Just like many other things, choosing a web hosting plan can be quite daunting especially if you are running a website for the first time and you do not have much knowledge about web hosting. With hundreds of web hosting plans out there with different features, it is vital to know how to cut the jargons and make an informed decision.
Selecting the wrong hosting plan can be such an expensive mistake, not only will it make you spend more on features you do not necessarily need but you can lose visitors to your site due to lack of certain important features and due to unreliability. The following are the main features that you should consider when choosing a web hosting plan.
You should look at the usability of the web hosting plan before committing. This can significantly affect you especially if you are new to hosting and do not have much technical or coding knowledge. If you would like freedom to customize your hosting options as well as your website, ensure that the hosting plan has usability features such as Plesk, cPanel, ISPConfig or ispCP.
These features allow you to easily and quickly make changes to the website without hiring a professional web developer. Also you can set up and customize your site if you are unfamiliar with file transfer protocol (FTP).
If you want to upload files from a computer to the website such as logos and header images, ensure that the hosting plan provides access to file transfer protocol.
Additional features increase the cost of the plan but they are worth it especially if you are hosting a business website. Some of the additional features the hosting plan should provide include email capability that is, the ability to create an email address that is yourname@yourdomainname which makes the business to look more professional.
Be sure to also check the number of email addresses the plan provides as well as whether you can be able to set up auto responders or use email alianses. The number of files you can receive, send or store on the email server is also an important features that you should check if it is offered in the hosting plan.
If you plan to run a type of ecommerce site where customers will make or process payments or where they will be sending personal information through the website you should check if the hosting plan offers a secure server using https:// so that customers can securely carry out transactions from the website.
Without a secure server, customers will be hesitant to perform any financial transition in fear of being victim of cyber crimes. Also check for encryption capabilities to further enhance the security of information being sent through your website. Although this feature will cost more in the short time, leaving customer’s information unsecured can affect your income and damage your reputation with time.
Another feature to look for in your web hosting plan is the access to server logs and other reports about your website activity. The reports aid in the marketing efforts as you can check where the traffic is coming from and which marketing mediums are providing the expected results. A good hosting plan should provide statistics and details on how many people visit your website and within what time frame.
No matter how good the web features are or how reliable the hosting company is, there will be a time when something will suddenly go wrong or you may just need to ask a question. During that time, you will want a dedicated customer service team to answer all your questions failure to which you will be left with a non-functioning website until you are able to fix the problem or even move to another host.
When choosing a hosting plan, check how reliable their customer support is. Do they have a live chat and how long do they take to respond to emails or phone calls? Chances are you might never need to contact a the customer service team especially if you choose a reliable hosting plan but you certainly do not want to realize that it does not exist when you have an emergency with your website.
In most cases, the plan has adequate space for your website but you should ensure that you can increase the space when need be. A hosting plan with bandwidth restrictions can prevent the ability of the visitors to your website from uploading or downloading data which is inconveniencing and will certainly reduce traffic to the website.
The web load speed is very important especially in an e commerce website. If it takes too long for the website to load, the visitors will get impatient and move to another faster website. Therefore, when comparing a web hosting plan, ensure you ask the web host the type of internet connection used to be sure that it will give you a high speed connection.
Reliability of the hosting company providing the hosting plan is another essential feature to consider when comparing a hosting plan. Check the length of time they have been in business, their back up and data retrieval practices and their percent of uptime.
A high per cent of downtime will lead to loss in business, therefore, ensure that the hosting company is reliable before committing to a specific hosting plan. Check the testimonials and customer satisfaction on the customer’s website to get helpful information on the reliability of the website.
Though it is not the major consideration, cost is vital when choosing a web hosting plan. Similar to other things, you will always get what you are willing to pay for, therefore, cost is only one of the factors to consider when choosing hosting plan among many other factors.
Also, you should avoid the temptation of choosing the cheapest plan for a start then change later as it can be quite expensive and unreliable. Choose a hosting plan that is within your budget and one that suits the purpose of your website best.