Your Website Host Matters – So Choose Wisely
Because of the sheer number of web hosting companies all vying for your business, choosing one can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Rather than conduct due diligence, many businesses instead make the fast and easy choice and opt for the web hosting company that has the lowest rates. Doing this can sometimes be a big mistake because while being cost-efficient is important, the quality of service you receive is equally important, if not more.
A good web hosting company must do more than simply provide bandwidth for web traffic and storage for your website files. Choosing the right web hosting company for your business can mean the difference between a reliable website that offers a satisfactory user experience or a website that doesn’t perform as well as it should. Consider the following when seeking a web hosting company for your business.
Know What Type of Hosting Plan Your Website Needs
In addition to the many different companies available to choose from, there are also different types of web hosting plans as well.
Individual Hosting Plan—One of the most popular hosting plans for small businesses, the individual plan enables web hosting for one website, with a limit on bandwidth and storage. The limits are typically not an issue for a new business, but as the website and website traffic grow, you may need to upgrade your plan.
Dedicated Servers—Ideal for larger websites that experience a lot of traffic, dedicated servers provide a business with their own server. These plans are significantly more expensive than an individual hosting plan but necessary to handle increased traffic and storage requirements.
Criteria to Look For with a Website Host
There are many criteria and features to look for when choosing a website host. Consider the following so that you can make an informed decision for the benefit of your company.
Website downtime can translate to lost business and a loss of potential customers and clients. The best way to gauge a website host’s server reliability is simply by reading the reviews. (You’ll likely learn plenty more useful information about the host as well by doing this so it’s highly recommended.)
Some of the features you want to look for in a website host include:
- Ability to add extra domain names
- Customized Dashboard Options
- Plugin Options
- WordPress Application Installation
- FTP / SFTP Access
- .htaccess File Access for easy large-scale website changes
- Shopping Cart and eCommerce Features
- Extra email accounts
- Site Backup ability
- Good Customer support options
How Your Website Host Can Affect SEO and Search Engine Ranking
In addition to features and reliability, another major concern you must consider when selecting a website host is how the host can actually affect the success of your website. Did you know that the website host can actually affect how well you rank on major search engines like Google and Bing?
It’s true, and one of the main factors influencing this is website security. No doubt you’ve heard plenty about how websites both large and small are hacked, shut down and even held for ransom by hackers and malicious malware. If a website host offers poor security for its clients, the websites are more vulnerable to attack as well as more likely to be attacked.
Look to see what type of website security is provided by the website hosts you may be considering. There may sometimes be an additional charge for advanced security features, but it may also be well worth it. You don’t want your website to be hijacked by hackers or have pornographic images suddenly appearing where product pages should be.
Don’t be afraid to contact support and ask questions about the security, whether or not all software is consistently kept up to date, if they scan regularly for viruses and malware, etc. Secure password storage is also important.
Google does, in fact, consider the security of websites when conducting ranking algorithms. It may not be a large factor directly affecting your ranking, but it is taken into account. Sites that can be easily breached, (and especially those that have already been breached) can suffer a ranking penalty. Additionally, if you are seeking to attract website traffic from a particular location, such as the United States, it is recommended that you utilize a website host that also has servers in the United States, rather than another country.
Websites that take too long to load can also be penalized by Google, and while the files and images you have on your site may contribute to slower loading times, the server speed can also be at fault too. That is another bit of criteria you may want to scan reviews for—if you see too many reviews mentioning slow load times, you may want to avoid that particular host.
So you don’t want to be spending a great deal of time, research and expense to develop amazing SEO on your site only to have it lose ranking due to a poor and underperforming website host. Subsequently, it is well worth the extra time it may take to thoroughly research different website hosting services to ensure that the host only helps your website, not hinders it.