All businesses, big or small, need a website. While developing the website, most site owners focus on aspects like content creation, backlinks, sitemaps, design, mobile-first index, etc. One important aspect that often goes overlooked is web hosting. A web host is the home of your website and can make a measurable difference in your site’s performance, speed, and uptime. Hence, it is important to choose a web host who understands your website’s requirements and offers features that can help you manage and grow your business. Today, we will look at five things that you must look for in your web hosting package.
Maximum Uptime Assurance
Uptime, in simple words, is the percentage of time that your website is available. A high uptime implies that the site visitors will find your website online more often than not. A website that is intermittently down can dent your brand’s reputation and also impact your site’s search engine rankings.
Depending on the type of hosting you choose (Shared, Dedicated, VPS, Cloud Hosting, etc.) the uptime assurances can vary. However, given the competitive nature of the market, try to look for a host who assures at least 99.9% uptime. Roughly, this translates to around 8.8 hours of downtime in a year or nearly 1.44 minutes in a day.
If you are on a hosting plan wherein your website resides on a physical server like Shared, Dedicated Hosting, etc., then you might want to pay special attention to the location of the datacentre. Ideally, it should be geographically close to the location from where you get the majority of your site visitors. If not, then it might affect the load speed of your website.
On the other hand, for Cloud Hosting providers in India, the location is not important since your website is housed on multiple servers.
Apart from the location, you can also check if the host employs a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and/or caching servers (like Varnish Cache) to improve the page load speeds.
Some Other Important Features
Backups: Website data is critical and should be secure at all costs. While most hosting providers deploy the latest security measures, it is always advisable to have your website’s backup in place. This ensures that in case of an emergency, you can restore the data in no time. Many hosts offer automatic backups either free or for a cost.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Both users and search engines like a website secured with an SSL certificate. Also known as HTTPS – HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, it is simple HTTP with SSL. It is important to ascertain that the hosting provider offers SSL.
Different hosting types: Typically, a new website starts with a Shared Hosting plan since the customers are few and they are testing the waters. As the business grows, the website needs a more reliable and fast host like that offered by Dedicated Hosting or Cloud Hosting plans. While this switch is natural in the course of a business, if your hosting provider offers different hosting types, you don’t have to switch the provider and the hosting plan at the same time.
Reviews can tell you a lot about a host. Remember, you must be careful about two types of reviews:
- Self-promotional reviews done by the host
- Reviews that are only talking about negative aspects without any mention of the positive features
Users typically tend to write reviews when they have a truly bad experience. Hence, it is important to find those which specify the pros and cons of the features offered by the host.
Even with the best host, there are times when you face technical obstacles while managing your website. At such times, having a 24×7 support team to help you overcome these obstacles can be a blessing. Ensure that the host takes post-sales-service seriously.
Before you start looking for a web host, spend some time to assess your website’s requirements and shortlist the features that you require from the host. Once you are clear about this, follow the tips mentioned above and find the best web hosting provider for your site. Good Luck!