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How Do You Choose the Best Web Hosting?

22/07/2013 14:30 BST | Updated 22/07/2013 14:30 BST
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There are hundreds of web hosting companies out there, and a large number of them promise the world for very little in return. Some of these deals are too good to be true though, and it's important to know how to sniff out the best deals and leave the rubbish ones by the wayside.

How many times have you heard a friend or a colleague moan about having an issue with their web hosting, or that their website has vanished for no obvious apparent reason. Sometimes when this happens there are honest reasons for it, and a good hosting company will have these issues dealt with quickly without too much hassle. But a poor hosting service provider might choose to leave you in the lurch, and that could leave you without a website and a lot of customers heading elsewhere to purchase their goods and services. Nobody wants that to happen, so follow these steps and choose your hosting provider carefully.

PRICE

Let's face it, this is what most people are going to be on the lookout for when they choose a hosting provider. You want the best deal at the best price. This is the right attitude to have, but don't let price dictate the entire decision. There is a difference between a cheap deal and a good deal. Cheap isn't necessarily best. Ever heard the saying: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"? The saying applies here, too.

If your website is going to be a source of income for you and your business, it pays to shop around first before you make your decision. Choosing a cheap deal just to save yourself a tiny bit of cash won't necessarily pay off, especially if you're suddenly find that you need support or new hardware, and your hosting doesn't cover it. You'll end up paying more money down this road, so make a checklist of exactly what you need to choose the provider that ticks all the boxes and has a great deal on the price. It's highly unlikely to be the cheap-as-chips £1.99 deals that do this.

SUPPORT

As I mentioned above, tech support costs money, especially when it's outsourced because it wasn't included in the hosting package you bought because you thought you were saving yourself some cash. Always check the small print when you're looking at hosting packages, and look for a nice healthy sign that says 'included' right next to the part that says "24/7 Support" or "Tech Support" on your package. You'll save yourself money and a lot of hassle as a result of being a little more diligent.

Web hosting services like Webhostingbuzz and Site 5 are known for their great support teams that operate 24/7 365. Many others offer the same, but others don't. Make sure you check every hosting provider's page to find out if they do offer around the clock support or not. It's another huge box to tick.

SPACE AND FEATURES

In order to be able to choose the most comprehensive hosting package for your business website, you need to consider exactly what you are going to be using your site for, and to what extent. If you have an e-commerce site that is going to have hundreds of product pages - including quality images and video content to really sell what you have to offer - then you need to have plenty of disk space, processing power and RAM to be able to pull this off adequately. A basic package isn't going to cut it, so find a hosting package that includes the words "Unlimited" next to the majority of services, and choose that one. Just make sure you are getting exactly that.

The more space and power your site has from its hosting, the less time you're going to have trying to figure out why your site is constantly down or why the pages are slow as hell to load. All of these things don't go down with customers very well. They expect a business' website to look the part and be functional, otherwise you'll lose them to your competitors.

When it comes to features, it's important to ask questions and find out exactly what you're getting as part of your package. You should find out if email accounts, sub-domains and multiple domains, tech support and all kinds of other features are included in the price, and if they're not, why not? You never know, you might get a sweeter deal just by having the guile to ask.