As any builder will tell you, if you build a house on poor foundations, it will fall. The same principle applies when building a website: here, however, the foundations are not reinforced concrete but the services of your hosting provider. A website its reliant on its hosting for its ongoing performance and success. Here, we’ll look at the criteria you need to look at when measuring the reliability of a web hosting provider.
1. The services you need
Hosting comes in a variety of forms and websites have their own specific needs. Finding the right host means matching these together. For example, if you run a WordPress website, you may want dedicated WordPress hosting which is designed specifically for optimising the performance and security of WordPress sites.
Look for a provider that offers all forms of hosting: shared, VPS, dedicated servers and cloud and which provides different solutions and packages for each form. You may need Linux or Windows hosting, business or reseller hosting, a choice between cPanel or Plesk control panels, the ability to choose the hardware spec of your dedicated server, want managed services or a bespoke enterprise-level cloud solution. A reliable host will be able to provide the solution which is tailored to your needs.
Availability, in web hosting parlance, refers to the amount of time that your website or application stays online. Also known as ‘uptime’, it is of critical importance because a website or app that goes offline loses you money and damages your reputation for reliability.
There are several reasons a website can go offline and not all of these are caused by poor web hosting. However, issues with hardware failure or overcrowded shared servers are within the remit of a web host and if these lead to constant lack of availability, your online venture can suffer as a consequence.
When it comes to availability, look for a web host that guarantees 99.9% uptime (the remaining 0.1% may be needed to update the operating system and patch vulnerabilities). At the same time, you can increase hardware reliability by opting for SSD storage, which uses solid-state rather than mechanical disk drives and is thus less prone to failure.
3. Technical support
While all web hosts will have a customer service department, what is more vital is finding a host that provides 24/7 technical support. There are many issues you can have with running a website and having 24/7 technical support in place means that, regardless of the time of day, an expert will be available to help sort the problem straight away.
Having a support team there for you in a time of need is one of the main reliability measures you should look for. For convenience, look for a support team that can be contacted by live chat, phone or ticket.
4. Money-back guarantee
People don’t always make the right choice with their hosting, nor are they always satisfied with the hosting services or support they receive. What makes this a bitter pill to swallow is that, should they change their mind, they find themselves out of pocket.
A reliable host is one which puts its customers first and which is so confident in the quality of its service that it offers a money-back guarantee. Here at eukhost, for example, if you change your mind, you can claim a full refund on all hosting services (except dedicated servers and licensed add-ons) within the first 30 days. Additionally, our Anytime Money Back policy allows you to claim a refund for any unused portion of your contract even after the initial 30 days have passed.
Cyberattacks have become a major threat to website owners with hacking, ransomware, malware, data theft and DDoS attacks leading to the demise of many businesses. One increasingly important measure of a web host’s reliability is how well they protect their customers from cybercrime.
Hosts should have security experts in place and provide them with the latest tools to do their job effectively. These should include the latest firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention tools and anti-spam email filters. They should also provide security services such as remote, encrypted backups, SSL certificates and email signing certificates.
Your hosting needs may change over time. If your website grows and gets lots more traffic, the hosting package you currently use might not offer sufficient storage, bandwidth, RAM and CPU resources to cope with your needs.
A measure of reliability is how quick and easy a host makes it to scale up to a bigger package or even to a different form of hosting solution (e.g. VPS, dedicated server or cloud). If this involves migrating to a different server, they’ll also help you with the process of migration so that the move is as seamless and undisruptive as possible. At the same time, scaling back to a smaller solution should be just as easy.
Every business will consider price when it looks to acquire the services of a web host. However, it is important to compare like with like rather than going for the cheapest deal. While affordability is important, so too is price stability and cost transparency.
A reliable host is one which makes its pricing completely clear and where there are no hidden extras. Additionally, although prices do change from time to time, a good host will try to keep increases to a minimum and implement them as infrequently as possible.
8. What others think
While web hosts can provide details about their products and services on their website, a true measure of their reliability is what their customers say about them. Online reviews and star ratings are highly valuable resources for owners looking for the best hosting solutions as you get the customer’s judgement on the quality of their services.
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