You have a choice, and web hosting companies have upped their game.
Image Credit: DepositPhotos
The big names fall down in many areas, and a little research will make your site more secure and increase your conversions in 2018.
1. Good Customer Service Attitude
Phone the sales department, if they don’t have the right customer attitude when you are trying to pay them, then they are unlikely to be helpful when something goes wrong. Check any web host on Facebook and Twitter. How does the company respond to unhappy customers?
Check web hosting review sites to get the big picture. This ThemeIsle article gives some alternatives to the most common host.
2. Hosting in Your Own Country
The EU and US have diametrically opposing approaches to personal data. The EU guarantees the privacy of individuals’ data and in the US government agencies can see everyone’s data, just by asking. There are agreements in place between the two blocs, but many Europeans lack trust in the US to comply with those agreements.
With data privacy laws becoming tighter every year, you need your web hosting to be within your own legal jurisdiction. If you are in the US, then look at sites such as InMotion or Siteground. If you are in the UK, look at LCN UK hosting, and if you are in the EU, check out EuroHost.
An additional reason for local hosting is that your users will be able to open web pages faster if your host’s servers are in the same country as are.
Both Firefox and Chrome tell users that a site is insecure unless it is using the https protocol. You can get a free https certificate from most web hosts, but be aware that you will need to upgrade this free cert if you intend to collect payments on your site.
Image Credit: Pexels
Hackers target everyone, and most of the responsibility for security is your own, but watch out for reseller hosting. If you can’t find the company on a review site, it could just be your neighbor’s daughter in her bedroom running the business. Any one-person company is going to lack the resources of a more extensive operation.
Unlimited domains and disk space are meaningless when the limiting factor on your hosting account is the number of simultaneous processes your account can run on the server CPU. You will need to ask about this CPU share factor before making your purchase no web host publishes this information on their website.
Some hosting companies make much of the unlimited everything nature of their plans. They then throttle your sites if you have more than 20 users a month, giving the lie to “unlimited.”
6. Solid State Disks (SSDs)
Speed is vital, especially to mobile users, who represent most users now. If your site is hosted on a shared server using a conventional hard disk your pages will load so slowly that users’ patience will be exhausted before your page loads.
Solid state disks are faster because they have no moving parts. The best hosting companies use SSDs as standard, even on cheap shared hosting accounts.
Every host boasts a 99.9% uptime guarantee with some going the extra decimal and making it a 99.99% guarantee. It’s all just claims that you as an individual are never going to be able to verify. Check hosting review sites for access to hundreds of users’ reports.
Your minimum requirement should be 24/7 chat support. New York office hours don’t work even for the West Coast, let alone European customers. Make a chat support request and if the service is unavailable then cross that hosting company off your list of possibles.
Daily backups are the minimum you need. However, backups are only half the story. If you are dubious about restoring your site from a backup, then you need a ‘backup and restore’ service, at least as an optional extra.
10. WordPress Optimizations
WordPress sites make heavy use of databases and require a few changes in the server configuration to operate optimally. Check out WordPress hosting comparison sites to make sure your site’s speed will be maximized.
Your web host is only one half of your online success: The other half is how you optimize your site.
Remember that almost every link you see to a hosting company is an affiliate link that pays the site owner $50-100. Companies that pay the biggest commissions get the most affiliates but are not necessarily your best option. Look at the user data collected by reviewers and decide on facts rather than hype.