The chances of your website being attacked are about 100%. According to Security Week, about 18.5 million websites are infected with Malware at any given time, but the average website is attacked roughly 44 times each day. Over the past several years, some of the major companies that have been hacked include BlueCross, Home Depot, and Target.
Therefore, one of the biggest decisions your business might face, whether or not you are an online business, is choosing the right hosting provider.
Whether you have a blog, eCommerce store, or a company website, you’ll need reliable hosting. So, how do you find this? Unfortunately, just picking a host at random could lead to disastrous results. Instead, there are several things you should look into when choosing a hosting company for your business.
Choosing the Wrong Hosting Company
While there is no perfect solution to protect you from hacking, a reliable and reputable web hosting company will have certain security measures in place and perform regular backups just in case you become a victim. Choose the wrong hosting company, and someone else could soon be controlling your site.
When you hang a “closed” sign on your brick-and-mortar business door, you can’t make any money. The same thing happens when your website experiences frequent downtime. Amazon.com went down for over 30 minutes in 2013, and the company lost $66,240 per minute during this short period.
If you choose the wrong host, security breaches and downtime could be just the start of your problems. Websites that are slow or experience frequent or prolonged downtime can also see a drop in their search rankings.
When your site is down, searchers can’t read your awesome content, find your phone number, or click on a link to buy a product. Your rankings and even indexing by search engines could also suffer, which makes it even more important that you pick the right hosting company for your site.
How to Find the Right Web Hosting Company for Your Business
Before just signing up with the first hosting company you see or choosing the one that has the nicest ad, it’s important to do some thorough research. Chances are, you’ve worked hard to get your business to where it’s at today and would hate to make a mistake that could cost you precious revenue. Here are some things to look for and consider when choosing a hosting company for your business.
1. Understand Your Hosting Needs
Before you look for a hosting company, it’s important to assess what your needs will be with respect to your website and its traffic. For example, a site that hosts videos for 24-hour streaming will have more requirements than a standard WordPress blog with a few images. As you go through this exercise, ask yourself these questions:
- What type of website do you have? (blog, online store, video site, etc.)
- What is your site’s platform? (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
- Do you require specialized software? (java, php, etc.)
- What amount of traffic do you get or are you targeting?
- Do you plan to create more than one website?
2. Don’t Get Hung Up on Price
It might be tempting to choose the hosting provider with the lowest price, but you’ll still need to do your research. Note: not all cheap web hosts are bad. It’s a common misconception that “you get what you pay for.” In fact, there are some incredibly affordable shared hosting plans that also deliver reliable and quality services.
3. Choose the Right Hosting Package
Many small businesses choose shared hosting as a way to save some cash. This is an excellent choice in most cases but may not suit everyone’s needs. For example, if your website has a large data requirements or bandwidth needs, you might require a Virtual Private Server (VPS). This is slightly more expensive, but it provides faster performance and a few more features.
4. Ask About Security Features
Security breaches happen under the best circumstances, so you want a web host that will have your back. If you have any sensitive information stored in your database, make sure that the host offers Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to safeguard that data. Also, ask the host about a backup plan so that you can recover your site in the event of a possible hack. If you’re not comfortable with the host’s security features, it’s time to move on.
5. Test Customer Support
Everyone needs help at some point, and you want to make sure that your web host is going to be there when you need them. When you research a web hosting company, you can ask about support, but look for yourself. See if there is a button to “contact support” on their site. Is this feature available 24/7 or just during certain hours. How can you reach support? By chat, phone, email? Make sure that you will be able to get the help you need when you need it.
6. Read Some Web Hosting Reviews
Just about every business today is fueled by online reviews, and web hosting is no different. If you find a business web host that you are interested in using, research them by reading some third-party reviews. Does the company respond to complaints and, if so, how do they respond? This will tell you a lot.
7. Can the Host Handle Growth?
No matter what web host or hosting plan you choose, your business likely has the goal of continued growth. Make sure that you aren’t locked into a certain plan without the option to upgrade. Likewise, look for a hosting provider that is established and has the ability to handle a large customer without sacrificing quality services.
Your company’s web host is the power behind your business website. When a current or potential client wants to know more about your business or even make a purchase, they shouldn’t have trouble finding your site or getting it to load quickly.
Just as you would carefully select the location of your brick and mortar storefront, you should also take the time to wisely choose who will host your website. Fully assess your needs, do your research, and find a reputable and reliable host to be your partner.