Becoming a webmaster without any prior experience can be a challenge. You have to go over numerous things, small and big. From the design of your website to the user experience and all the way to selecting the domain name, there are many issues you have to sort out.
Even if you have made the most perfect of websites, you won’t be able to get it online until you have selected a web host for it. Now, there is no limit to the number of web hosting providers on the market, but not all of them are made equal. It is quite easy to get confused when face-to-face with the variety of options you have.
To help you out, here are eight factors you should be on the lookout for while choosing a web hosting provider.
1.) Customer/Technical Support
Quality support is a must, so you should first and foremost check the level of customer and technical support offered by a web hosting provider. The simplest way to do this is by calling them up at some ungodly hour or sending an email over the weekend. If they reply promptly, that’s a good sign. It means that you can count on them should some unexpected problem occur once your website goes online.
A solid online reputation is what separates the good from the bad when it comes to web hosting providers. You can check reviews and testimonials posted by the customers and also visit forums where the particular company is being discussed. This will give you at least some idea of how reputable your potential web host is.
3.) Refund Policy
The leading web hosting companies offer a money-back guarantee where you get a full refund if you are not satisfied with their services during a trial period. This shows that they have the utmost faith in their level of service. So, go through the terms and conditions as well as the details of your contract to find out if a refund policy is in place.
Perhaps the most important factor you should focus on while choosing a web hosting provider is a 99.5% or higher guaranteed uptime. You have to realize the fact that even 0.5% downtime could mean hours and hours when your website remains offline and inaccessible. So, make sure that the host guarantees you maximum uptime.
5.) Monthly Payments
Many web hosting providers require you to prepay the full year’s subscription before they take your website online. While yearly rates are lower, going for this option will tie you to the provider for a whole year. If you don’t have much experience of being a webmaster, it is better that you pay monthly. This way, you can get out of your contract if you are not satisfied with their services. Otherwise, you may have to make do with their services for a whole year before switching to a different provider.
6.) User Interface
You will be able to access your website files through the control panel. For a beginner, it is important that the user interface be simple, uncluttered and easy to use. You can ask the provider to give you a demo of the interface or send over screenshots. Most web hosts offer cPanel as a control panel, which is quite user-friendly and easy to use.
Bandwidth is an important consideration for webmasters who want to share rich media content, including pictures and videos on their website. The bandwidth offered by the web host determines whether or not your visitors will be able to view images and videos properly. This is why you should find a web host that provides sufficient bandwidth which fulfills your needs.
8.) Disk Space
Last, but not the least, the disk space your host offers has to be sufficient for your website. As you add content to your website, it takes up more space. Therefore, allowances have to be made for the future. It’s always better to have more disk space than you need as long as it is within your budget.
These are eight crucial beginner tips for choosing a web hosting provider. Follow them and you will hopefully be able to select the right host for your website.