Choosing good web hosting
Good web hosting is a really vital part of the success of your website. I’ve used several hosting companies over the years and I’ve found there are some key things to look out for.
It’s worth remembering that paying for professional hosting is an investment in your website and your business. Don’t be seduced by cheap hosting because it’s often slow and unreliable and if you run into problems you can find yourself spending a lot of time trying to put things right.
Good secure hosting gives your website a really solid foundation for success. To start with it’s worth looking out for web hosting that proactively guards and scans against malware and viruses.
An SSL certificate is another good way to tighten up security on your website. These certificates give people confidence when using your website especially when they’re entering personal details into forms.
Secure certificates have always been an essential part of e-commerce sites and now Google recommends their use on all websites. They often come included as part of a professional web hosting package so you shouldn’t need to pay for one. Here’s another more detailed post about SSL certificates.
Regular website backups should be standard on all professional hosting. I remember an incident a few years ago when a popular hosting company lost a large number of websites and incredibly they didn’t have backups. As you can imagine this left a lot of businesses in a real mess.
Even if your hosting company offers regular backups it’s worth taking a copy of your own and storing it safely on your computer or in a cloud based service like Dropbox. How often you do a website backup will depend on how frequently you add new content to your website.
You should be able to perform a backup through your hosting control panel or by installing a plug-in or app into your content management system.
No matter how good your web hosting is you’ll occasionally need to turn to someone for help so having access to a good support department is essential.
Find out how easy it is to contact the support department. What are their operating hours and how quickly are they likely to respond to your enquiry? You should be able to find independent reviews of most hosting companies online and that could give you an idea about how good they actually are.
Over the years I’ve found that the smaller, independent hosting companies are the best at support and it’s usually what sets them apart from the big guys who advertise on TV.
Server speed is a really important factor in choosing a hosting company. If you can shave seconds off your website’s loading time through the hosting you use it’ll make a huge difference to your online success.
Google loves fast websites so as well as keeping your visitors happy having a fast site can also help to improve your search ranking.
Some of the cheaper hosting companies tend to cram lots of websites onto a single server and that can often result in performance issues.
So I’d say that security, support and speed are the key things to look for in a good hosting company.
Be careful if the hosting seems to be ridiculously cheap and check whether you get a free SSL certificate as part of the package.