Web Hosting and What You Need to Know
There are a ton of web hosting companies — like 15,000 of them — and they've all got so much of the same specs and strange technical verbiage, how do you know which one to go with? I mean, sometimes you opt to let your web designer / developer chose it for you, something we prefer to do at m+j design, as we have 3 different dedicated options for our clients. But sometimes you want something easy you can personally maintain. So how do you weed through all those options and chose the best fit for you and your website?
A site we trust, reviews.com has narrowed down hosting options to the top 3 and we think we agree with their suggestions. Especially their suggestion for Best Overall, InMotion Hosting. Which is a company we could and have recommended. Reviews.com narrowed down all these contenders into 4 metrics which we also value when we suggest or purchase hosting for our clients...
1. Hosting has to be able to have a clear upgraded path
Meaning when you first start out with your business website you might have a shared hosting plan, but as your brand takes off and you get more and more visitors to your site you are going to need more capabilities from your host and probably going to need to upgrade your plan to a Virtual Private Server or a Dedicated Server.
2. Servers MUST have an up time of 99.95% or higher
That sounds like a lot, but having your site down for a fraction of a percentage point can make a big impact. If your customers rely on your website to do business with you, you’ll lose money and SEO rankings.
3. Confusing Websites and Hard to Find Pricings weren't someone we picked
I'm not a developer, I'm a designer and I know most people, and most of our clients or potential clients don't know half the words on these confusing hosting sites, cause I don't! I can't be expected to guess pricing after hunting through confusing sites with strange jargon. I just want to see my options, make my best educated choice and purchase the product.
4. And Finally GOOD customer service
It’s Murphy’s law: Something is going to go wrong eventually, no matter how awesome your web design and development team is, and when it does, you want your hosting provider to be easy to reach, easy to work with, and extremely helpful. I personally hate contacting customer service. Maybe it was too many hours arguing with Comcast, but I want my customer service, when I DO have to contact them to be reachable anytime, any day, and so incredibly helpful they can walk me, (the designer, not the developer) through the issue and help me resolve it as quickly as possible. I don't want to feel like a beginner asking beginner questions, even though I am. And I expect my customer service to understand and address this, making me feel at ease.
So while we do agree with reviews.com that the suggested hosting provider, InMotion ranks high. To really make your choice easier let me suggest that you first and foremost, figure out exactly what you want from your website. I wrote a handy dandy check list here, which I suggest is a great place to start. But also consider hiring a professional, like us! m+j design. It might not be the hardest thing to build a website especially if you’re building on top of a pre-existing design or template. But if you want something specific — a custom look or cool module and really want to set your brand apart — a web designer or developer should be your first call. This should be part of your planning phase: Working with a designer or developer before you buy web space will give you a chance to hammer out exactly what you need your site to do and how you’re going to make it work. -Margaux Verdera