The greater your needs, the more complex your choice of hosting service will be. Here are the factors you need to consider and questions you need to ask.

What Security Features Are Available?

Security should be at the top of your list. Security and data breaches aren’t something only big companies need to worry about. Even small businesses need to consider their IT security.

So ask what security features are included. Ask if there are additional features at an extra cost. Make sure you understand exactly what the hosting service provides and who is responsible in case of a breach. Ask about past breaches and how they were dealt with.

Choose the Right Package

How much bandwidth do you need? What kind of uptime should you expect? Are you okay with shared hosting, where you pay a bit less but need to share with other businesses? Or do you want to pay a bit more for your own virtual private server?

Consider Growth

Will you need more bandwidth in your future? More space? More servers? Understand how much it will cost you to scale.

Just as importantly, make sure the hosting service you choose can handle your growth. Hosting services that get overstretched can lead to downtime, poor load speeds, and lost revenue.

Understand the Back-Up Plan

Tech fails sometimes. Computers crash, servers are fried, and human error can get the best of us. But when those accidents happen and data is lost, what’s the backup plan? You need to understand how you’ll recover data if it’s lost and what contingency plans the hosting service has in case of accidents.

Read the Terms of Service

Choosing a hosting service isn’t like installing an iOS update. Read the terms of service carefully. If you’re unclear on all the legal or IT concepts, it pays to have a second set of eyes look over the terms of service.

Try Out Customer Support

Is there a quick and easy way to reach customer support? A phone number, email address, or messaging app? Is this information easy to find? Consider testing it. Customer Support from the giant public cloud providers may not meet the expectations of some smaller to medium-sized businesses.

Read Third-Party Reviews

Online reviews should always be viewed with some caution, but they’re worth taking into consideration. See what people are saying about security, price, uptime, and customer support. Find out how similar your business is to the businesses leaving reviews. This might give you an idea of how well the web hosting company will handle your business.

In an ideal world, you should speak directly with someone who has used the web hosting you’re considering.

The Takeaway

As you can see, choosing a hosting service is a major decision. Make sure you do enough research, speak to the right experts, and consider your current and future needs carefully.

Monday, July 7, 2014

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