Word of mouth seems to be the best means of advertising, as a lot of people know that are currently work in the marketing field. When you get your haircut or that “deal of a lifetime” you tell your friends about it. In contrast, you have a horrible experience with a service or product and you are inclined to spread the word on it. Furthermore, good news spreads virally. I can’t tell you how often I see something that has won an award and had the urge to check it out. Web hosting is no different as it is a service that is a valuable treasure to many business owners, entrepreneurs, and webmasters.
Customer service is one aspect to web hosting that can’t be lacking. Imagine the frustration of developing a website, reaching out to hundreds and thousands of customers/clients and in an instant everything goes haywire. Your site goes down and you are now losing money every second, minute, and hour. Time to panic or do you know you are in good hands?
Servers, computers, and websites have problems from time to time regardless of the circumstances. At times you just need to talk to an actual “human” to sort out the issue. Your hosting company needs to have an availability that is nothing shy of 24/7 full technical support. Agents need to be able to be reached in a variety of ways including by telephone, live chat, email, and support tickets.
Competence is another major issue with web hosting that is often overlooked. Obviously, if the tech is not knowledgeable, but always responsive it would out way the value of their customer support. When your website has a bug or scripting issue you need a way to quickly diagnose the problem and resolve the issue quickly.
Features are commonly overlooked, and many times you won’t realize the features that are needed to operate a website until it’s too late. Along with purchasing a plan that will allow you a sufficient amount of bandwidth and disk storage also consider these features:
? Control panel – The control panel is the backbone between a functional website and a nonfunctional website. One of the most common control panels, cPanel 11 (Linux) or H-Sphere (Windows) allows you to install various scripts with minimal computer know-how using Fantastico. These scripts could be anything from WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, phpBB2, Zen Cart, and over 80+ other scripts. Your control panel will allow you to add domains, setup email accounts, manage FTP’s, modify your billing, ect.
? Database support- Database support is always offered with any web hosting package from the cheapest Shared hosting plan to the most expensive Dedicated hosting plan. Because servers have a limited number of processes and resources that they can handle, it makes perfect sense to go with a hosting plan that provides MS SQL (Windows) or MySQL (Linux) based databases. Multiple websites can build up your database limit rather quickly, so it is imperative that you read the specifications of each hosting package.
? Site Backups – As we all know computers have problems from time to time, regardless of the precautions that are taken. One vital feature to any hosting package is a website backup utility. Just like on a Windows computer, the common “Restore Point” acts as a security blanket to keep all your important files backed up. Regardless of the precautions taken and the security measures that are installed on your server you are always going to run into malware, site hacks, and trojans that can harm your website.
Reliability seems to be one area that webmasters commonly overlook until problems occur. You should be confident that your site is going to be functioning at all hours of the day with minimal downtime. So what could be considered an acceptable amount of uptime? As farfetched as it sounds 99.5% uptime should be obtained throughout a month’s worth of service. Anything less is unacceptable and you shouldn’t deal with hours of outages or frequent errors.
Bear in mind that servers do have to be reset from time to time, but it should never be for more than a couple of minutes. One excellent technological advancement that has aided in servers reliability is called “server load balancing”. This is exactly what it sounds like. The principle behind this is to distribute work between many devices. For example, if other sites located on your server get a spike in visitors or bandwidth; hosting integrated with load balancing will distribute the workload evenly in order to increase performance and increase your reliability.
All and all, in order to get the best hosting package for your website’s needs, you need to have an excellent customer support team that is knowledgeable in fixing and resolving different issues that might occur. Features are something you should boast about as they can insure that you are getting all the bells and whistles your site needs to run efficiently. Last but not least, reliability should be tops amongst the industry with the latest hardware and software. All these rolled into one should insure you are getting the most bang for your buck.