Consumers, business owners, and website developers alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of web hosting options available. With there being no shortage of web hosting services worth trying, with varying features, specs, and offerings, at prices ranging between $1 to $100 per month, choosing the right web hosting service has since become an arduous task, requiring extensive comparisons and analysis,
Selecting the right service from the very beginning remains essential for seamless, and secure operations, while also helping avoid the dreaded transfers between servers, and the downtimes associated with the same. With extensive experience in this regard, we’ve identified a few critical features to look for when choosing, or comparing between different hosting service providers.
1. Average UptimeGiven the amount of damage even one hour of downtime in a year can do to a corporate website, business reputation, and sales, every decimal point in the uptime figures add up. Most web hosts advertise a 99.9% uptime as a standard practice, and even a minor deviation from this figure means that you will have to search for a new host.
A professional hosting service will strive to ensure this figure is as close to 100% as possible, and this is done with the adoption of various systems and best practices to ensure a disruption free service. While taking uptime into consideration, it is important to understand that 99% uptime translates to 87 hours in downtime during a year, which is absolutely unacceptable.
2. Security/h2>With DDOS attacks, malwares, ransomwares, and other cyber threats getting increasingly common, website owners should never skimp on security. Web hosting services have since adopted a number of measures to combat the same, this includes the basics such as SSL availability, and free backup and restoration services, to advanced DDOS mitigation, and regular malware scanning.
Different hosting plans come with certain particular security threats, for example, shared hosting plans, while being quite cheap, remain prone to cross-site contamination. With all sites being on the same directory, a bad neighbor can ruin the day for all, and as a result, most shared hosting services take extensive measures when it comes to policing the activities of websites hosted on a particular server.
Bandwith & StorageMost web hosting services advertise a basic plan touting unlimited storage and bandwidth, however, experienced users will know that there is no such thing that is truly unlimited. If your storage, or website traffic passes a certain limit, even the most committed hosting providers are likely to request that you upgrade your plan, or move to a different service altogether.
With this, it becomes essential to have a clear understanding of your service provider’s policy regarding heavy usage, and what plans can be availed in the case of an upgrade. Unscrupulous players in this industry are notorious for their bait and switch approach, wherein they lure in customers touting low prices, unlimited storage, and bandwidth, before asking their captive customers to upgrade their plans.
4. Loading SpeedWith speed becoming an increasingly critical factor in SEO, a low-cost shared hosting service can prove to be detrimental in the long-run, despite the immediate cost savings. A recent study by Google clearly points out that as much as 55% of visitors leave a page if it takes a little longer than 3 seconds to load.
This also brings with it negative perceptions and reputational damage that will leave an impact on conversions on your website.
There are a number of tools, plugins, and extensions to speed up a site, dealing with various aspects that are slowing it down, but one thing that remains set in stone is the resources of your web hosting service, which is likely to be under strain when it comes to shared hosting with numerous sites hosted on the same server, fighting for the same bandwidth.
Hosting ReputationBeyond just the speed and performance, a shared hosting does have an impact on SEO given the nature, quality, and activities of other websites on the server. This is a substantial risk that Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines has included a number of years ago, and needs to be given due consideration before moving your website to a new server, or web host.
It’s quite evident that Google dislikes spam, scams, and unscrupulous websites, and if your site is hosted on a server with such other sites with similar disrepute, your perception, and rankings are likely to be in jeopardy.
As a result, it is a good idea to upgrade to a VPS, or dedicated server as soon as your business gains some traction, and before that, make sure the shared hosting service has a robust moderation policy, and caters only to other authentic business websites.