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Tips on Finding the Right Web Hosting

So you want to build a website, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you are an experienced web developer, but looking to switch plans?

Reading reviews is a great way to learn about the issues you may face with web hosts.  Contact customer support directly and also ask a ton of questions.  Remember, lots of these reviews may be paid or biased.  Below are some common tips and advice for finding the right host and avoiding common issues with web hosts in the future.

Look for Tiered Pricing to Ensure Room to Grow

One requirement for finding a good web host should be flexibility and scalability.  Your business might be a solo venture at this point, but bear in mind the possibility of future expansion.  Does the web host offer a flat fee for a limited amount of features? Or will you be able to expand your website in the future (by adding additional domain names and e-mail addresses, for example) while paying only for what you need? Familiarize yourself with the payment scheme and make sure the growth your site will be able to keep up with the growth of your business.

You never know at the start exactly how busy a website will be and traffic, as well as other factors, can change literally overnight. This flexibility is a great way to save money on unnecessary resources while still having them instantly available if and when needed. You can drive and grow your website safe in the knowledge that when there is a surge in traffic, you can immediately adapt accordingly.

Redudancy

Does your webhost provide redundancy, content delivery network, or have multiple datacenter locations on several continents?  If the power goes out in your webhost’s region, do you still want your website to be available to the world?  If your server goes out, is there a copy elsewhere?  If you are planning to have eyeballs on your website from all over the world, or require high availability, these are important considerations.

Enhanced Security

Security is a major issue with hosting.  Ensure that your host specializes in custom firewalls for your CMS if you are using one, and updates web server scripts and systems regularly.  If you are looking for advanced security, you might consider a VPS or dedicated server vs a shared server.  You will not be affected by threats against other websites on a shared hosting platform.  A unique IP address might also be another option. This will prevent the conflict that often occurs on a shared system where other users are blacklisted for any reason.

Backups

Do you plan on doing your own backups?  Does the webhost provide automated backups and how often?  How much storage for backups do they provide?  As websites are commonly hacked and breached, backups, in addition to security, are an important element for deciding on which host to go with.  You also don’t want a host that only does one day of backups only to discover that the only backup that exists is a hacked and vulnerable version of your website.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Good Customer Service

Does the web host have a dedicated customer service department? Are they easy to reach? Is their contact info displayed prominently, and is there an option to both call and e-mail? Does the web host offer help pages and resources to guide you through the process of setting up your site? Try calling the customer service phone number just to see how easy it is to reach a real person.  Look for a host that provides flexible packages, monitoring, installation, tuning, and a 24/7 support team.

Managed vs Unmanaged

While managed hosting sounds great, read reviews and make sure that the support provided is what the host advertises.  Read the small print and ask lots of questions.  Most webmasters start off by hosting their  websites on shared servers and hence the concept of management does not apply. The term only becomes applicable when we start looking for Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and Dedicated Servers.

What Is Managed Hosting?

A Managed hosting plan refers to a hosting plan which provides management services in addition to the basic components of a hosting plan. The basic components of a hosting plan are the servers, operating systems, and the requisite software used for running websites.

These additional management services may include a control panel, SSH access, automated backups, malware scanning and removal, status monitoring, security sweeps, automated software updates, and much more. It is these additional management services which are the basis of the name “Managed Hosting” for this hosting plan.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

In normal IT setup, servers are able to run any operating systems and content management systems. For example, you may have WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or all of them installed and running on the same server without posing any problems to the server. However, such an arrangement prevents the server from being optimized to run just one particular system.

Advantages and disadvantages of Managed hosting

The advantages of Managed hosting are;

  • Increased reliability
  • Improved speed
  • Improved security
  • Cheaper: a wider range of management services for a much lower cost.

The Disadvantages include;

  • Reduced flexibility, however, this is more of an obvious matter, not a downside.
  • Limitations to possible functionality

Cost effective solution

What was previously only viable for big business is now and affordable option even for small business. As previously stated, you only need to pay for those resources you require at the outset and upscale resources as you grow. So, you get the many benefits of private hosting for a reasonable monthly cost.

As the technology improves, the cost of hosting has come down significantly, but deals on web hosting can have a lot of appeal.  Often web hosts provide an initial sign up discount for a certain percentage off on the first year.  You can also search the web for web hosting discounts.

Any other comments or pointers? Please leave in the comments section below:

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