Planning on setting up your first website? Before you move onto picking out a color scheme, designing a logo, and getting your site map all worked out, one of your top priorities should be tracking down a suitable host.
So, whether you have a vague idea of what it is we’re talking about – or none at all – read our tips for choosing a reliable, high quality, and helpful host for your website, below.
1. First Off, Know Why You Need it
Anyone who wants to create a website – whether for personal use, to create a face for an existing business of yours, or to launch a new e-commerce brand – needs to find a host capable of storing that site’s files on a remote server, and making them visible on the world wide web. Very few people will opt to maintain their own server; instead, it is far more practical and financially advisable to choose a host.
The quality of your web host will impact all manner of factors that, at the end of the day, can and will spell the difference between your site being a pro-grade digital destination for readers, shoppers, or clients – or, of course, one that bears all the traits of a poor site.
Below, we look at a few of these in more detail.
2. Prioritize Scalability
Opting for a high quality, trusted and free web host is, of course, the gold standard for those who are just starting out on their digital journey. It ensures that you have the opportunity to get to grips with running a website before making any financial commitment.
Of course, as with any long-term enterprise, a free plan will only be able to take you so far. As your presence or business begins to expand and grow, so too should the support structure that surrounds it. If you begin your journey online without full clarity on the ability your host offers for scaling up, you risk hitting a brick wall as success begins to stretch the site’s original parameters.
The ability to tailor your hosting plan to suit the scope of your business now and into the future may seem too good to be true, but it is entirely possible – with the right host, of course. For instance, the industry-leading host and site builder Wix offers a free web hosting option to anyone looking to launch their own site in unchartered waters. Their premium plan, however, is there to ensure that growth is always available – both in terms of cloud-based storage, and bandwidth.
3. Don’t Sacrifice on Uptime…
The term ‘uptime’ merely refers to the time in which your server is in operation. During downtime, visitors to your website will be unable to reach it – a fact which equals a potentially significant loss of business and visibility for you, which will continue to increase as uptime goes down.
100% uptime is not possible. As physical objects, all servers need maintenance – what is important is that routine maintenance is enough to prevent instances of unanticipated or inopportune maintenance.
Any host who does not readily provide statistics on their uptime expectancy – and who is unable to boast something in the region of 99% uptime – is certainly a riskier prospect for your site, and should be avoided.
4. …Or Security
Since the earliest days of the world wide web, by far the biggest threat posed to internet users – and, of course, businesses operating in highly visible spaces online – is cybercrime. While downtime represents a lost opportunity for the duration of the site’s unavailability, hacking and data breaches pose a potentially long-term (or, at times, catastrophic) threat not only to the business, but to its customers, too.
A web host holds a great deal of responsibility when it comes to your site’s security. SSL Certificates, DDoS protection, and centralized security are just a few of the most essential web hosting cybersecurity features you cannot afford to overlook.
5. A Strong Support System Will Never Go Amiss
Whether you are entirely new to running a website, or already knew everything in this article, there will inevitably be those times when a little extra help, support and guidance will prove invaluable to your stress-levels – not to mention the site itself.
As such, you should hold out for a web hosting platform that offers a robust support system to its customers. It is not a sign that the host experiences more issues than others – rather, it is a sign that they solve them far quicker than their rivals.
24/7 guidance may seem like overkill now but, in time, you will come to realize quite how good a decision it really was. Finding a host for your new website needn’t be as complex as it may, at first, seem to be. In reality, it is simply a case of knowing where your priorities should lie – and how to marry them all together within one strong, reliable, and steadfast offering.