How to choose a reliable web hosting provider

The internet is becoming increasingly significant in the modern age. Now an essential component of our lives and often the vital link between consumers and businesses, having your own website is an extremely useful tool which opens up avenues like e-commerce, increased visibility, and a platform for your own content.

But like all tools, in order for it to be fully utilized, you need to ensure the components of your website are tailored to suit you and your purpose. A vital part of this process is choosing the right, reliable web hosting provider for your website. Here are the rules you should follow to ensure you are choosing a reliable web hosting provider for your site!

One site host doesn’t fit all

The right website host depends on the kind of business you are building and the kind of traffic you expect. For budding businesses and personal portfolios, a shared hosting service could be the right fit for you as it is cheap and easy to maintain – you won’t have to manage other server-side tasks like server security or database maintenance.

Despite having to share server resources amongst several other sites, depending on the provider you choose, your site could still comfortably handle up to 40,000 visitors a month. For small to medium websites, it might be just what you need, offering different features such as e-commerce and website-building.

However, if you expect your traffic to grow fast and want to accommodate for future expansion, a VPS (virtual private server) host might be what you’re looking for. With the option to add additional computing resources, a VPS host offers flexibility and reliability, with the capacity to support a larger visitor base.

Still not satisfied? For maximum security and unrivalled access to server resources, choose dedicated hosting. For a premium price, you can enjoy the best features, best service, and best reliability – but this doesn’t mean you have to go for dedicated hosting – in many cases, shared hosting or VPS is more than enough to accommodate your website.

Server ralabilitity
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Don’t be tempted by low costs

While it is possible that cheap website hosting providers can deliver good value for your site, price should not be the priority in your search for a reliable web host. Make sure that you don’t get lured into choosing a host that is not right for your website based on its cheap costs!

Web hosts will have good reason to charge you for the service they provide – including server reliability and user options. We’d advise you against gravitating towards free web hosts – ask yourself why and how they can afford to offer you the service for free. Often the answer will be because they cut costs by reducing the amount of value you get from using their service. You should consider to look not only at costs but also at the hosting reliability, rating and reviews.

Check your web host’s backup frequency

As with all sites, your website is vulnerable to the failures of technology. Computer crashes, equipment malfunctions, or hacking breaches can all affect the content of your site. The frequency by which your web host backs up data is important in ensuring that your website can restore itself to its original state.

With the generally constant updating of websites, you’ll want to keep your website as recent and relevant as possible. Backups are a vital component to a web host’s reliability!

Look up your hosting provider’s uptime scores

The accessibility of your website is essential to its reputation and the maintenance of a connection between you and your audience. A key part of this is that you have a server with good uptime scores – meaning that it doesn’t crash or stop, essentially preventing your website from being accessed.

Most web hosting providers can boast uptime scores upwards of 99% – you should give anything lower a miss. Generally, an uptime score of 99.99% is the reliable standard but some premium services will go even higher. To ensure the claim your web host makes is legitimate, do your research – server monitoring tools can track your web host’s uptime.

Business and time management concept. Stressed business man look
Photo: OPOLJA, Bigstock

How responsive is the server?

Time to First Byte (TTFB) measures how quickly the server responds to someone clicking on your website domain. In the modern age of instant gratification, the speed of server response is vital to your website’s success – the slower your site takes the load, the more likely your visitor is to become disengaged.

Use one of the many free websites available to test the TTFB of different servers! This is key in ensuring you have a reliable web host.

Can you trust your hosting provider’s technical support?

It’s worth looking at the customer service support available for your web hosting provider. An important part of your web host’s reliability is their ability to answer your questions and provide advice when things go wrong on your server.

Whether this is through live chat, phone, email options depends on your preference. Do the research on what customers think of your hosting provider to make sure you’re getting the service you want!

Maximise the value for your site

You might be tempted to go for a web hosting provider which offers the maximum features and options for the best price but chances are this isn’t the best web host for you. Maximising value isn’t about the amount of features available, it’s about how useful those features will be to your website.

A few key features can be more important to your website than several others. Evaluate the importance of different features to your website and make sure you know what is needed to optimize the site you’re running. Once you do, you can narrow your selection by seeing which web hosts offer the necessary features and if they have a good reputation for doing so.

Choosing a reliable web hosting provider is essential for your website’s success and involves considering multiple factors. Good uptime scores, server responsiveness, and the security of your web host are key components to ensure web host reliability. From then on, the most important tip is to tailor your selection process to your website’s purpose and function!

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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