Web hosting is the engine of your online presence. Unreliable web hosting can cripple your business. You have one chance to impress a potential customer, and if your site is offline, chances are you won’t win them back. Before you work with any web hosting provider, you should ask these key questions.
1. What About the Pricing Plans?
It’s important to get this out of the way now. The fact is that pricing is important for a lot of companies. They need to know they’re getting a good deal, but it should never come at the expense of your online presence. It’s always best to pay more for a reliable web hosting provider.
This reveals an important lesson. Are a few dollars saved really going to make more of a difference to your business than a website that’s up and running all the time?
2. What Is Your Uptime Rate?
Uptime is how often a web hosting’s services are up and running. It’s the most basic performance indicator for reliability. This is why you’ll commonly see web hosting providers bragging about their uptime rates. You should accept no less than a 99.9% uptime rate. Anything less than this is an issue waiting to happen.
3. When Do Updates Happen?
Many web hosts will perform updates in the middle of the night to limit disruption when sites do have to come offline. But these days, only a catastrophe warrants this. The vast majority of updates can be performed behind the scenes without the need for any downtime.
Any updates that do happen should either happen in the background, or at the least disruptive time. The majority of web hosts have public policies on this, so their customer service teams should be able to answer this question.
4. What is the Setup of the Web Host’s Physical Infrastructure?
It’s easy to forget that web hosting is entirely reliant on physical hardware. Like with anything, physical hardware is always under threats from tampering, power cuts, and natural disasters. Ask your web host how they handle potential issues like this, and don’t accept a nonsense answer like “that would never happen”.
The perfect setup for a web host is to have multiple data centers over a wide geographic area. Some global web hosts even have data centers across different nations. Should one data center be put out of action for any reason, another system kicks in and there’s no downtime.
5. Do They Own the Infrastructure?
This is crucial. Sometimes you’re dealing with a web hosting provider that doesn’t have anything to do with the web hosting itself. They’re merely salespeople working on behalf of another company acting behind the scenes. Stay away from any company that isn’t responsible for its own infrastructure.
There’s no accountability should anything go wrong if you’re not dealing with the organization that runs the infrastructure.
6. How Do They Deal with Cyber Security?
The most common reason for downtime is getting hacked. A single hacker can destroy months, even years of hard work in a matter of minutes. You have a responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t happen. Your web hosting provider also has an obligation to ensure no cyber attackers get into your website via cPanel.
Ask the web hosting provider what they do to deter cyber attackers. One sign that a web hosting provider isn’t taking cyber security seriously is their website still has ‘http’ in front of it instead of ‘https.’ You should also ask how often they perform security updates, and how they impact the uptime of your website.
It’s unlikely you’re going to find out anything; however, you want to hear directly from the hosting provider. Do some digging and look at the reviews for a specific web hosting provider. If they have issues with cyber security, it won’t take long for this to become apparent.
7. Do They React Fast in a Crisis?
In a crisis your main contact point will be the customer support department. You should be able to contact this customer support department 24/7, and they should be competent at what they do. Before you choose a web hosting provider, you should contact the customer support team and ask them a few questions to ascertain how competent and responsive they are.
Customer support is a big part of navigating potential reliability issues.
Conclusion – Choosing the Right Web Hosting Provider
Choosing the right web hosting provider should be a priority. It’s the foundation of your online presence ,and getting it wrong can be crushing for your business. Ask these seven questions every time and you’ll find a web hosting provider that does their best by you.
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