Choosing the proper web host for your needs is the first step in maintaining a great website or blog. While free hosting is an option, many of these hosts simply cannot provide the level of service required to maintain a high-traffic website. Before you choose a web host, be sure to research your options and measure them against the following criteria:
1. Reliability: rather than concentrate on disk space and bandwidth, which you won’t use much of when you’re starting out, look for a web host that is reliable. Uptimes (the time your site is viewable to the web surfing public) should be higher than average and speed should be above par. If your site experiences frequent downtime or takes too long to load, potential readers will skip it for one that is faster and more reliable.
2. Amount of Web Space: once you’ve created a short list of web hosts that are highly reliable, you can begin to look at the amount of space that they offer. The typical site uses less than 5MB of space but if your site will be picture heavy or be loaded with sound clips and video, you may use more. Look for a host that offers different levels of packages and will allow you to upgrade as necessary.
3. Technical Support: chances are high that you will need to utilize technical support at least once. Look for a host that offers 24/7 support with a wide variety of ways to contact a member of the service team. The best hosts have 800 numbers, live chat and even email as an option. You don’t want to have server issues at three in the morning and no one to contact for help.
4. Control Panel: sometimes called a hosting panel, depending on the company you choose, access to a control panel is important. These panels allow you to manage many aspects of your account on your own. You should be able to change your own password, add or delete email accounts and complete other mundane tasks. Hosts without control panels force you to go through their technical support team for these simple things.
5. Payment Plans: look for a host that allows you to pay how you want to pay. A good idea is to choose a site that allows you to pay monthly with the option to change to quarterly or yearly payments. By utilizing a monthly payment plan you can be sure that the web host is a good fit for your needs. If they aren’t, you can find a new host without losing any money. If they are, you can switch to a yearly payment plan which is often offered at a discounted rate.
By researching your options, you are sure to find a web host whose options and services meet and even exceed your needs. By choosing the right host for your site, you’ll experience less down time and quickly gain rankings on the major search engines. Choose carefully to avoid headaches down the road.
Author Tommy Ramirez creates websites and blogs about many Internet subjects. He recommends checking out WebsiteHostReview.com for online comparisons of the best business class web hosting, as well as details of services and best values to fit your personal needs.