A host is generally a server or rack of servers that “hosts” the files composing your website via the Internet. Companies usually offer various packages at different rates for their hosting services, but it’s important that you make a choice with your future company in mind, and not just saving a few bucks at the moment.
You can almost always save money on your web hosting by paying in advance. Discounts for multi-month and yearly packages are common. However, you don’t want to lock in with an unreliable host. Try out a new host for a month or two before you lock in a long-term commitment, and check out the cancellation and refund policy beforehand.
Web hosts usually offer add-ons with their packages, the features differ between each host. When viewing various hosts, compare their level of service to the particular feature you need. For instance, a host that offers packages that are generally priced lower than other hosts might not necessarily be such a good choice if the key features you need are only available through expensive packages.
Make sure you, and not your web host, controls your domain name. If you let your host control your domain name, you may be stuck with that host if you don’t want to change domains. Some unscrupulous hosts won’t release the domain info if you leave on bad terms. If you control the domain, you can point it at another host’s nameservers and start fresh.
Always have a backup plan for web hosting providers. In the event that you experience significant and ongoing problems with your hosting service, you will want to have an alternate already researched. If you are without service for more than a day, start immediately putting your backup plan into action. This will save you the potential for even longer delays if your provider has serious problems.
If at all possible, choose a web host that has 24-hour customer service via telephone. The larger hosting services often provide this valuable service. You do not want to be working late at night and find that are experiencing technical difficulties. Call them before you sign up, and test the level of expertise of the agents, and whether or not they can give simple instructions that are easy to understand.
Choose a web hosting service that offer multiple databases for you to access if needed. This can include the ability to store information about your products, as well as your customers. You should be able to easily look at prior purchases and the personal information about who is buying your products.
Take longevity into account with any web host. Typically, any host that has been in service for multiple years is doing something right, or else they offer such unbelievably low prices, that reliability does not matter to their customers. The latter would never happen. Take a look at the host’s time in business; this will help you narrow the field.
If there was anything in your business that you should be willing to splurge on, it’s the power of a proper host. It will be one of the most important decisions you make, and if you choose wrong, it could end up meaning months of lost service and lost profits.