When you are researching web hosting companies there are a few important things you should keep an eye out for. Price is obviously an important decider when it comes to choosing a web hosting company but there are more important features that you should factor in. Do you know what features you really need?
One of the most important decisions you will have to make when beginning a website is choosing a hosting company. It can be a tough decision to make. There are a lot of companies offering hosting services and each one advertises they are the best. They each promise unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth, 0% downtime, ease of use and 24/7 technical support.
How in the world are you supposed to know which one to believe? How can you make sense of all the technical mumbo-jumbo in all that advertising?
Ten Must Have Features Web Hosting Companies Should Offer You
Let’s take a look at what you really need from a web host. Once you know that, choosing the best web hosting company to fit your needs will be a breeze.
cPanel Control Panel
One of the most crucial features to evaluate is the control panel. You will control your websites from here. There are certain things you need to be able to do yourself like setting up an email account, installing WordPress, backing up your sites, and more. In order to do these easily, even if you don’t have a technical bone in your body, you need an easy to understand and easy to use control panel. One of the best is cPanel.
It is very easy to use cPanel. Being able to handle most of the maintenance your website needs yourself instead of waiting for technical support will save you time and allow you to concentrate of growing your website. Think about it. Do you really want to wait 24 hours for a new email account to be set up, when you can set it up yourself in less than 5 minutes? Your web hosting company needs to provide a simple and easy to use control panel, like cPanel. It lets all the routine maintenance you website needs to be performed quickly and efficiently.
1-Click Script Installation
A good hosting company will offer a 1 click auto installer for many popular programs. Some web platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal can be complicated to install, especially for beginners. For example, to install WordPress, you have to install the blog software, then create a database, then link the database to the blog software, etc.
With a program like Fantastico you don’t have to do all of that. You simply open Fantastico, answer a few short questions, and click install. In a few minutes WordPress is installed on your website and ready for you to begin using it. Before signing up with a hosting company, check to see if they offer Fantastico, Softaculous, or some other type of 1 click installer. If they don’t, I would strongly recommend finding another hosting company.
24/7 Customer Support
It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you know, at some point in time everyone will need technical support. As you build and operate websites, questions will arise that need to be answered immediately. When these situations come up, you need to have technical support available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Good web hosting companies will have multiple ways to get support. They will usually offer a toll free number, email support, a ticket system, and live chat. Many companies have a knowledge database you can search to see if there is a tutorial on how to solve your problem.
Data Backup Options
It only takes one time for your website to crash without being backed up to open your eyes to how important backing up your website is. One hacker can take out years of work. Backing up your data is not optional, it is a necessity. Most web hosting companies offer some form of backup. Some, like Bluehost, even offer free daily backups. Check to see if the hosting company runs a full backup of your sites on a regular basis. This will let you restore you site if the unthinkable happens.
Make sure you can back up your site easily through the control panel. Also check to make sure the backups can be easily restored yourself without having to wait for the support staff to do it for you.
When you open a web business, you will most likely want to have an email address associated with your site like email@example.com. You need to find out if the hosting company allows you to do this.
Find out if there is a limit on the number of email accounts allowed by the hosting company. Another important feature is the amount of space allocated for emails. Some companies will provide a small amount of space without a charge and then try to sell you more space when you need it. If you think you will need a lot of email space, look for it when deciding on what host to pick. There are some other things to consider. You may want to set up an automatic response or forward emails to another account. It is a good idea to find out if the hosting company allows you to do this.
In order for your website to be seen on the Internet, you have to get your files and data uploaded to your hosting company. You can use the upload feature found in the hosting companies control panel, but it usually is time consuming since you have to upload one file at a time. A much better way to upload files is to use FTP.
Using a FTP account is probably the most widely used method. This lets you transfer files between your computer and your web host easily. This lets you design you website on your computer and then upload it at one time to your web host. Check to see if your web hosting company has FTP access. You might not think you need it now, but at some point in the near future not having FTP will cause you problems. It is much better to make sure your new hosting company allows you to upload using FTP.
Check out the money back guarantee the hosting company offers. Be sure you clearly understand when the trial period ends. Find out what happens if you cancel within the trial period. Will you receive a full refund or is there a cancellation fee?
Find out what happens after the trial period ends. Does the host offers a prorated refund or do they charge a cancellation fee? Try to find a hosting company that offers a 100% money back guarantee during the trial period with no cancellation fee. If you can find a company that offers a pro-rated refund after the trial period that is a big bonus.
These days many people own more than one domain. Even if you don’t already have multiple domains, you probably will in the future. Before you sign up for hosting, check to make sure you can host more than one domain. Many companies allow for unlimited domains. Some companies, particularly the smaller and cheaper ones, will limit the number of domains.
Sign up for a company that allows unlimited domains. Doing this now will avoid having to change hosting companies later.
Server Upgrade Options
No matter what the advertising says about having unlimited space and bandwidth for your websites, don’t believe it. With shared hosting, you are sharing bandwidth with other sites. If any of these websites start getting a lot of traffic, they will take up more bandwidth. The result is you will have less bandwidth and this can negatively affect your site.
Shared hosting is pretty good and you can build a big website and get a good amount of traffic with no problem. However, when your website grows too big for shared hosting you will need to upgrade to a dedicated server or a VPS. These upgrades provide more memory, storage, and power. Before choosing a web host, check to see if they offer upgrades. If they don’t have dedicated servers, keep shopping and find another company that does so when the time comes it will be easy to upgrade.
Server Uptime Guarantee
This is one that many people overlook. If your site is down, no one can see it. When a person finds your site by using a search engine like Google but they can’t access your site, they leave and go to another site.
Today the standard for uptime is 99.9%. Find a company that offers this guarantee.
When you begin shopping for web hosting, keep these 10 features in mind. Putting a little time into shopping for the web host that best fits your needs now will save you time and frustration later on down the road.