how to select a web host,

What to look for when choosing a web host


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How to choose a web host

One of the critical elements of any website is not how good the site looks, or how well done the search engine optimisation is performed. These aspects are totally irrelevant if your site cannot even be found because your web host is unreliable, or if it loads so slowly that people leave before there is anything to see.

This means knowing how to choose a web hosting company is of key importance to your online business. 

When choosing a web host is important to consider that your web host is, in a way a business partner. While they may be a supplier, the direct influence of their service performance will directly impact on your business.

The impact that your web host has on your business is more involved than you may think, so lets run through some aspects of what to look for when choosing a web host.

  1. Uptime. The most obvious is uptime. There is no excuse as to why any web host should not be able to deliver 99.9% uptime.

  2. Downtime duration. While it may be 99.9% uptime, but this will do you no good if the .1% downtime is for several hours during the busy periods for your online business.

  3. Backup frequency. How often do they backup their servers. If you are using an online web editing tool this is essential. Of course you always backup your files on your hard drive, don't you!

  4. Customer support. One of the hidden aspects of being a good web host is providing great, timely customer support. This needs to be 24/365. It need not be via phone. Live chat or email support is just as good and in many ways is better because it provides a thread for when issues need to be upgraded to higher support levels. Email support should provide almost immediate responses for urgent matters, and within 10-15 minutes for low priority.

  5. Help files and documentation. Jumping onto the web host's support desk to help you with every aspect of your web hosting means the support section can be spending valuable time dealing with easy issues covered in documentation. Good documentation, tutorials and even video are important aspects when looking at a long-term web host partner.

  6. Price. Price of web hosting is important, but not as important as some of the previously mentioned aspects. There is a direct relationship between price and value, and often a ridiculously cheap web hosting price is not good value. Of course price has to be reasonable, so look at the inclusions that you get for your monthly hosting fee.

    Inclusions can be:

    1. The number of domains or sub-domains that can be created

    2. The number of SQL databases

    3. Email management tools - The number and ease of management of email address creation, including auto responders and spam blocking.

    4. Quality site statistics - at least have Awstats. 

    5. What other scripts are included and if these are virtually auto-install

  7. Upgrading. There is nothing worse than growing your website and finding that the amount of space you took up is now not enough. The ability to upgrade to a higher level package should be easy and painless. Not only extra space, but also extra data traffic allowances as your internet business grows to dizzying heights!

  8. Site management tools. Depending on your technical ability many site management tools can be very useful. At a minimum your host should provide access to manage:

    • Changing your password

    • File manager

    • Manage redirects

    • Customisation of error pages

    • Backup

More advanced users will need:

  • Cron jobs

  • Mysql and Myphp Admin access

  • Apache handlers

Our recommendation on selecting a web host

We have worked with a number of business over the past 8 years and today we have all of our websites and have moved most of our clients over to HostforWeb. Why? Because from our experience they provide the best service at a very reasonable cost. Remember price comes at a cost and a lower price does not always equal better value. So from $4.95 per month, HostforWeb is our choice.



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