With new web hosting businesses being born every day, and the web hosting industry (one of most competitive industries in the world) expanding at a rapid rate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sift through the mountains of advertising material and sales pages effectively. Fortunately, if you use the right set of criteria in the proper order of operations, choosing the right web hosting plan or provider can still be a relatively simple process.
Knowing which aspects of web hosting plans are most important can help you save time when comparing the most essential attributes and features of each plan. The following four crucial aspects should be considered when examining any prospect of a web hosting provider or plan.
Web Hosting Platform
First and foremost, it is important to decide whether you need access to a web server that utilizes the Linux/UNIX operating system or the Windows operating system. This decision should be based on your individual website needs and the development technology you use(d) to design and create your web pages. Websites that are developed using Microsoft technologies such as ASP and VB will require access to a Windows server to function, while the majority of other open-source programming technologies such as PHP, Python, and Perl can function optimally on Linux-based operating systems.
Web Hosting Features
After deciding which web hosting platform would be most suitable, it’s best to begin comparing the most essential features between each plan. Some of the most important features to compare include the amount of disk space, bandwidth, databases, e-mail accounts, and domains allowed with each plan. As mentioned, it is also important to consider which programming languages and platforms the web hosting plan is compatible with. It is also important to look for features such as uptime and money back guarantees, as well as server redundancy and scheduled server backups.
After establishing your web hosting needs and narrowing the list of prospective plans, it’s time to begin comparing the prices of each plan. Unfortunately, the majority of novice webmasters choose to carry out these steps in the opposite order, choosing a plan based on price rather than establishing their server needs and comparing features and platforms first. If you want to ensure optimal performance and the highest rate of success for your websites, then you should never choose a web hosting provider based on price alone. Only begin comparing the prices of similarly sized plans after you have narrowed your list based on the two aforementioned aspects.
Customer Service and Support
Most people overlook the importance of having access to responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable customer service. That is, until something malfunctions and suddenly your websites are off-line or all of the pages are loading slowly. When this happens, you’ll need access to 24-hour support that is competent enough to handle any administrative tasks, regardless of what time of day or night it is. Thus, it is best to test the responsiveness of each web hosting provider’s customer support staff by calling them at random times and seeing how long it takes, and in which way they answer all of your inquiries.