So, you want to establish a website or you’re fed up with your existing web host and want to move your site somewhere else? In an industry where a host goes down for one reason or another every week, you might not even be aware of your current host’s weaknesses.
The first challenge is reducing the thousands of options to a few that you can investigate further. Inquire of friends or associates who have a website for advice. Visit one of the many hosting forums and ask the members for help or look through the threads of people who have asked before you.
Once you’ve found a few hosts to investigate, the eight questions listed below will help you make an informed decision. Many of the answers to these questions can be found on the hosts’ websites, but you should always feel free to call and query them about their operations. The level of professionalism and quality of responses you receive from a potential host often reflects the type of service you will receive after you become a customer. The Eight questions to ask your web host, without further ado:
1. Has the web host been in operation for a long time?
The length of time a host has been in business has a bearing on their ability to deliver a high-quality, dependable service. If your host can satisfy its consumers, they are more likely to continue using the service. As a result, continue doing business. Of course, there are times when this isn’t applicable or becomes a little fuzzy.
Always ask if a host has lately been involved in a merger, bought a once-popular brand, or started a new brand. If any of these apply, dig further into the events that led up to this point to see if quality personnel are still employed by the organization.
Perform a Whois lookup on the host’s domain name: Enter the net host’s domain name to find out when the domain was first registered. If you’ve only recently registered, inquire with the host.
It is not necessarily a bad flag if the domain name was recently registered. Basically, you should ask the host about it. They might have just created an affinity-based brand to appeal to your target market.
Other than the results from the host itself, type the host’s name into a search engine and see what comes up. You might come across the host’s name in reviews, interviews, or industry publications.
2. Is the information center owned by the web host?
All products and services are based on the foundation of an information center. If your host has its own data center, they are almost certainly in the hosting industry. They also have an experienced team and knowledge base to draw on when it comes to supporting your website and developing new goods. To put it another way, if a host has its own facility, it has more control over the variables that can make or break your online presence.
3. Does the web host have a large number of upstream web providers?
The speed of your web server has no bearing on the performance of your website. Your web host’s ability to route traffic over the cleanest web connections is also critical. It is critical that your service provider has several internet connections.
Accidental fiber cuts during construction or telecom work, as well as a failure of information processing equipment, can take your site down for an extended period of time.
This can be prevented if your web server has other internet connections that can divert traffic that would otherwise be routed through the failing circuit. Yes, this means that your server must have extra capacity on hand to handle regular traffic levels if one connection fails; this is another area where a host may save money. This is similar to driving a car, where you have various streets to choose from to go to your chosen location.
You might come across construction or an accident that forces you to take a different street. The internet is the same way. There are various ways for traffic to get to a specific site. Your web host should be able to choose the cleanest, or most efficient, a path for your visitors. In reality, your host should be able to fine-tune these routes on a regular basis to locate the ideal path for your visitors.
Another approach to achieve this is to reduce the number of various networks through which traffic must traverse before reaching its destination. It’s critical for your server to have direct connections to networks with a large number of users. In other words, if your web server uses connections with networks that permit online access to huge numbers of subscribers, your website will be better served.
4. Does the web host keep track of its customers’ sites 24 hours a day? How?
There are a few things that can influence the answer to this question. Is the host in charge of its own data center? If they don’t, they’ll be physically distanced from their servers and will most likely be paying a co-location provider to monitor them.
When another corporation is in charge of the environmental systems that give the host a place to live, one may argue that you’ve introduced yet another potential point of failure: the conveyance of a problem from the information middle to the net host. That point of failure might lengthen the time it takes for an issue to be resolved, resulting in more downtime for your website. Second, if your web host has a problem with its own infrastructure, there may be travel time involved in their engineers going to the data center to fix it or, once again, higher latency as a result of attempting to repair an issue remotely.
Many web servers do not give 24/7/365 assistance, which may surprise you. Hosts in the market range from giving solely e-mail assistance to providing phone and e-mail help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Selecting a host that can assist you whenever you need it is the ideal approach to avoid not having support when you need it.
When an idea awakens you at 3 a.m., it’s nice to have your host on the other end of the phone to discuss it. When your site goes down due to a programming error the night before your business opens, it’s fantastic to have your web host on the phone with you to figure out what’s wrong. Know that if your cat deletes some crucial data by accident, your host will assist you in recovering them. Make certain that your host is available to assist you during the important holidays. Many web hosts will shut down their support centers, reduce support to solely e-mail, or send their support staff home with a pager to contact in an emergency.
