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6 Things About Web Hosting Your Boss Wants To Know

February 21, 2014

Filed under: Website

If you do a Google search for “web hosting providers” you’ll be presented with over 33 million results, more acronyms than you can poke a stick at and pricing that will range from a few dollars all the way up to thousands per month. So how do you choose the right host for YOUR website?

We invited, Peter Newsome, from Ingenuity Web Hosting, to take us through the variety of factors to consider when choosing a web host. With over 14 years experience in the web hosting industry, Peter has helped all manner of businesses, from small start-ups to large international companies, establish a successful online presence.

Quick Overview
Let me take a step back from technology for a moment and go on a tangent about cars. My partner has an all wheel drive station wagon. It’s safe, great for transporting the kids around, you can fit a lot in it when you go on holidays and she loves it. My brother on the other hand, has no kids, doesn’t go anywhere without asphalt, is a bit of a show-off and likes to get from A to B quickly. He drives a sports car. And my grandmother that really only uses the car to pop out to the shops and back, drives a little hatchback.

My partner would argue that her station wagon is far more practical than the sports car. My brother would say his car is better than both the wagon and the hatchback and my grandmother wouldn’t be able to park the wagon or handle the speed of the sports car.

Each car is equal parts perfect yet different depending on who is behind the wheel and the same applies to websites and web hosting.

When I sat down and started writing this post, I was going to talk about the difference between Gigabytes and versions of PHP, but unless you know what all that means, it wouldn’t be much use. Instead, let’s talk about the types of things that may be important to you and then we can work-out which host could better serve your needs.

1. Features
The first question to ask yourself is how technical you are. If you’re a bit of a geek (and I say that with love, because I am) and terms like DNS and MySQL don’t scare you, then you’ll probably want a provider that gives you all the tools to manage the services yourself. Control Panels, Admin Interfaces and SSH access is the type of stuff that turns you on so you can configure everything yourself. If you’re really hard-core, you might even prefer a VPS where you can configure your own Operating System on.

2. Customer Support
If the previous paragraph seemed like it was written in a foreign language (and to be honest, it sort-of was really), then you’ll want a provider that manages all that for you. A company where you can pick-up the phone and talk to any time and who can either explain what everything means and how it works, or better yet, just do it for you. 

Ask yourself the following, when short-listing your potential host:
•    Can I find a phone number for my potential host on their homepage?
•    Will I be put on hold for 45 minutes before I get an opportunity to speak with someone?
•    Can they be able to help me OR will I be transferred to a different department?

3. Price Versus Performance
Cost should not be your only consideration. Although, in today’s economic climate, there’s nothing to be ashamed of by wanting to find the most cost effective provider. When evaluating cost, it’s important to understand the difference between features and service. Some providers will “jam-pack” their hosting plans with features for just a few dollars a month. In many cases, these “features” aren’t backed by the best “service”. Sometimes things will run quite slowly. However, when there is an issue, it could prove challenging to get in touch with the host to fix it.

It is crucial to work-out how important your website is to your business. Perhaps you don’t gain a lot of enquiries from your site and it’s really just there as a one-page online brochure. You may not care if it’s offline some of the time. But if your website is a critical part of your business, the questions you need to ask yourself is: Is it better to save a few dollars? Or go with an option that may have less Gigs and cost a little more, but provide a much greater level of service and support?

4. Hosting Location
Location is another big factor. Often it is cheaper to host overseas, but if the bulk of your customers are based in Australia, it’ll take longer for your site to load if it’s sitting on a server in the US. Then there’s the time differences and support aspects that I mentioned above. Another factor that a lot of business owners fail to realise is that location can also play a part in how well your website appears when you search for it online. If your business is based in Australia, but your website is sitting on a server in the Ukraine, it can send mixed signals to Google – and believe me, Google do look at things like this.

5. Ownership
Find out who owns what. It can be quite easy for web development agencies, search marketers or anyone with a bit of IT knowledge to purchase a reseller plan from a larger provider and brand it as their own.  This isn’t a problem, until there IS a problem and you discover that the person you pay each month for hosting, isn’t actually the one providing the services.  Not only can this cause red-tape issues should you decide you’ve had enough and attempt to contact the larger provider directly, it could generally slow down communication by putting too many layers between you and the system running your site.

6. General Things to Ask Yourself
Which category do you fit into?
•    The tech savvy person who is happy to save a few dollars by rolling up your sleeves and configuring the services yourself?
•    Are you an individual who would like the service provider to just take care of it for you?
•    Are budget and features really important and you can cope with a little less service?
•    Are you targeting an international market so it makes sense to have some services overseas or would it be smarter to keep everything in Australia?

Every business is unique and as such, different hosting providers will cater for the different needs. Just think about what is important to you, and instead of focusing on all the tech jargon, take the time to talk with your potential hosting provider to ensure they are a good fit for your business.  

Have you had a good experience when working with web hosting? Let us know your experiences in the comments!

SPINN Media is proud to be associated with Ingenuity Web Hosting. They were established in 2003 and provide Australian web hosting, email hosting and domain registration services from its offices physically located in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Collectively, their team have over 40 years of web service experience with proficiencies in programming, scripting, database administration, corporate networking, system administration, website development and more.


Tags: google, web, website, web hosting, website hosting, customer service, hosting, pricing plans, price, cheap hosting, php, mysql, service & support, service, support, vps, operating system, web hosting providers

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