When building a website, web hosting tends to fall to the bottom of the list and it normally becomes a last minute dash to find a web host to get the website live as quickly as possible. Although it may not be seen as a priority who you host with, it’s evident that the host you choose can greatly influence your website's availability and performance. It's important when building a website to keep your hosting options at front of mind so this doesn’t become a last minute decision. As you may already suspect not all web hosts are the same and although you’re purchasing what may appear to be the same product, there are vital features of a web host you should be aware of when selecting someone to host your site. Unfortunately, the consequences of a quick decision may restrict performance of your website for a long time.
As a start there are 3 points you need to find out about your possible web host, these are listed below:
1. Uptime 99% vs 99.9%
Uptime simply refers to the availability of your website online. Although 99% in comparison to 99.9% doesn’t seem like a great amount, in real time that 0.9% difference could result in 3 days downtime where your website won’t be available to customers. Obviously this should be kept minimal so the higher the uptime guarantee the better.
It is in your best interest that the web host you decide to host your website with has servers based in the same country as you. This not only gives the web host more control over their own servers and the ability to monitor performance, but also means your data has less distance to travel. This will result in faster website response time and faster page loads.
You’ll find most web hosts offer their plans on a month to month basis much like phone companies. Some will offer you no lock-in contracts with the ability to cancel anytime while others won’t. Be wary of any web hosts that charge set-up fees, as this should always be part of the complete service. Asking about all these costs upfront will be the quickest way to safeguard yourself from contracts, lock-ins and costly set-up fees.