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This article was written by a guest contributor. The author's views below are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of WHSR.
Talk to nearly anyone who has ever owned a website and you’ll quickly find at least one web hosting horror story. One of the most important things about your online presence as a business owner or entrepreneur is your website. Most site visitors want responsive, intuitive, fast loading pages.
About 30% of web visitors said they’d wait 6-10 seconds for a page to load, but many others gave shorter time spans, with 3% saying they’d only wait one second before abandoning a page.
With speeds impacting your bottom line, you have to look at everything, including your hosting company.
You can definitely do a lot of things to speed up your website from a design standpoint, but you’ll also want a hosting company with a fast enough server to deliver the pages to site visitors at a rapid rate.
Essentially, you are storing your site files on the hosting company's website, so how fast the server’s speeds are impacts how fast your site ultimately is.
Some of the things that impact speed include: Hard Drive – typically a solid state drive is capable of loading files more quickly, which in turns leads to better page load speeds for your site. Dedicated Server – Try to choose a hosting company that at least offers the option of a dedicated or VPS sever over a shared plan. Shared plans are great to start with, but at some point you'll need to move up and increase abilities and speeds. Dedicated servers are key.
There are other factors that can impact speed, but these are a couple of the big ones.
If you go to a web hosting company’s website, and they do not have a 24/7 way to get in touch, that is a big red flag.
What are you going to do when your site goes down at 2 a.m. on a Saturday and you have no way to get in immediate touch with your server? You then risk losing all that weekend traffic while your site is down.
In addition to being able to contact your server 24/7, there should be multiple ways to get in touch. Look for:
The reason you it is important to have multiple ways to contact your server is that if you are unable to access the Internet, but know your site is down, you can use the toll free number.
If you want instant feedback, live chat is extremely helpful. You get the idea. You want as many ways to contact your web hosting company at every point during the day as possible.
Beware of web hosting companies that offer you a deeply slashed rate to sign up, but then their renewal rates are extremely pricey compared to other hosting options. Read the fine print and make sure you fully understand all fees involved each time you renew.
Compare fees to that of other hosting companies. While it is true in web hosting, as with many things in life, that you get what you pay for, there is also no need to pay much higher fees than necessary. If you’re going to pay more, you should at least gain the benefit of a VPS or dedicated server.
A good rule of thumb is that if the offer is way too good to be true, there is probably a catch to it. At the same time, you should expect a good deal when first signing up. However, the fees you’ll pay after that initial period should be clearly marked and easily understandable.
Another thing you should consider is server location. Each web hosting company is set up somewhere with machines based in a particular country or region. It is important to consider your target audience when choosing a server.
Even if you are based in the UK, if you are targeting visitors in the USA, they will have to deal with a delay waiting for pages to load on a server in the UK. It would be better to find a local server in this case. If your business targets people all over the world, then this isn't as much of a factor.
However, let's say you own a heating and cooling company in Dallas and want to set up a website. You'd be much better off seeking a hosting company with offices in Texas. Even your images will load faster for local visitors.
The face of the Internet is changing and more and more companies have chosen cloud hosting in recent years. There are a number of benefits to cloud hosting. Cloud hosting benefits both providers and end users. More powerful servers allow hosting companies to utilize system resources in a more effective manner. It is also faster for the hosting company to set up a dedicated server in mere minutes, which is an advantage to both the hosting company and the client.
When looking at hosting companies, it just makes good business sense to choose a company that has cloud hosting as well. This way, whether you are ready now or in the future for these services, they will be in place and easily implemented.
There really are few things worse as a website owner than dealing with a hosting company that just doesn’t seem to care about its customers.
Above everything else, look for a web host intent on making sure that customers are satisfied. If you do have a problem with your site, an excellent hosting company will go above and beyond to help you.
It is important for web hosts to understand that if your business isn’t successful theirs won’t be either. They should come alongside you and work with you as a partner to help you get the most you can out of your hosting services.
About the Author: Vince Robinson
Vince Robinson is the CEO of Scala Hosting. He has a firm grasp on what makes a web hosting company successful and what he doesn't want his own customers to worry about. WHSR recently interviewed Robinson about making a web hosting company reliable.