure you get the user id’s and passwords for all accounts related to your online presence and keep them in a safe place.
This is one of several articles in a series on websites and small businesses.
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Original Ginger is a Digital Agency located in the heart of historic Fort Langley, a hip and artistic suburb of Vancouver BC.