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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 February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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