With a vast range of different websites hosting offerings out there, it can be difficult to find the perfect Web hosting company for your business. For any business tapping into the enormous potential that the Internet has to offer, choosing the right hosting company is one of the most important online marketing decisions that any business will ever have to make. Internet marketing and commerce ultimately starts with your website, and this will effectively be your 24/7 online presence, so reliability and other factors are absolutely essential. Consider the following eight key elements of Web hosting for your business.
Websites Hosting Considerations
1 – Server Uptime
By far the most critical aspect of any hosting package is server uptime. Almost every websites hosting company will close down its servers on occasion for maintenance and upgrades. While this is practically an inevitability, you will need to choose a hosting package which provides an exceptional uptime. Remember, that every minute your site is offline, you could be losing sales and leads. The absolute minimum server uptime you should consider is 99%. A websites hosting company offering a 99% uptime will be offline for 7 hours per month. However, you will ideally need a hosting company with a 99.9% uptime, and this is worth paying a little extra for. This equates to forty minutes of downtime per month. Even better, go for a company which provides mirrored servers. This way, if one goes down, another will temporarily take its place, keeping your website on the air almost all the time.
2 – Bandwidth
Every time someone will visit your website, they will consume some of your bandwidth. Things like high-resolution graphics and downloads hosted on your own servers consume much more bandwidth than the average web page. The more bandwidth you have available for your site, the more traffic it will be able to handle. When it comes to business hosting, bandwidth should ideally be something that you can quickly, easily and cheaply upgrade when you need it. Many websites hosting companies also claim to offer unlimited bandwidth, but this is rarely truly unlimited, since it will often still be subject to a fair usage policy. Always review the small print thoroughly, and familiarize yourself with the prices of additional bandwidth.
3 – Disk Space
Disk space is another important factor as well as one which you ideally want to be as scalable as possible. As your website grows, you will inevitably end up needing more disk space to meet your requirements. However, there is no need to pay for more than you need, so long as you can upgrade at a later date. Most websites hosting packages offer abundant disk space for the average website, particularly if you host data such as high-resolution images, videos, and downloads off-site. When starting out, it is a good idea to have about fifty percent more disk space available than you initially need. This will allow your website to grow quickly and provide you with everything you need to start up.
4 – Email Addresses
Any business hosting package should come with a large number of email addresses. For any professional business website, you will need email addresses from your domain name, rather than a Web-based service such as Gmail or Hotmail. Hosting providers typically offer more email addresses than you will likely need. This allows you to have separate business email addresses for each of your employees, one for technical support, another for sales, and any others you might require. You will also need an unmonitored email address for your Internet marketing campaign. When reviewing email options from Web hosting companies, be sure to find out about their various features, such as which protocols they use and how much storage space you will have available for your requirements.
5 – Customer Support
No matter how good a Web hosting company is, technical issues can occur, potentially shutting down your site. This can result in considerable financial losses. For this reason, it is very important that your business hosting package comes with round-the-clock technical support. Basic customer support should be easily reachable either by phone or email, and it should be free of charge. If your hosting company has any additional charges for specific types of technical assistance, be sure to familiarize yourself with these before committing yourself.
6 – Accessibility
Having full root access to your hosting servers is essential for tasks such as creating new email accounts, modifying server settings and manually modifying and updating the content stored on it. If you do not have complete, unhindered access to your online resources, you will need to contact technical support to make any changes, and this can end up being both time-consuming and costly. You will also need to be able to access your Web host via the FTP protocol since this is by far the most efficient way to transfer files between the local computer and the remote server. Most hosting companies provide a Web-based FTP client, although most businesses would prefer to use a third-party client installed on the local computer.
7 – Security
Never underestimate the importance of security, particularly when you will probably be storing confidential business and customer information on your servers. If a hacker manages to get into your website, the consequences could lead to a financial meltdown for your company. Any decent hosting company should have a firewall in place to prevent hackers from getting into their servers. Hosting companies should also carry out security audits and upgrade their server-side software on a regular basis. If you are planning to run an e-commerce site, you will also need to use an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) cryptographic protocol to protect your customers’ financial information.
8 – Additional Domains
As your business grows, you will likely find that you need more websites. If you want to run a few more websites related to your business, it is always convenient to have them on the same account as your primary website. Any business hosting company should provide you with the possibility to have multiple domains in order to allow your business to expand as and when it needs to.