Laying a solid foundation for your online business is crucial. Even if you have thought of all the logistical, delivery, and marketing aspects, you need to invest in a reliable web hosting service to ensure that all your efforts do not go to waste. While at first, it may not seem like a huge deal, in the long run, choosing a reliable web hosting service will increase revenue, bring in more sales & leads, and will ultimately result in your long-term success.
This article will cover the most vital factors when selecting a home for your online business and, hopefully, make your life easier when researching the best fit for your needs.
Speed & Performance
Let’s start with the most obvious one – Website Loading Speed. We cannot emphasize enough how important this factor is, and you should look for a hosting provider that looks at this parameter not as a METRIC but as a FEATURE of the web hosting service.
Online studies show that a drop of 100MS in loading speed equates to 1% in revenue loss. On a large scale and over a considerable period, this can result in severe losses for your business. Slow websites are also less desirable to visitors, and online case studies show that if your website’s loading speed exceeds 2 seconds, you can expect a bounce rate between 10-15%.
Furthermore, slow websites are also less favorable to search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo), and they will rank your site lower than your competition, resulting in less traffic.
None of the facts mentioned above is pleasant, and this is why you should avoid them at all costs.
In addition to the negative aspects above, slower websites negatively affect user experience. The faster your website loading speed is, the more likely you will gain new visitors and ensure your standard visitors keep coming back.
Here are the four things you should look for in a web hosting provider before purchasing:
- Cloud Hosting: Cloud Hosting is the future of web hosting, and you should always look for a provider offering this type of infrastructure.
- SSD or NVMe Drives: If a web hosting provider does not offer either, you should not consider them.
- LiteSpeed or NGINX web server: These are designed with performance and speed in mind and will contribute to your website’s loading speed. Both of them offer web server cache, which will not only make the site faster but more stable when you have more concurrent visitors.
- Latest Available PHP & MySQL versions: If you have built your website using a PHP framework and MySQL, you should always look for a web host that offers the latest available versions.
Of course, these are only the speed and performance elements of a web hosting service that are not enough to make a concrete decision. Keep reading ahead to discover the other essential aspects of a good host.
Uptime & Reliability
No matter how snappy your website is, it is of no use to you if it is not up and running 100% of the time. The next important aspect we will cover is Uptime & Reliability because this can hinder your site’s long-term success by a considerable margin.
Imagine a situation where a visitor learns about your business from an online article or a search engine. He clicks on a link that should take them to your website, and they are greeted with a white screen or a huge error message. What are the odds of visitors sticking around or returning to the site? You guessed it – none.
When selecting a hosting provider, always ensure they offer AT LEAST a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This number is an industry-standard, and it will result in 9 hours of downtime throughout the entire year, which is acceptable.
It is worth noting that cloud hosting providers can boost this value to 99.99%, equating to 1 hour of downtime throughout the year, which is an even bigger reason to select a cloud hosting provider than a standard one.
Security & Support
Last but certainly not least, you should expect a web hosting provider to have excellent security and support.
Security is perhaps on par in terms of importance with speed when it comes to web hosting. Having robust security will make you more confident and give you the peace of mind to focus on your projects. Of course, a web hosting server cannot guarantee a 100% malware-free experience. However, it can cover a massive portion of it if the web hosting provider puts high emphasis on security.
No matter how great a web hosting provider’s security is, you should always look to harden your site’s security. You can achieve this by using plugins and modules (if such are available) or hiring a security expert to review the site and optimize its code for security.
Since you are dealing with software and hosting servers, you will face technical problems or inconveniences along the way. A web hosting company that offers support for their service will save you a lot of headaches and time. Another industry standard you should be looking for is 24/7/365 support. This ensures that no matter what happens, you can always rely on someone to assist you and get your services up and running. Another essential part of technical support is their responsiveness and ability to solve problems quickly. You can check if that’s the case by opening a live chat on the respective web hosting provider’s website and reviewing how the support agent replies and how he talks about the service they offer. A well-seasoned support member will answer clearly and be very knowledgeable about the service. They will recommend a suitable solution for your needs, signifying that they understand them. Picking the right plan could save you money in the long run and let you invest more in other areas, such as marketing and advertising.
Let’s sum up what we said so far about security and support.
- Pick a web hosting with robust security. The plan should include FireWalls, Malware detection, and Malware removal software.
- Pick a web hosting provider that offers 24/7 technical support.
- Make sure the support agents have a good awareness of the service. Test this by asking live chat questions and observing their responsiveness and answers.
Hopefully, our advice regarding security and support will be helpful for you. It should give you an idea when looking at these two specific aspects of the hosting service you are considering.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when selecting a good hosting provider, and we have barely scratched the surface. The valuable tips in this article should get you started and allow you to filter somewhat and make a conscious decision.