When it comes to picking a website hosting provider, there are many seemingly contradictory things to consider. How do you know that the website hosting provider that you are picking has the features that you need and want? What types of features should you look for in a web host?
You want to get the most features for the lowest amount of money, but price should not be the only driving factor in picking a host. Here are 5 things that you want to consider when picking a hosting provider:
- You want 99.9% uptime guarantee. Yes, I realize that it seems somewhat redundant, but a lot of hosting providers will not specifically guarantee this. You want to make sure that they have redundant power supplies, backup generators and are in a secured facility.
- You want to have cPanel. Which stands for control panel, which is an application that lets you manage and control all aspects of your site. Not all hosting providers give you cPanel, so you need to make sure and ask for it before making a decision.
- You want to have fantastico scripts. Fantastico scripts has the installer scripts for all the major applications that people use on their websites. With fantastico you can usually install a Content Management Solution (wordpress, drupal, etc), a forum, all with one click.
- Do they have 24/7 tech support? Is it included in the hosting price? Is the support via chat, phone or email? If it's 2 in the morning, and you bring down your site because you were doing things in your MySQL databases, you want to know that you can call / chat or email someone at any time of the day or night for help.
- How much bandwidth will you have? Some hosting providers are now offering unlimited bandwidth, whereas others offer metered bandwidth. Make sure that you buy enough bandwidth to sustain your site, but not so much bandwidth that you'll never use it all.
Bonus Tip Find out about data backups. Does the webhost perform regular backups of your data or are you responsible for backups? In the event of a catastrophic event, think hurricane Katrina, you want to be sure that your data is safe and secure.
There was a case in Texas where the driver of a van lost control of the van and drove through the wall of a webhosting provider damaging some server racks that had customer data and websites on them. The hosting provider was in charge of backups, and because of their uptime guarantee none of the customer sites on the affected servers went down. You want service like that.