How Do You Recognize A Reliable Web Host?
As a website owner you have to make a difficult choice. You'll want to pick a reliable web host to handle the technical processes of getting all your valuable web pages onto the internet where people can see them. So let's take a look at what a reliable hosting service really is.
What do you want from a reliable web host?
Start with the obvious things. First the host should look after your web pages. After all, you have invested a lot of time and probably more than just a little money.
Looking after your website suggests making sure it does not get deleted or corrupted in any way. That sounds like a simple, basic requirement. Any decent web host will undertake at least daily backups to prevent such catastrophes. On top of that you also should make frequent backups.
How long will your web host keep those backups? A reliable host will certainly keep a week's backups but it is probably not reasonable to expect them to keep anything older; that is up to you to do with your own backups.
Secondly, your websites should maintain a high level of uptime. That's the amount of time out of every year that your site can be seen online.
Some hosts boast of 100% uptime but that is very questionable. It is virtually impossible to guarantee that and you should be careful of such claims. In reality a reliable web host should be capable of giving you better than 98% and probably close to 100%.
Apart from data center problems causing downtime other things do occur outside of the data center such as telephone cables being damaged by highway maintenance contactors.
Thirdly, you would expect good support. However, support cost money so you have to pay for it. That does not usually mean you get an invoice for raising a support ticket. It just means that you will find reliable web hosts charge a sensible rate for their hosting services.
A lot of website owners think it is a good move to find a free or very cheap hosting service. If you want a reliable web host then you must be prepared to pay a reasonable rate for your hosting. Nobody can offer a reliable service without income to fund it.
A guide to picking a web hosting company
That gives you an indication of the basic things you should expect. Now we should consider some of the less obvious things that you need to be aware of. These tips will help you to make a better informed decision and help you to find the right web hosting company for your websites.
Apart from the three basic things discussed above you should get a general indication of how reliable other people consider a host to be. The easiest way to do that is to take a look at their reputation on social media sites.
You will see how their existing, and possibly previous, customers have either enjoyed or hated working with a host. You will discover both praise and complaint which should help to guide your choice.
A lot of praise will be good but a lot of complaint will be a warning signal. You will see how good their products and service are. Does the level of service look commensurate with their hosting fees?
Social media will give you as near as possible an up to date picture. What is happening today gets reported today. It's customers making the comments and not just some publicity organization or sales operation working for the hosting company. You will see how the host works with its customers.
Various hosting products are available from most hosting suppliers. Different hosting packages have differing costs and are published up front.
For many new or small online businesses a simple hosting service from a good host will suffice. That will not cost a lot of money. In time you might have expanding requirements and a reliable host will give you the opportunity to move to a bigger package or product. That will entail a higher cost.
Some web hosts offer a wide range of optional extra tools and if they are useful to you then they will increase your fees. Other web hosts include a wide range of tools within the basic fees.
All that is quite transparent. Less obvious are things like the typical false or misleading claims seen all over the internet. You need to understand these claims:
Unlimited web hosting
This is a sales promise that will almost certainly not give you what it suggests. Somewhere in the terms and conditions there will be an explanation of exactly what the supplier means by "unlimited".
Without a defined explanation a web host would be in a situation where people could abuse the service. They might, for example, store masses of data on the servers which is not what is intended.
You will also come across such promised benefits as unlimited domains, unlimited emails, unlimited FTP accounts and various other things you should look carefully into.
World class support
That's what you want. Will you get it? Your social media checks should have given you a guide but take a look and see if they offer live chat for those difficult problems. Or is everything reduced to email communication? Emails are great for most support requests but at some time you might need live chat.
Does their website really make clear explanations of what you will get from the support team? Or is it just a one sentence statement that they have "world class support"?
Understand what your hosting company provides
Many web hosts offer a short period for $1 or even free so that you can test the service. Never let that be the determining factor in your choice.
The period will be far too short to give you a meaningful experience. Even if the test period is one month some problem could occur one day after the end of the month. Also the small amount saved during the test period is insignificant in the wider picture of web hosting costs.
So, think carefully about what is being offered. Is it realistic? Does it give you what you want? Is the price reasonable for what you are getting?
Take a look at their terms and conditions to see if there are any hidden terms that conflict with their sales promises. Are they up front and transparent with good explanations of exactly what you are getting? Is everything well explained in clear English or whatever language you are using.
If so, then you will probably have found a most reliable web host where you could confidently store your web pages. You can now make an informed choice.