Imagine you make a good website and start attracting good number of visitors. You are happy seeing the website stats shoot up and all of a sudden your site goes down for no reason. Such down times are common on poor web hosting companies and usually resumes without you having to contact the support but you will lose the momentum you have built and also this creates a really bad impression of your brand and your website.
How much website downtime is acceptable?
There is no right answer for this. However you should know that it is not possible for a Web Hosts to have 0% downtime. A good web hosting company will guarantee 99.9% uptime (0.1% downtime) but don’t just go by their words and do some research on the internet forums and see what others have to say about the web host company.
UptimeRobot is a service that you can use if you want to monitor a web host. I haven’t tried it yet so if you have please leave a comment below and share with everyone. You can also do google search with the keyword “uptime”.
If your web hosting company name is Ooblahost, try search “Ooblahost uptime” without the quotes of course.
Things to check when buying a Web Hosting
The first thing one should look for in a Web Host is performance. If the web host is not able to do what it is expected to do then it’s just waste of money no matter how many good features it has. Make sure your web host meets the requirements of your web site project and supports the software you wish to use on your website without any problem. Otherwise the site will not perform or it will under perform.
These days Web Hosting companies offer many features and tries to sell on them but there are a few main features you should look for. Here is a quick checklist of features you should look for:
✔ User Friendly Control Panel
The most widely used and user friendly control panels are cPanel for Linux hosting and Plesk for Windows Hosting. The advantage of having a user friendly control panel like cPanel and Plesk is not only to ease your work but also to get help easily when things go wrong.
cPanel and Plesk are used by most web hosting companies and because of its popularity you will find a lot of people talking about it on discussion forums etc. hence getting help will be much easier.
✔ Backup Feature
Most of the popular web hosting companies offer a one click backup of your entire website but it’s important you check with them before buying. Having an easy backup feature is very useful and important.
Most of us know how important this is but tend to ignore it eventually and only when things go wrong we realize it which often times is too late. So please remember to backup your entire site once you are done with the development of your website.
✔ 24/7 Customer Care
Having a 24/7 customer care support will give you a peace of mind.
✔ 1 Click Install
With one click install software such as Fantastico and QuickInstall, you can install WordPress or plenty of other software with just a few clicks. The one click install method is not very popular among web developers because of security concerns but having this feature is always a big plus especially for beginners since it saves you a lot of time and make installing wordpress and other software a breeze.
Ok you bought a cool domain name and web hosting space from a good company; created a great website and people are flocking in. The visitors are growing exponentially and suddenly your site goes down because it cannot handle the load. Yes, every hosting plan you buy has limitations no matter what they say (unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space or whatever).
In this situation you will have to upgrade your web hosting plan (to a VPS or Dedicated server) but what if your web hosting company doesn’t have a bigger better web hosting plan like a VPS or Dedicated server?
You will have to move to another hosting company and it may turn out to be a daunting task. So it is important to check if your web hosting company offers VPS or Dedicated server plans if you expect your website to grow.
Reliability can be defined in terms of uptime and data security. I have already discussed on Uptime at the beginning of this post under the heading – “How much website downtime is acceptable?”
Reliability: Data Security
While downtime can affect the reputation of your business/website and cause inconvenience but what if one day you wake up in the morning only to find that your website is gone, just gone!!
Your web hosting company writes to you apologetically stating they lost data of many websites including yours. This is very rare nowadays but it’s not impossible.
Having a 24/7 customer care means someone will always there to talk to when there is a problem with your web hosting. If a web hosting customer care is available only between 9AM to 5PM and worse still if it is available only on weekdays then its a big NO.
Chat, Forum and ticketing system
Apart from 24/7 you may also want to check if they have chat support, ticketing system and forum support. This is often useful when the wait time on phone support is too high and you can’t wait.
Having different channels to contact customer care gives you the freedom to contact them when you want it and how you want it. Also it is very possible that someone has already faced the issue that you are having and you can find the solution on their forum.
Value for Money
After studying all the features and what not, at the end of the day it all boils down to one thing – money. Compare web hosting companies and shortlist a few that meets all your requirements and then at last check their pricing. If one is unreasonably then most probably there is something fishy about the deal. Compare the plans/deals carefully and make a decision.
If you are interested in VPS or a dedicated server and are just starting off, I suggest you to take a shared hosting first. In most circumstances it will be good enough to do the job. And when the site starts to grow, you can think of upgrading to a VPS.
Remember having a VPS will not make your website faster if you have a small website with small number of visitors. VPS and dedicated servers are useful only when the website is big and attracting a huge number of visitors.
Well, it may be interesting to learn these small technicalities and gauge your web host on it but if you want to play safe and not spend time studying and researching on web hosting companies then you should go with reputed and popular web hosting companies like Hostgator or Bluehost. These web hosting companies have very good reputation and have all the features that we discussed.
If you want to get discounts on hostgator hosting then use the following codes when purchasing
Coupon Code – shangrila25 will give you 25% OFF on your total bill amount
Coupon Code – shangrila9 will give you $9.95 OFF on your total bill amount
I hope this post was informative. Feel free to share your experiences below.