Choosing the right web host for your online business can take a lot research. Not knowing where to start can cause you to spend hours online looking for the right solution. Options are plenty and most likely there is a web host that is perfect for what you need.
If you are just starting your first blog than the cheapest option with the best support may suit you. If you are planning to build an online store or a membership website you may want to choose the web host with the best reputation for up-time.
Here are a few common things people look for in their web host:
- The server up-time record – How reliable are they? How much downtime have websites on their server incurred over the past 30, 90, 365 days etc.?
- Quality of Support – Is there a real person available 24/7? Are they enthusiastic on the phone and eager to help? Do they have videos, articles and downloads to help with common issues?
- Price – How does this company’s plan compare to others offering the same space and bandwidth? Is their renewal rate become really high after the introductory term is over?
- Reputation – What are people saying on message boards on sites like Webhostingtalk.com? What about the people that you know that have web sites? What are their experiences with other web hosting providers?
- Features – Do they offer anything extra like email accounts, ftp access, free backups etc.?
Those are good starting points to look at for comparison but most web hosts around are strong in those five areas, especially the most popular ones.
But I want to dig a little deeper. In this report you are going to discover my not so common things to look for when choosing a web host that you may not have previously considered:
1. E-Commerce Capability
If you are looking to build an online store, two things need to be true about your web hosting environment.
1) An IP address with a secure connection so that your customers’ credit card information is safe (your web host should provide SSL certificates to resolve this) and
2) The ability to easily install a comprehensive shopping cart solution like OpenCart or Magento.
It is now standard for web hosting providers to provide one-click installation of dozens of apps for you to install to your server to create an e-commerce website with.
How much traffic do you plan on getting every month three years from now? Will you be storing a lot of files on your server in the future but you haven’t gotten to that point yet? Will you want to one day be able to start a web site backup business or build an online app?
Your web host should offer the flexibility to upgrade to different levels of service to fit your data needs. The last thing you’d want is to have to migrate your website or websites to another web host because your current one doesn’t offer more than a shared hosting environment.
3. Domain Parking
There is a lot of money still to be made in buying and selling domains. They are cheap to buy if not already owned and all you need is a web host that you can “park” them at. It is quite common for web hosts to allow the parking of 10. 50 and even unlimited domains.
On the other hand there are some out there that will only allow one domain so be mindful and check and see how many domains you are allowed to park. Domains kept parked are money in the bank!
4. Environmental Friendliness
According to a study, the average server uses 1000 kWh of energy, producing over 632kg of CO2 per year! That sounds crazy! If you are like me, the thought of being a part of that much damage being done to the environment would make my stomach turn.
Fortunately, there are a lot of web hosting companies (like Alavon Hosting) that offer Greener environmentally friendly solutions. Aiso.net, a company out of southern California is one of the few truly green data centers in the US. Their facilities are solar, air and wind powered!
As I mentioned in the article about ‘Web Hosting and Domain Basics’ , ‘unlimited’ disk space is never really unlimited. If you narrowed your search down to two companies but Company A doesn’t offer unlimited hosting and Company B does. With all of the image and music sharing sites that allow you to store your assets for free (Soundcloud, YouTube and Picasa for example), you may never even come close to any limits to your disk space.
I personally would give Company A the edge because of its transparency. I’ve had websites go down because I went over the unlimited bandwidth limit! It wasn’t until I read the terms of service that I found out that my usage was limited to ‘reasonable’ activity.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of web hosts down to a couple, you may want to read over their ToS just to see what fine print may have been missing from their advertisements!!!