How to Choose Your Perfect Web Host

Is your web host giving you hell? Or this is your first time looking for a web host to stick with for life?

Whatever your reason may be, a good and reliable web hosting service provider / company should make your life easy, give you peace of mind and above all, help you grab more visitors and convert more sales online. Want me to recommend a reliable web host of such caliber and profitability?

I’m hosting most of my sites with Host Gator now and my overall experience with them (the company and its staffs) is two thumbs-up. However, if you prefer to look for one on your own, then here I got some guidelines I hope you can take with you to help find a host that suits your taste and needs.

Monthly Hosting

Check to see if they offer monthly hosting plan or not.Eventually, yearly hosting plan is what you’ll go with since you’ll be managing your website for many years to come (unless you’re running a fly-by-night “business”), but the key is going on a monthly basis for the first month or two allows you to test run the system to see if you truly like it before you commit long-term.It’s like test-driving a car before you spend on it.

No doubt hosting yearly is a lot cheaper since this is always the case as the hosting companies would want to encourage their customers to go for that, but what if you go straight to sign up for a year, and after 1 or 2 months you found you don’t like it because their service sucks, or you’re suddenly struck by buyer’s remorse?

If you realize you don’t like the web hosting company for whatsoever reasons within their money-back-guarantee period (usually 30 days), then you’re still safe since you’re covered. But if you found that you don’t like it after the guarantee period, let me tell you, sticking with them for the next 11 months before your one-year contract with them ends is akin to living hell. I guarantee!

Yes, going for the 1 or 2 months hosting on a monthly basis at first may make you pay a few dollars more, but it’s really worth doing that test-drive since it’ll greatly reduce your risk of getting a crappy service, especially if you’re not using my best recommended web host.

Another reason why some companies only offer yearly hosting plan is probably due to lack of confidence in their service.See, companies like that generally will do everything they can to make you happy within their guarantee period, say 30 days, and once it’s over, hey hey… you’re dead meat for the next 11 months. Imagine ripping your hair out like this -> Conclusion is, reliable web hosting companies will offer different options such as monthly and yearly plans for you to choose from to express their confidence and gain trust. Keep that in mind.

Free Trial or Money Back Guarantee

Look for only web hosting provider with either free trial or money back guarantee, and preferably, backed by the recommendation of some experts you know of or someone you trust.

Take full advantage of that and mercilessly put their system to the test.Play around with their site-hosting / building features intensively to see if it’s the one you’re looking for, otherwise just switch without losing a single dime and yet gaining some good experience to help you in search of a more suitable web host.

Superior Customer Support

A good web hosting company should provide you with both superior pre- and post-sale customer support service. Not just either one of them, but BOTH.Look out for their online live chat support, phone support or email support, etc.If they only provide email support, try sending them queries. If they’re truly dedicated in their customer service, you’ll get a response fast with a satisfactory solution, usually within 24 – 48 hrs (1 – 2 business days) unless otherwise stated.

However, I’d suggest you to go with one that provides at least both email and 24/7 live chat support, so that you can quickly get a solution fast via a live support, round the clock.

User-friendliness of Control Panel

Apart from eating and sleeping, the control panel is the next BIG thing you’ll spend a lot of time with especially when you’re setting up and configuring your hosting account, managing, editing and transferring your files, customizing your site etc. It should be full of features and yet simple to use.

Building your website will bore you to death if the panel is difficult to understand and “play” with. Having fun in building a business online is as important as making money, otherwise, why bother?

You can only know if the control panel is good or not after you step in and start using it. So, take advantage of their free trial or money back guarantee to test this out and decide if you want to stay on with them or jump to the next better player.”You Get What You Pay For”This certainly holds true when it comes to getting a web hosting service.

You can’t expect to pay incredibly low but yet getting overly superior features and services. There’s a price to pay for better quality service. But it needs not be too expensive as well. If you focus too much on getting low price alone to determine your web hosting service, most likely you’ll get somewhat a substandard platform that gives you a combo of problems like overloaded servers, poor connections to the internet backbones, frequent downtime or little or no support, etc…Don’t get into such a mess just to save money. Some money cannot be saved, but it can be spent wisely.

If you want to cut cost and you’re not so demanding in having so much features for your web hosting, pick the basic hosting plan which you won’t have to pay more yet at the same time suffice your basic hosting needs. In fact, nowadays due to tough competition, some reputable hosting companies like Host Gator and Lunar Pages are giving away a lot more features at an affordable rate, so you can’t say you’re not getting enough to feed your hosting needs at a competitive rate, even with the cheapest shared hosting plan.

Your Website Uptime Should Be…

When some companies / providers tell you that they guarantee 100% uptime for hosting your website, they are BIG liars, RUN!Think about it. There are bound to have times when their servers are down for maintenance or hardware / software upgrading or infected with viruses or power failure, or earthquake that destroys the underground networking cable etc, so how can a hosting server be 100% up all the time?

Even if you see something like 99.999% (i.e. server downtime = 5.256 minutes per year) or even 99.99% (i.e. server downtime = 52.56 minutes per year) is simply hard to believe. Don’t you think the downtime is too ridiculously low to be true?

Even if they claim they have very powerful backup systems to keep your website up and running all the time, it is still NEVER possible. If you’ve been in IT support industry, you’ll know. Internet giant like Yahoo! Web Hosting can’t even promise that, can anyone?

Usually a server with an uptime of 99.8% (0.2% downtime) to 99.9% (0.1% downtime) is plausible for you to take up.Let me show you how to calculate and compare the downtimes (get your calculator ready).

1 day = 24hr x 60min = 1440 minutes, right?

So, if you have a 0.2% downtime, that means your website would only be down on an average of 0.2/100 x 1440 = 2.88 minutes per day, 0.1% downtime will be 0.1/100 x 1440 = 1.44 minutes. That’s great!

Imagine your website is making you money almost every few minutes and if your web hosting server uptime is only 99% (1% downtime), your website could be down for 14.4 minutes every day on average, and that would mean 5256 minutes (or 87.6 hours) per year.

That’s horrible! Imagine how much money you could’ve lost due to that? (Find out the exact figure you could have earned with a 99.9%-uptime web host)Therefore, picking the right host with a good uptime is extremely important. Rule out any hosting service with uptime below 99.7% (99.7% is fine). Too high an uptime is questionable also. Don’t waste your time and money on them.

For your extra info, some web hosts offer FULL refund if they do not meet their uptime promise while others may include extra security features like automated backups and balancing of server traffic among multiple computers, etc. That should be the kind of web hosting service you should go with if you want a guaranteed online success.

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