In today’s world, every business is on the World Wide Web. You just can’t compete without a website. But in order to be on the Internet, you need a hosting company. Not just a hosting company, as you will soon discover, but a top-notch hosting company which can help you take your business to the next level. This becomes more challenging than one would think. Since new hosting companies are appearing on the scene all the time, it is hard to know exactly which ones to trust or simply which ones are skilled at what they do. How can you choose the best managed hosting company for you needs? Let’s talk about some of the best ways to choose the best possible hosting provider.
Turn to Google.com and the Web. You already know that “everything” is on the Web, so get out there and see what you can find out about the company you are considering. Google.com is obviously the most popular search engine to turn to when you are doing research but there are many others such as Ask.com. Put in their company name, top executives’ names and other pertinent information. See what information appears about them. Ask questions if any questionable links arise and see what type of answers you receive.
It’s not just about the “bottom line” when choosing managed hosting. Many companies or entrepreneurs are tempted by low rates when they choose managed hosting, only to discover low or non-existent customer service or a strange contract that they have “agreed” to by signing up for the service. Be careful if that deal seems a little too sweet – take the time to read the fine print because usually, there is a reason why it’s small.
Take the tour of the site and judge its performance. Have a critical eye on a new hosting company’s website when visiting. Is their website updated and current? Do they have lots of typos or other careless mistakes? Are links broken? Does the graphic design look like a cheap template? These are all signs of someone who isn’t doing their best work – or of someone who is just starting out. Let them make their mistakes on someone else’s hosting. Not yours!
Do they have an About Us page? A proud company – any company – will want to tell you more about it. The new hosting company ideally should have an About Us page and even a Staff page so you can learn exactly by whom and how your hosting will be managed. This can give you a sense of how many programmers, customer service staff, executives and other staff people the new hosting company employs. Even the existence of a Staff page helps you determine their size and professionalism. The company that won’t tell you anything about its history could have very well been started last Thursday by someone fresh out of college (hey, we have nothing against a recent grad). We’re not critical of anything you put on your About Us page – it’s simply important that it gives a potential client a chance to learn who you are before doing business with you.
Consider 6-12 hours appropriate. With most new hosting companies, 6 to 12 hours will be considered an appropriate time for a response from Customer Service or an Executive with the company. If you don’t receive a response within that time, ask yourself if you are somehow sending your message during a holiday, weekend or other off hours without realizing it. The new hosting company that doesn’t get back to you within 24 hours is a cause for concern. They are either too busy or badly organized and neither is a good sign for someone who wants to do business with them.
Look for multiple contact methods. Consider it a “red flag” if you can only contact the company via email or even more so, only through one email address. This is often a sign of a one-person hosting company or a very new company not really ready to handle your business. Or if they are a larger company, it can also be a sign that they don’t want to actually help or communicate with their customers. Before doing business with your new hosting company, be sure they offer you a telephone number and several email addresses. These contact methods will help you connect with someone – should you ever have a need to do so.
New doesn’t mean “bad”. There’s nothing wrong with being new, small, starting out or anything like that. There are hundreds of new hosting companies that are excellent and ideal to do business with. The key is learning which ones are best to do business with and which ones you need to avoid. Someone who is passionate enough to start their own business is often dedicated, enthusiastic and willing to work the hard hours to make it work. Sometimes, choosing the best new hosting company is simply “good horse sense” and trusting what your gut tells you – do you have a good feeling about this? Listen to that feeling.