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The Most Important Questions to Ask About Web Hosting

May 28, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Calvin Paige, Independent Technology Author

Your website is the face of your company; it is likely the first point of contact with you for any new customers. You want a site that is easy to navigate, has great content that interests viewers and highlights your expertise, and most importantly, you want a site that can be accessed on demand, all the time. The latter seems simple, but it depends greatly on the quality of web hosting that you implement. It can mean the difference between a stable, fast website and one that crashes and takes a long time to load. It is vital that you get your web hosting right, so here are the most important questions that you need to ask yourself when deciding who to choose.

Do You Pick the Popular Options?

It makes sense to first look at the most popular hosting solutions available—two big ones that commonly butt heads are SiteGround and Bluehost. Both have millions of users, and both are relatively stable and crash-resistant. Check out a Bluehost Vs SiteGround comparison for more information on these; but whichever site you choose, you need to find answers to the following questions.

Do They Have a Good Uptime?

Find out if uptime is monitored and if possible get some figures to support it. You’re looking for as high a percentage of uptime as possible (at least 99.9% is a good target, but many big sites achieve 99.99% uptime, or better). Find out what the company does when there are periods of downtime—ask them if they wait for you to find out, or if there is a system that alerts you when necessary.

How Fast Are They?

Google recommends that the time it takes for your server to deliver the first byte of information should never exceed 600ms. This is very important, especially for mobile users. Try to find out what optimizations the hosting company utilizes to improve page loading speed and, if possible, try to get a guarantee on a time-to-first-byte number.

Do They Consider SEO?

A hosting company doesn’t have a vast effect on SEO, but the country of its servers impacts SEO a tiny amount. Try to use servers that are in the same country (or countries) as your users, as a search engine will consider local search results if the server is in the same country as the searchers.

How Many Neighbors Do They Have?

The other websites that a hosting company might put on your server can also impact your hosting quality. If your server neighbor gets hacked, you might feel the effect. Similarly, if a neighbor has a surge in traffic, you might find slower loading times. Try to ascertain how many websites you will share your server with.

Is There Up-to-Date Security and Backups?

The security of the server is hugely important for obvious reasons, and you can test whether your server provider is on the case by asking about their content management system (CMS), as well as plug-in updates. These should be automatic, but some hosting sites only update if you ask them to. Avoid these when possible. You should also go for a hosting company that includes a backup in their offering—ask questions about how restores work; you want a company that automatically backs your site up and restores it as part of the package if an error occurs.

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