Top Web Hosting Checklist
Evaluate website hosting
Finding the top web hosting provider to do business with is no easy task when you realize how many website hosting providers are out there. To make the process a bit (or hopefully a lot) easier on you, we've put together a checklist of 5 critical items to look at when you evaluate website hosting providers.
How much storage space and bandwidth do you get? These days a website requires a lot more bandwidth and storage space than it used to. Web 2.0 has transformed the internet and social networking and multimedia (including video and audio) are practically a necessity in order for a website to stay afloat. Any plan ranging in the megabytes (MB) is hardly going to suffice for more than a very small website. You'll need something more in the range of gigabytes (GB) to meet your needs.
You'll need more storage space because image and video files are much bigger than document files, and you'll need more bandwidth because you'll be trying to build a community of patrons, not just visitors. You're going to create ways for them to interact with the site and spend as much time as possible there - and that takes bandwidth. A good, safe way to go here is unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth, which is available in (almost) unlimited supply.
Do it offer the features you need? Finding the top web hosting provider is not just about finding the best all-around website hosting company for all people and businesses, because such a provider does not exist. Different providers would be considered the "top web hosting provider" for different companies. One of the most important ways to evaluate this is to identify the features you need. Do you plan to have a store on your site? Then you'll need a checkout counter. Do you want user forums (discussion groups)? Then you'll need the software to make that happen. And so on. Avoid having to pay extra to another company (or the same one!) for a feature missing from the website hosting plan you've selected.
What kind of security and reliability do they provide? Security is essential for a successful website. Without it, you might as well throw in the towel before you even get started. Because that's what you'd be doing if you neglected security and reliability when looking for the top web hosting company. Security includes many things - security of your data, security of the equipment storing that data, and security of the facility housing that equipment. Reliability is about one thing - is your site going to appear on people's display screens whenever they try to access your site?
What is the quality of customer support? This item includes two categories - the self-help customer support and assisted customer support. For self-help customer support, a top web hosting provider will have an abundance of FAQs, an extensive searchable knowledgebase and tutorials. For assisted customer support, you want to be able to reach a human being when you want to, the way you want to. If you're satisfied waiting for a reply to an email form, then this isn't much of an issue for you. But if you're like most people who want to talk to a person live (or at least type to them on live online chat), then make sure the website hosting companies you're considering have that. Then make sure their telephone and/or chat hours meld with your hours. If it's 24/7/365 of course, then you've got it made.
Is the price fair for what you're getting? Looking for the cheapest price on website hosting isn't going to do you any good. But all other things being equal - storage space and bandwidth, features, security and reliability, and customer support - then looking for the cheapest price among those top web hosting providers for you is the way to go.