Whether you opt to go with a free web hosting service or one that requires payment, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the package that best meets your needs and the demands of your customers, clients, or readership.
But if you don’t know what to look for, you may be inclined to pick a web host based solely on what they charge (or don’t charge), or you might wind up paying too much for useless extras like unlimited space that you’ll never use.
So whether you’re looking to launch your first website or you want to find a service that is better than the one you currently use, here are just a few traits you’ll want to consider when you start your search for a great web host.
1. Guaranteed uptime: Reliability is the number one trait you want in a web host. You cannot run a successful website if you’re constantly worrying about whether or not your customers can access your pages. So look for a host that offers high guaranteed uptime – like 99%. No one can offer 100% simply because they will likely have to shut down for maintenance, upgrades, and so on every once in a while. But you should also seek a service provider that puts their money where their mouth is with guarantees on uptime and recompense should you suffer service interruptions beyond scheduled downtime.
2. Speed: Both bandwidth and data transfer can play a role in how your customers access your site. Bandwidth has to do with the amount of traffic you can support, and this is based either on the capabilities of your web host or the artificial limits they impose on your site. Either way, exceeding a set bandwidth could result in a failure of your site, although if the host is limiting usage, they are more likely to bill you for overages than shut you down. As for speed of data (how quickly pages load), that is determined by your host’s network connection.
3. Space: You may not need a lot of space now for your content, but that could change over time, so look for a web host that has options for upgrading if you end up needing more space down the road.
4. Zero ads: Okay, so you’re probably only going to have to deal with ads on your site if you opt for a free web hosting service. But believe it or not, there are free options out there that don’t include ads; you just might have to do some homework to find them. And of course, you can always go with a paid service if you want to ensure that nobody else is posting ads on your website.
5. Tech support: This is the feature that most people consider last, but it is still important. You don’t want to find yourself facing questions or concerns about your website with no means of getting the answers you need. And if you’re facing a situation like a blackout or data loss of some type, you definitely want to be able to contact your service provider for answers and assurances that the issue will be hastily rectified.
Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for Website Host Review, where you can browse the top small business web hosting companies to find the one that’s right for you.