Deciding which hosting company to use is one of the most important business decisions you’ll ever make. It is not overstating it to say that your choice of hosting company could make or break your business.
When you’re operating online, your website is only going to be as strong as the weakest service you’ve used to support it, whether that be a hosting company, SEO agency, or reputation management agency.
Arguably, your hosting company holds the ultimate destiny of your website and business in its hands more than the others do. Here is some best practice to help you choose a hosting company.
Avoid Review Sites
We’d call this a dirty secret, but it’s something that is now quite well known. Hosting companies will often set up and run review websites themselves. This is done so they can ‘demonstrate’ why you should choose their service.
While these sites are marketed as independent and usually don’t discredit competitor sites to the point where it’s obvious something fishy is going on (sometimes it’s because they own these sites, too!), you really ought to avoid them at all costs.
If you’ve ever wondered why every review site you find has wildly differing opinions on certain web hosts, and why the ‘Top 10’ always seems different, you now know the answer. This website, however, appears to be one of the most impartial, although it does not review every hosting provider available.
Review the Forums
Anyone can put together a website and make promises about what they’ll do when you’ve paid your money, but it is always best to find out for yourself. The best way to do this is often to look at the forums. Hosting companies use forum functions to work as a DIY FAQ section.
It saves them time if you can find the answer to a query or problem yourself rather than picking up the phone or emailing them.
However, you’ll often find out a lot about companies from these, particularly when it comes to their customer service levels. Take a measured approach; you know that you’re going to see more bad than good here, but if there are issues cropping up numerous times a week you know it’s probably more than just clients being angry for the sake of it.
Ask What the Guarantees Are
Common examples of guarantees featured on hosting company website homepages or sales pages are “100% Uptime” and “24/7 Support Functions.” Those sound great, but you need to get to the bottom of what each guarantee means for you, especially if they’re not fulfilled.
The uptime one is simple to deal with; just ask what you get if the guarantee isn’t met. Be careful, as many hosting companies will offer you a month’s free hosting or something similar, which might be much less in terms of value when compared to what you lost.
As for the support functions, the time between you raising an issue and it being dealt with is more important than it being round the clock; can you confidently get in touch and know that you’ll be dealt with quickly?
Choosing a Hosting Company
There are many aspects related to choosing a hosting company that you need to be mindful of. However, if you keep these three things in mind, you’ll achieve a lot in terms of ensuring you aren’t going to be caught out or left counting the cost of poor hosting in the longer term.
Start by looking at leading hosting companies like JaguarPC and get an idea of what they offer so you are sure to find the best deal for you and your business website.