Do you want to start your own website? If so, one of the first things you’ll need to do is find a company to host your site.
The internet hosting industry is rapidly growing, and it’s getting harder to tell which company’s can be trusted and which cannot.
Luckily, we’re here to help!
In order to tell which company’s provide a reliable hosting service, be sure to be on the lookout for the six characteristics discussed below.
Types of Web Hosting Services?
First things first, you need to decide what kind of hosting service you need. There are a few different types of hosting you can choose from, including:
Shared hosting is the most affordable hosting option available.
If you go this route, you’ll be sharing a server with hundreds of other websites.
With shared hosting, you have limited access to server capabilities. Some limitations include:
- Only being able to upload files via SFTP or FTP
- No shell access
- Restrictions on the type of programs you can run
- Limits on your site’s database access
Despite these limits, most people find that shared hosting is sufficient for their website needs.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
The next step up is virtual private server (VPS) hosting. This hosting involves a simulated computer that runs on a box.
Hosting providers usually run several VPS instances on one box. But, the performance will still be better than shared hosting.
Before you jump on the VPS train, make sure you understand basic server management and maintenance.
If you don’t want to share with any other sites, you’ll want to look into dedicated hosting.
If you choose this option, you’ll have a physical server rented to you. The server is located in a data center, still, but it’s all yours.
You’ll need more advanced system management skills for this kind of hosting.
Finally, cloud hosting is a good, scalable option.
Cloud servers run on public clouds like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.
The benefit of these servers is that hosting providers can easily upgrade your storage or ability to handle traffic surges since nothing needs to physically be moved or rebuilt.
Characteristics of a Reliable Hosting Service
Once you choose the type of hosting you want for your site, it’s time to get more specific.
Keep these characteristics in mind to make sure you’re working with a reliable hosting service.
1. High Uptime Scores
Whether you’re in the fleet management business or want to start a personal blog, server uptime matters.
If you want to have a successful website, people need to be able to access it at any time, day or night. Look for a web host with high uptime scores to help you give the people what they want. Otherwise, they’ll go elsewhere, and your search engine rankings (and sales) will suffer.
When we say high uptime scores, we mean really high. If a hosting service’s scores fall below 99 percent, don’t work with them.
There are a number of online reviews out there that will help you determine a hosting service’s uptime scores. If you’re already working with a host but are considering switching, you can also use free server monitor tools to track the uptime score.
2. Easy Upgrading Options
When they’re first getting started with their website, most people do just fine with shared hosting. But, what happens when your site starts to grow beyond what the shared server can support?
A reliable hosting service will make it easy for you to upgrade to virtual private or dedicated hosting if you need to.
Even if your site is small right now, make sure you have room to grow. Find out about upgrading options before signing up for a plan.
3. Regular Server Backup
You should also find out how often the company backs up their servers.
Of course, if you’re serious about keeping your information, you should be backing up your posts regularly yourself.
But, it also helps to know that the host is also doing frequent backups.
Most reliable host providers do full backups about once a week. They often rotate the day of the week when they do the backup to help keep your information safe.
If you can’t find out how often the host you’re considering does backups, or if they say they don’t do them very often (or ever), look for a different host.
4. Affordable Prices
Price matters, too.
Luckily, hosting is often quite affordable, especially if you’re using a shared server. It shouldn’t be hard for you to find a reliable hosting service that costs around $10 per month.
Be wary of totally free services, as these usually are very limited and can be difficult to work with. It’s worth it to pay something each month for a better hosting experience.
Keep in mind the fact that renewal costs can often be expensive with shared hosting. This is the trade-off that comes with low monthly costs when you first sign up.
It can be hard to avoid these renewal costs unless you’re willing to jump from host to host every couple of years.
5. Good Refund Policy
What happens if you end up not liking your host? What if you find a better deal?
Most hosting services offer a trial period when you first sign up. Be sure to ask exactly what the parameters of that trial period are. For example:
- Do you receive a full refund if you cancel within that trial period?
- What is the company’s refund policy after the trial session ends?
- What cancellation charges — if any — will you have to pay?
If a company charges high cancellation fees, run the other way. In most cases, if the company provides truly reliable hosting, they’ll be willing to guarantee their service.
6. Reliable Technical Support
Things are going to go wrong from time to time, even when you’re working with the most reliable hosting service.
The key is to find a provider that will help you as soon as an issue arises.
Does the company offer 24/7 support? How long does it take to get ahold of someone on the phone or to get an issue resolved? Do they only offer phone support, or are there email and live chat options as well?
You’ll also want to find out where the company and the company’s support team are based (they’re not always in the same location).
Need Help Monitoring Your Site?
A reliable hosting service will help you keep your site up and running. But, you also shouldn’t rely solely on your hosting service to make sure your site is in good shape.
Start working with us at SiteUptime today to get access to a variety of affordable monitoring options.
We have something for everyone, including totally free plans to help you get started without any risk!
Want to know more about our services? Feel free to contact us today.