8 things to know when choosing a hosting provider

So you decided to do your own business. As you embark on setting up your business, you would want to build your website to announce to the world of your presence.

One of the decisions you have to make is to choose a hosting provider.

With so many hosting providers in the market, you will be spoilt for choice on which web hosting vendor to go with.

While finances are always crucial for a budding business, you should, however, not make it a primary consideration when selecting a hosting provider.

Below are some noteworthy considerations to help you in your selection process.

#1 Audience

One of the critical questions you need to ask yourself is – where are the bulk of your website audience?

Ideally, your hosting provider should be in the same country, if not in the same city, as your audience. Why is having the web host provider near to your audience important?

With a webserver closer to your site visitors and not having to make travel a longer distance, the round trip time for the webserver to download the web pages will be quicker.

If your audience is located in multiple areas, you would want to work with a vendor who has web servers in those locations too.

#2 cPanel

The term “cPanel’ is short for “control panel”.

As its name implies, it is an application that allows you to manage and control your website and allocated disk space.

The cPanel is where you will set up domains, install the desired Content Management System (CMS), configure emails, and other activities to get you going.

The cPanel is something you would have to familiarize yourself with as you manage your website and emails.

While the cPanel is a de facto standard with most providers, you might just want to confirm it with the hosting provider. Some hosting providers like to customize it or enhance the cPanel.

It is best to go with the standard cPanel. Do ask your hosting provider to share a screenshot of the cPanel if you can.

Why is this important?

Having a standard cPanel is vital as it allows you to easily navigate the interface. With once glance, you know where the respective icons are, and if it is missing, you can quickly notice it.

With a customized new cPanel interface, you would have to familiarize yourself with it. If, after using it for some time, you discover the panel is missing a function as a staging area. You might regret using that web hosting provider.

#3 Content management system

One thing you don’t want to take for granted is the CMS you are planning to use. After all, this is where you will be spending most of your time.

If you are planning to use WordPress, you want to confirm whether your hosting provider supports it. Similarly, if you prefer to use a CMS like Weebly, you would likewise wish to verify your web host provider supports it.

You don’t’ want a rude shock after signing up with a hosting provider and realize they do not support the CMS you are planning to use.

#4 SSL Setup

SSL is fast becoming a requirement for all websites as search engines seek to improve web security over the web. A website that does not have the secure HTTPS protocol will have a lower search result ranking over one that has.

With some hosting provider, SSL functionality could come at an additional cost, while with others, it could be part of the hosting plan. If it is the former, you want to confirm what is the cost of the SSL.

Also, do check how easy it would be to install the SSL certificates. Will they help you with the installation? If not, is there an easy to follow guide to get you going?

#5 Disk space

Most web host providers have different hosting plans with a different set of features. One of them is disk space. The plan you eventually choose will be influenced by it.

Before you look at the various hosting plans, you would want to have some idea of how much disk space you might require.

Besides hosting your website, most web host providers also allow you to host your emails.

If you decide to host your emails with the same provider, it will consume some disk space. Assuming you have three people in your team. If you allocated 2GB (assuming 2GB is enough) to each user, you would have used up 6GB of disk space. Beyond the users, you would also have generic emails like an “enquiry email“, a “privacy email” and/or “marketing email”. Assuming 2GB is enough between them. In total, you would then require 8GB just for emails.

#6 Number of emails & websites

Another significant limitation is the number of email addresses and websites you can set up under each plan. If a basic plan has a limit of 3 email addresses, and you have a business with four active partners, you would minimally require a plan that can support four email addresses.

Similarly, with the number of websites, you plan to have.  

These are factors you need to be aware of when choosing a suitable plan.

#7 Support

Support is a major consideration, more so than pricing itself. Though it is not apparent in any of the hosting plans, you will come to understand its significance as you run into issues.

As you manage your website, there is a good chance you would need some technical support from your service provider. For instance, as you or your webmaster has no access to the web server itself, you would need their assistance to take some action on the webserver on your behalf.

During such times, their timely response is critical in resolving issues quickly. You do not want to have to

A website is a public-facing thing. If there are any discrepancies or malfunctions on it, you would want to fix it quickly and wait for a few days to get things fixed. You do not wish your issues to be discovered by the public and your potential customers.

Hence do check with your hosting provider on their service level. You can validate it on third-party review sites for their support quality.

#8 Price

Finally, price, a matter that concerns all business owners.

The price, though in itself, is an important criterion, it should, however, never be a primary consideration. It should instead be the last criteria to consider, as there are more significant factors than price.

Things like quality customer service are priceless as it would impact you when your website is not working well.

Not sure about the above, do drop us a line if you need further assistance.

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