If your website goes down, any of these reductions can cause latency. And, when they’ve completed all of their social designs, people frequently spend time on the internet on holidays. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to acquire new customers. When people get together, they share their thoughts.
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5. What are the levels of redundancy provided by the net host?
A web server is a hardware and software combination that serves web pages, files, and other data to users. Servers offer information from websites, e-mail, and databases in response to requests from web browsers. The information is subsequently sent to the requesting browser.
Load balancing divides the amount of work that a server needs to do amongst different servers, adding redundancy and allowing more work to be done in the same amount of time. As a result, more work gets done in the same amount of time, and all website requests within the network are served faster. The load balancers communicate with the servers in real-time to identify how busy they are and whether or not one of them has failed. It may seem obvious, but having your site linked to the internet is the entire point of having a website, and having a load-balanced, redundant network is essential to that goal.
Failures can occur, causing your site to lose connection. As a result, it’s critical to find a provider with the lowest risk of failure in terms of hosting design. It is vital to have redundancy. Single points of failure are extremely dangerous, however many hosts strive to save money by exposing themselves to single points of failure. Inquire about your web host’s redundancy in terms of server architecture (web, e-mail, and DNS servers), load-balancing, and file storage.
Have you ever had a problem with your e-mail server? Electronic mail and DNS servers require redundancy as well. A DNS server is a server that translates requests to find a website. Maintaining electronic mail and DNS servers functioning is, as you might expect, a mission-critical task for a web host. To ensure that your website is delivered consistently, look for a host that has a dependable storage solution with multiple auto-failover and hot-swappable drives.
6. Does the web host back up customer websites automatically in the event of data loss? How often do you do it?
Website backups should be a standard component of your web host’s business. Backup is the process of copying files or databases to ensure that they are maintained in the event of equipment failure or another disaster.
Look for a hosting company that offers a money-back guarantee. This allows you to test out the hosting service. Should you discover that the service is subpar in terms of site speed, dependability, or the features you require, the ability to request a refund within the terms of the guarantee is invaluable and likely to save you money in the long run. It is generally a good idea to inquire about the cancellation policies of the web host. There are several hosts who need you to cancel by sending them an email or calling them, which can increase the deadline for cancellation.
Within their control panel, a host who is confident in their service will have a cancellation form or an online avenue. They’ll almost certainly have a retention program now, so don’t be surprised if they phone or email you to ask why you’re leaving. Your input, after all, aids them in evaluating their service.
7. Does the web host have all of the features you need for your website?
A domain name, but keep an eye out for any registration or renewal fees that may be disguised. People sometimes choose a host because it has the exact feature set they need, only to discover later that the feature set is meaningless if access to those functions is inconsistent. Check to see if a host has the features you’re looking for and is also dependable.
Use the following checklist to ensure that the host you’re considering has everything you need: Unless you are providing this yourself disc space to meet your site needs every month bandwidth allotments that will cover your traffic and the ability to increase that allotment based on your sites success, an abundance of versatile electronic mail accounts including web-based, POP3, and IMAP electronic mail spam filtering and virus protection are a must these days unless you are providing this yourself disc space to meet your sites needs every month bandwidth allotments that will cover your traffic and the ability to increase that allotment Extensions for FrontPage or other online/downloadable site-building programs are examples of site-building tools. Uploading to your site using FTP or other methods is simple. You’ll need access to a powerful traffic analysis application or raw logs to plan your own strategy. CGI, PHP, and MIVA are examples of programming languages (if needed) Database capabilities, as well as e-commerce shopping cart possibilities, are based on your application preferences.
8. Does the web host offer the items and services you’ll need as your business expands?
You might be shocked at how many sites that began as a pastime or a hobby have grown to become some of the most popular on the internet. As a result, you never know when you’ll outgrow your existing product or service and need to advance to the next level. Make sure that your web host can accommodate your planned development, not just within the shared hosting product range, but also if you ever require a dedicated server or co-location option, that your host is available to discuss and give the appropriate solution.
Use the following questions as a framework for your homework and you’ll likely save yourself some serious difficulties down the way. You may now compare apples to apples and choose the best host for your needs if you have gathered information about different providers. Hopefully, the work you’ve done will prevent you from having to rely on your gut instinct and instead force you to make an informed decision based on the facts. Perhaps the finest piece of advice you’ll discover in any article or forum on picking a host is to assume that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.