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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 July 29, 2020

19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

1. Todoist

    Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

    Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

    If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

    Download: Todoist

    2. 1Password

      You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

      1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

      You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

      Download: 1Password

      3. Bear

        Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

        It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

        Download: Bear

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        4. Hazel

          Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

          For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

          Download: noodlesoft

          5. Alfred

            Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

            For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

            It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

            Download: Alfred

            6. TextExpander

              TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

              For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

              An individual account is $3.33 per month.

              Download: TextExpander

              7. Backblaze

                If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                Download: Backblaze

                8. Keyboard Maestro

                  Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                  Download: Keyboard Maestro

                  9. Snagit

                    There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                    Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                    10. Bartender

                      Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                      If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                      Download: Bartender

                      11. Otter

                      Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                      Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                      Download: Otter

                      12. Flux

                        Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                        Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

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                        Download: Flux

                        13. PDFpen

                        If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                        PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                        Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                        14. OmniFocus

                          OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                          It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                          A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                          Download: OmniFocus

                          15. Franz

                            It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                            Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                            Download: Franz

                            16. MindNode

                              If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                              The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                              Download: MindNode

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                              17. Focus

                                The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                Download: Focus

                                18. CleanMyMac

                                  Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                  Download: CleanMyMac

                                  19. Grammarly

                                    A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                    This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                    A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                    Download: Grammarly

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                    Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                    More to Boost Productivity

                                    Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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