Part of having a successful startup is ensuring that you have developed a strong web presence. In order to do this however, you must have a high quality website that draws the attention of your target audience. As such, one of the first steps to developing a company website would be to find the appropriate web hosting company.
Since there are literally hundreds of web hosting services out there, having a few guidelines to compare to would be beneficial. Below are some factors you should consider when choosing the best web hosting service provider.
Know What Your Hosting Needs Are
Before you can determine which web hosting service would be ideal for you, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of what it is you need. Some factors to consider include:
- The type of website you wish to create
- Special software you might need to have
- Types of additional services you might need (i.e. email accounts, ecommerce add-ons, etc).
Once you’ve gotten some idea of what your needs are as it pertains to your company website, you can begin looking into various web hosting services. The below factors should be considered when making a final decision:
1. Server Uptime
You want your website to be operational day and night. As such, you’ll want to work with a web hosting service that does not have too much downtime. A quality web host provider will have a stable network connection and powerful servers available. When looking into the various companies, be sure to check their uptime statistics. While you must leave room for error, it is ideal to work with a host that has a rating of at least 99%.
2. Domain Add-ons
When developing a website, you may want to have more than one domain name. Each domain name that you have will require a different hosting space. This is why it is extremely important to find a web host provider that allows you to add on domain names as you see fit. In general, most web hosting companies allow subscribers to have 25 additional domain names under one account.
3. Server Upgrades
For small business owners looking to really grow their website over the course of a year or so, they may want to consider looking into web hosting providers that allow room for growth. There are three types of web servers, shared, virtual private servers (VPS), and dedicated servers – you need to make sure which one suits your needs.
Another thing to consider is the specs of your web hosting provider’s servers. Are the specs (e.g. the type of the hard drive, the memory, etc. )suitable for the type of your startup website?
On their blog, web hosting service provider Arvixe gives a more in depth understanding of what VPS and dedicated servers do. Essentially, upgrading gives you more processing power, memory capacity, and storage space.
4. E-Commerce Features
If you’re running an e-commerce website then you’re probably going to be completing transactions online. You’ll want to subscribe to a web host that offers varying features to give your customers the best shopping experience possible. Some of those features might include shopping cart software, SSL certification, one click shopping cart, and a dedicated IP.
5. Email Accounts
Having an email account that coincides with your domain name is really beneficial. If you’re going to consider this option, you’ll want to work with a web host that offers the option for you to host your own email accounts. You will also want to know how many email accounts you are allowed under your subscription. This is particularly true if you plan to have a small staff as you’ll want to make sure everyone has their own email address to send and receive messages from.
6. Duration of the Hosting Subscription
Not many people consider this a factor, but you’d be surprised to find how many subscribers are stuck in a contract with a web host they’re not happy with. There are some web hosting companies that will offer an extremely low subscription rate in exchange for an extended contract of two to five years long. Being locked into an agreement can be troublesome if you’re not satisfied with the services you’re receiving. However, if you’re tight on funds and believe that going with a longer contract for a discount would benefit you; at least make sure there is a money back guarantee.
7. Site Backup
While you hope nothing ever happens to your site, there is always a risk. Should a hacker access your site and replace valuable information, or if there were issues with the server, all of your information could be lost. As such, you want to work with a web hosting provider that completes site backups on the regular basis. This way, should something go wrong, your web host can restore your website for you.
8. Easy to Use Controls
There is nothing worse than signing up for a web hosting service and having a terrible time in creating your website. You want to have a user friendly control panel so that you can easily create, edit, or update your site as you see fit. If you have a hard time locating tools and other resources, this slows down productivity and complicates your processes.
9. All Day Customer Support
A reputable web hosting company will provide you with 24/7 customer support. Whether it is by phone, email, or online chat, you need to be able to reach out to someone the very moment you need help.
Keep each of these factors in mind as you begin to search for the appropriate web hosting service provider. Be sure that you take your time in finding the best service provider to meet your needs. Ideally, you should compare at least three companies to ensure that you’re getting the best services for the value.
Photo credit: Mike Shelby / Flickr