For those starting out on their very first website with a view of working on it long-term, finding a reliable web host is the most crucial decision to make. There is no dearth of web hosting companies that offer to host your website for an affordable fee and give you the best quality service. However, as with any buyer in the marketplace, it is important to have a strategy and a clear vision about what to expect from your very first web host. This article explains some of the points you need to include in your search strategy for the best web host for your website.
A preliminary search on Google for web hosting companies will serve you an endless list of companies that cater to every type of budget and client. Reading through the advertisements of these companies will give you an initial idea of what these companies offer and at what rates. Mind you, it is important to be careful and a little skeptical when reading the advertising claims of these companies since many of the claims are exaggerated and ambiguous. The wise thing to do is to simply jot down the most frequently occurring hosting companies in order to research on them further.
Speak to other Hosting Clients
If you are even a moderately active netizen, chances are you would know at least a few people who own a website and subscribe to a web hosting plan. Usually, these people have been through the rounds of the market and have used the services of two or more hosting companies. Get in touch with these people and seek their opinion about the service quality and customer care of the companies you have shortlisted. A better way would be to contact website owners who run websites similar to your own so that they can direct you towards a host whose services are better suited to your needs.
Visit the Official Websites
While you have read the advertisements of the different web hosts, it is a good idea to actually visit the official website of each of these companies and learn about them. Find out what type of clients they serve, how long they have been in the industry and what their clients have to say about them. Make sure that you evaluate all of the information critically and with reasonable doubt. Go over their terms and conditions in addition to reading through their service plans in great detail. This will give you a better awareness about what each company offers to their clients and what would work for you.
Conduct a Comparative Analysis
Perform a comparative analysis of the different hosting companies based on the opinions and information you have received from others and from your own research. There are several factors on which you can compare and evaluate the different companies. Some of these factors include price, range of services offered in various service plans, quality of customer support, industry reputation, awards, and so on. This kind of information will help you make an objective analysis about the viability and reliability of each company instead of going by your gut feeling alone.
Throughout your search for a web host, it is important to be realistic and to avoid falling into the trap of being overwhelmed by the information available online. One of the tricks that hosting companies employ to overwhelm prospective clients is to advertise features of the service that are the norm or an essential component of the hosting service. By doing this, they make the prospective client believe that the company offers more services than it actually does. Once you read through the claims of different hosting companies, you will easily be able to form an idea of what kind of claims warrant your attention and which ones can be ignored.
The Bottom Line
You should never move your attention away from the bottom line. The hosting companies differentiate themselves from one another along price as much as other features. The market is clearly differentiated into high quality service providers that offer hosting services at a more expensive price and low-cost providers who offer services such as customer support and additional domain names at a premium. Knowing the scale of your operations and the nature of web traffic your website is likely to generate will give you a fair idea of what kind of company to go for.
Carefully evaluate the promises the hosting company’s sales representative makes when signing you up for a plan. You should ask them to point out where on the service agreement that claim is stated so that you have tangible proof of the company making a specific claim about service quality or server capacity. Also be prepared to resist enticing offers at upward selling that the sales rep make. Your responses should range from gently stating your lack of interest to being more vocally assertive that you do not want any added services to your hosting plan.
Degree of Control
You may also need to find out how much control different hosting companies give you when it comes to managing technical aspects of the service. It may be important for you to find out whether you should rely on the company’s ability to address technical issues or whether you have the expertise and time to address such problems yourself. This includes having access to FTP and SSH as this will simply help you or your friend to get into the backend of the server system and resolve technical issues.
There is no dearth of good and reliable hosting companies around. The key to finding your first host is to develop a clear picture of what your hosting needs are and how much you are willing to pay for them. Ensuring that the company you choose is reliable and trustworthy is possible by consulting with your peers and by reading professional reviews available online. By taking these simple and basic steps, you will find a web host that will serve you satisfactorily.