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7 Questions to Ask to Make Sure You’re Selecting a Reliable Web Hosting Provider

7 Questions to Ask to Make Sure You’re Selecting a Reliable Web Hosting Provider

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.

As CEO Tony Messer from PickaWeb states, “Nowadays you are spoiled with choices, and hosting costs have become almost inconsequential for most businesses.”

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?

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Featured photo credit: Pexels / Startup Stock Photos via pexels.com

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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