When you think about choosing quality web hosting, inexpensive doesn’t mean poor quality. As a matter of fact, keen competition makes it possible to find exactly what you need at the budget you can afford
Keep in mind that finding quality web hosting is a very serious endeavor because changing web hosts can be an arduous, painful experience with the possibilities of losing money in business, losing data in the process, losing customers, and even losing your patience.
Now pricing should never be the primary factor; the functionality and services needed should come first. Here is where to begin:
- Start with the company website: Go to the host’s website and read about the features they offer and about pricing plans. If you are left having to ask questions about any aspect offered by the web hosting organization, chances are that’s not who you want to use as your host.
- Check out the company’s reputation: Before you trust your website to a company’s servers, use the Internet and search for reviews. Not everyone is going to be happy with any company, and it’s likely there are always going to be a few complaints, but when most reviews are negative, let that be a red flag. Well-established companies have quality reputations.
- Keep in mind customer service: Check how many different ways you can get answers or technical support. A hosting company should be available by more than one means; email, phone, or phone chat. In addition, make sure there is 24 hour, 7 days a week customer service for technical assistance. Even the best companies may make you wait until Monday morning to settle your billing dispute.
- Reliability is money and time: If your website is down, that means you have no visitors to your site. If you have an online business, that means you have no business until your site is up and running again. No one will be able to read your blogs, watch your videos, or buy your products. A promise of 99% uptime is reasonable and required.
- You must have security: Your website needs multi-layered protection to keep intruders away. If you have a business, you certainly want your customers’ credit cards and bank information to be secure.
- Guarantee you: Most reliable companies will offer a 30 day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the web hosting, and you will not be locked in for any amount of time.
So now that we have checked out the company and their basic policies, we want to get the most out of our investment. Before we even decide to open an account with a budget web hosting organization, we need to know the options open to us and what the web host offers. Such elements as domain names, disk space, bandwidth, and even the control panel can make managing a website easier, especially when the owner has no technological expertise. Here are some further suggestions to consider:
- Budget hosting does not have to cut you off at the knees for disk space. The web hosting company should offer generous amounts of disk space for the user’s website. As the user adds new pages, posts, images, content, and even forums, the need for disk space increases.
- Bandwidth is the amount of data or traffic that enters and leaves a website and involves the number of visitors that can visit a website and the quantity of data they can access while browsing. If a website uses a lot of graphics or video, a greater amount of bandwidth is consumed. Ideally, a good web hosting company, even one offering budget prices, should warn a website owner when they are near their limit – offering either an extra charge or an upgraded plan for more bandwidth.
- Linux is the most popular hosting platform and the technologies that run on it are free for developers to use in their software programs (open source). Linux is most popular in budget hosting because it supports most web applications, databases, and languages such as PHP, MySQL, and Perl. Windows hosting is used with all Microsoft development tools, but is more expensive than Linux and usually offered at a higher price.
- Many budget web hosting companies will offer a free domain name. Some will offer Website Builder, which is user friendly. The simple interfaces offered can help even the most inexperienced owner build a multi-page website easily and quickly.
- Never underestimate the importance of a control panel which is used to perform various tasks that go into running a website without having a lot of technological experience. Ideally, even in budget web hosting, the control panel has intuitive graphics and text that the website owner can make their own changes. A website owner can also build their website from their own design or from the many free templates available.
It’s always good to remember that some webhosting organizations will advertise inexpensive rates to attract customers, but as time passes, the contract has an escalation price clause where the rates increase. Just be sure to read all of the contracts before you sign your name.