So you have designed your website and have come up with a domain name. Now it’s time to register the domain and get your website online. To do that, you will need a server. Technically, you can buy a server, but it costs a lot of money to purchase and maintain, obviously. Therefore, only large companies usually have their own servers. As the owner of a small business or personal website, you will have to rent server space from a web host.
There are different types of web hosting packages that you can purchase. The cheapest and most commonly available is shared hosting. If your site attracts significant amounts of traffic, then you can spend a bit more on dedicated, VPS, or cloud hosting. Regardless of the type of web host you choose, there are certain essential things that you should quiz the provider about. Here is a list of important questions to ask when choosing a hosting service provider:
What is the Uptime Guarantee?
The uptime is how often your site is online. You would want your site to be online all the time, of course. But, no hosting provider can guarantee 100 percent uptime. If a company does so, then it’s a good indication that you should avoid that provider. However, the higher the uptime is, the better the company is. Ideally, you should choose a provider that offers an uptime guarantee over 99.98 percent of the time. A guarantee over 99 percent is generally considered really good. But do not choose a provider that doesn’t offer an uptime guarantee or has one below 95 percent.
What is the Total Monthly Cost?
When a provider advertises the service, you will see a monthly price listed. Make sure there is no asterisk next to the price. Some only show a minimal average price, so what you end up paying would cost more. It’s important to note that if your purchase additional services, this monthly fee would be higher. For example, if you want RAID security software on the servers to protect your site from hackers, some providers may charge an extra fee for that. Therefore, it’s important to know the total monthly costs after calculating in all the additional service charges. Don’t buy without knowing this because you don’t want to end up in a situation where you are unable to afford the service.
How Secure is the Data Centre?
The data centre is the place where all the servers of the provider are located. This centre should be highly secure so no one can physically get inside and sabotage a server. Hackers are not the only security threat to websites. Also, you should know where the data centre your server is at is located. If the server is physically close to your users, like in Sydney to cater to an Australian audience, then the service would be faster.
Is Customer Support Available?
This is extremely important. The provider will be responsible for maintaining the server and also offering technical expertise when you need it. If you are experiencing issues with your website, you should be able to immediately call the provider and make sure nothing is wrong on their side. There’s little point in spending money on a provider that doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support. Read reviews about the provider to learn about how good the customer support service is.
Now, don’t buy a hosting package from any provider without asking the above questions first.