I am often asked how to choose a good hosting company. With so many choices and especially in this economy, it is tempting to go for the cheapest. However, it may not always be the right choice for you. After all, you need a reliable hosting company to ensure uninterrupted service for your website and for you business.
Here are some things to consider:
- It is often prudent to ask the developer of your website for recommended hosting. Most web development companies offer hosting services or partner with hosting companies (For example, Intechnic offers virtual hosting and dedicated servers to all our customers and partners.) When developers work with a single hosting platform, they get used to it; they know it inside out, they know what’s needed for your website and things tend to be more efficient and stable.
- Another reason to get hosting from your web developer is because in case of problems you can always go to them to get things fixed, as opposed to getting a run-around when the hosting company says it is the web developer’s fault and the web developer says it is the hosting company’s fault.
- Check to make sure that the account you choose will work (is compatible) with your website. For example, is it the right operating system (Windows or Linux), does it the have the right scripting platform (PHP, Perl, .Net, etc), the right type of database (MySQL, MS SQL), etc. This is another thing that your web developer can help you with. Wrong version of the database can render your whole website useless.
- Make sure to know and understand what’s included in your hosting account. All accounts nowadays come with a database, e-mail accounts, statistics and many other bells and whistles. Don’t buy hosting that charges you separate fees for those. However, it is standard for hosting companies to include a fixed amount of storage space and bandwidth with your account. If you exceed these quotas you will have to pay overage fees or upgrade to a more expensive account. This is normal, just make sure to find out what the quotas and the fees are and that the account you choose will be sufficient for your website’s needs.
- Make sure you receive unrestricted access to your account’s Administrative Panel, FTP (to access your files), Database (to access your data), and e-mail services (so that you can create mailboxes and aliases). Also, make sure you get all the passwords in case you want to switch hosting!
- Check to see if the hosting provider has up uptime guarantee. Do they guarantee that your website will be up and running. What if it is not? For example, Intechnic offers 99.5% uptime guarantee or your money back.
- As with everything else, look around and as for recommendations.