Website hosting is essential for every website on the internet. It ensures that people can access your site, is a large factor in website performance and can be one of the biggest causes of heartache. Below are a few things to consider when looking at your hosting services.
Contrary to belief, not every website host runs really fast. For example, the website host for a large bank is normally much larger and faster than a standard website hosting service. This is because the banking website needs to service thousands of people every minute, whereas a smaller business may only need to service 20 people a day.
Common factors affecting website performance are:
– Disk size and speed. Faster is better.
– Network (I/O) speed. This is the rate at which data can be sent for website requests.
– RAM size. Complex websites, especially those with databases, can require a lot of RAM.
Having website hosting that is amazing all day, every day, is not always possible. Different providers will have different amounts of time that the website hosting will run as expected. The industry term for this call “uptime”. Uptime is the amount of time that a website is expected to be available and working without an issue. You will find that most website hosting providers will offer 98% uptime or higher which means that the server is available 98% of the time.
98% of the time might sound like a great deal, however, you should consider that this means the website is expected to be unavailable 2 minutes out of every 100 minutes. Over the course of the year, this can add up to over 7 days that your website is unavailable which is horrible if your business is based entirely online.
We suggest that you use a web host which offers 99.9% uptime. This means that you can expect that the website is only unavailable for 1 minute in every 1000 minutes. This is a much better deal as you can expect your website to be unavailable for only a few hours each year.
Let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes. On top of this, there are events which are out of your control, including automatic updates (which don’t go perfectly to plan) and malicious acts. If something does go wrong, you want to ensure you can get your website back up and running as soon as possible. This is where a backup service is great.
Backups can range from an optional extra on your service, to storing years worth of backups. We suggest that you pick a provider with a months worth of backups, however, consider which backup solution is best for you.
Remember that backups are not a guaranteed recovery of your data, but are another level of protection against data loss.
Does your provider offer phone support if you are having issues? This may sound like a simple thing but is actually starting to become harder to come by with some providers. Ensure that you can contact your provider at a time and in a method that suits you.
Expensive is not always best. You need to consider if what you’re paying for is what you need. For example, if you’re paying for extra backups, training sessions and after hours support, but you’re not using it, then you may be paying too much.
Check your options and different packages by each provider to ensure you are picking one that suits you.
LENGTHS OF SERVICE
Check the minimum length of service for each hosting provider. Having a contract-free arrangement may work if you want to test out the hosting and see if it’s the right solution for you.
However, you can often save a lot of money by using annual or bi-annual contracts. If the hosting company knows you’re not going anywhere, then they can often provide more competitive pricing.
Some websites have pretty complicated requirements. Commonly you can expect your website to require a database, the ability to send emails and support PHP. Talk to your website developer and ask them what hosting requirements your website will need. Often they will be able to point you in the right direction and will have hosting options available to suit.