Selecting a good website hosting company is extremely important for the success of a website. If the hosting service isn’t reliable and doesn’t have good customer support, your website’s performance will be negatively impacted.
As a website designer, I have the fortunate opportunity to work with many different website hosting companies and they all offer different levels of customer support and website services. If you’re shopping for a website hosting company, keep these things in mind:
Do you know someone who has used the particular hosting company before and are they satisfied?
No matter what kind of claims you can read on a hosting company website, the very best indicator of a website’s host future performance is their past performance. Find out how long the person has been with the hosting company they’re recommending and ask about issues and support.
Compare costs: Are they a reseller or a “real” hosting company?
Some hosting companies are “real”, meaning that the servers that your website files are on are actually in their buildings. Other hosting companies are simply resellers, meaning they are a middle-person and are adding on profit to what they’re selling to you.
I’ve had experiences with some smaller hosting companies that weren’t the greatest, and I’d recommend that people go with a larger name hosting company. You’ll not only save money, you’ll generally get much more for your money, in terms of easy-to-install free applications.
Find out if they support PHP Scripting and MySQL Databases.
Most hosting companies do support these, however not all are running the same versions. I’ve also had some hosting companies charge for more than one database, so find out what their policies are. If a hosting company doesn’t have either, take your business elsewhere, because these are really industry-standard services. All kinds of applications, from shopping carts to blogs use these two languages – so don’t sign up for hosting if the hosting company doesn’t have them.
Try out their customer support.
Hosting companies really differ in the level of customer support. I frequently have to contact them with questions about their particular configuration. Some hosting companies have support only via email, while others offer phone support. Having phone support is nice, but it doesn’t mean that the hold time won’t be a half hour, or that person on the other end speaks good enough English to be able to understand you and be able to help.
How Sophisticated Is Their Control Panel?
The control panel is the place where you configure your hosting settings. Give the control panel a test drive. It should be easy to change hosting settings, setup email accounts, set or change the FTP username and login, etc. If your hosting company doesn’t offer a control panel – keep shopping. All major hosting companies offer this and without it, you have to contact your hosting company for everything. Keep an eye out for “one click installs” or “fantastico” – this is a highly recommended feature, especially if you want a WordPress blog. This feature makes installation and upgrades a snap – another time/money saver.
Which website hosting company do I recommend?
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.