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Things you should look for when you choose a web host

Your web host is what keeps your website live and accessible on the Internet. And if you want consistent, reliable access, you need to make an educated decision when choosing your host. So, as you’re trying to choose a web host, here are some things you should consider.

What type of hosting do you need?

Depending on your expected volume of traffic for your site, your hosting needs will vary. The basic types are:

  • Shared servers (low traffic). This is an affordable option, but has downsides. Since you’re sharing resources your site could slow down if another site on the server is experiencing heavy traffic.
  • Virtual private servers (mid traffic). Virtual private servers (VPS) provide a far more stable option for midsized business or small ecommerce sites. If you have a respectable volume of monthly traffic, this will probably serve your needs well.
  • Dedicated servers (high traffic). If you are a large corporation, or if you’re an ecommerce site with a high volume of visitors, you will probably want a dedicated server. They are more expensive, but have little downtime.

Make sure you choose a web host that offers the service you need for your website and isn’t trying to funnel you into a plan that won’t fit your needs.

What sort of support options are on offer?

When your website goes down, you want to get it up again as soon as possible. Avoid anyone who doesn’t offer 24-hour support with a fast turnaround. Ideally, they should provide phone support, email access, and online chat. You can even test their response time by sending an email with a few question about service. How quickly do they get back, and what is your experience with their customer service team?

Do you have room to grow?

You should have an understanding of how much storage and bandwidth you will need, and you should give yourself room to grow. Also see if your webhost allows for add-on domains and how well you will be able to upgrade your hosting as your website grows.

What security and backups do they have?

If you’re handing commerce on your site rather than through a 3rd party service, you will need SSL for basic security. Your host should also provide several lines of security to be sure your site stays safe. Also be sure they offer a backup service with automatic daily backups.

Who do we recommend?

We currently recommend Pantheon for our clients.

Published 09/22/16 by Laura Lynch