10 Things To Look For When Searching For A Suitable Web Hosting Provider

Thursday 9 October 2008

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1. Support

With hosting being a specialised area within the IT industry, after sales support offered should to be second to none. Your business relies on a hosting provider to be pro-active and ready in the event of a disaster. Support is considered the number one underlying factor that digitises a good hosting provider among its competitors. Do your research before making a decision.

2. Guarantees

What promises does your hosting provider make?

A service level agreement should always be in place for bigger orders including dedicated servers. Read into the small print and find out exactly what is offered if the provider fails to deliver the promised service.

3. Flexibility

Assess how flexible the provider is from the initial contact, as your business grows requirements could change. You do not want to be stuck with a provider that can’t meet the demands of your business. Seek a provider that goes that extra mile to stretch to meet your requirements. Ask questions about services that are not listed on the website to assess how flexible a hosting provider is.

4. Relationship

For large hosting requirements a personal service is essential to ensure a good business relationship is maintained. In the event of an emergency you will need to know who to contact, who is able to deal with your query effectively with the quickest response. Ensure your provider will contact you regularly and provides a personal contact.

5. Infrastructure

Data centre infrastructure should consist of a solid setup able to cope with extreme situations from natural disasters to intruders. Equipment should be in place to protect the data centre environment with procedures supporting it. It’s important to ask about infrastructure before committing to a critical hosting service.

6. Reputation

Moving to a new hosting provider and assessing a company is not always an easy task. Research can help identify any major problems and quickly rule out companies from being suitable. Search for awards received and use recommendations on hosting comparison websites, avoid companies with a big name but a bad reputation.

7. Location

Not only is the location important to ensure the quickest connection, search engines actually use the physical location of your website as a determining factor to the listing position within the search results. And, find out if the support team are located at the same location as the data centre, support agents should always have physical access to each and every server.

8. Scalability

With any service that’s likely to change, its important to seek information about options available within the near future. Ensure there are no hidden costs when changing services. Is the company able to cope with your requirements in case of rapid expansion?

9. Features

Hosting packages always come bundled with a specific set of features, ensure you have exactly what you need before committing to a package. Be specific with your requirements and allow the company to recommend a hosting plan. The more information you provide about your business will make it easier for the company to determine exactly what is suited.

10. Cost

Cutting costs is important to all businesses, although you should always invest comparatively. You may pay a much larger cost later on if your hosting service is not suitable. Assess your own business and measure how important a web presence is to your business. Watch out for offers that seem too good to be true, as they usually are.

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