Speed: There are a lot of things a website owner can do to ensure their website is loading as quickly as possible. They can make sure the website is fully optimized, ensuring that images aren’t too large and that there isn’t a lot of flash video that pops up as soon as someone lands on the site. But the speed of a website also rests largely with a web host. For instance, if a web host oversold space on a shared server that could cause websites to load slower or not load at all. And if the infrastructure of the server isn’t properly maintained, this could also greatly slow a site down.
While many think that a web host’s speed can’t be determined until that host has hosted a website, that’s not true. Reading reviews online and searching for speed tests on that web host can give a great deal of insight into a web host’s speed, helping website owners make a better choice.
Uptime: Uptime is simply the amount of time a website is up and running online. For every minute of downtime, or every minute the website can’t be reached by visitors it can lose new traffic, regular visitors and even sales. Downtime can happen for a number of reasons including a failure of the server or other network devices, human error on the part of system administrators, power outages, hacking attacks, and configuration changes that were not implemented properly.
No web host can guarantee 100% uptime, but the reputable ones will work very hard to get as close as possible to it.
Support: Support is one thing that many website owners just give a quick glance when looking for a new web host, but it shouldn’t be. This is a very important part of web hosting and you need to make sure yours is offering the best and quickest support possible. Imagine if your website does go down. You email your web host to ask what the problem is and two days later, after checking and rechecking only to find that your site is still down, you get an answer.
A short two days is a lifetime in the online world and if you use your website to run a business, it could mean the loss of a great deal of profit. Always pay close attention to the support a web host receives, and testimonials and reviews that speak to that support. If others have had problems getting a web host to take them seriously and respond to questions quickly, the chances are you will, too. And you and your website may pay the price for it.
Security: Unfortunately, there’s very little a website owner can do about the security of their own site unless they’re hosting it on their own web server; in which case, they’re not looking for a web host anyway. But the simple fact remains that if a web host gets hacked in any way, there’s a very real possibility that all the websites on that server will get hacked, too. That means losing valuable files, dealing with a website that’s offline and possibly even losing passwords, which could possibly turn the website into something else or have it deleted altogether.
The sad truth is that like with so many things controlled by the web host, there’s little a website owner can do about the security of their web host except familiarize themselves with a particular host’s security before signing on with them. This can also only be done by reading as many reviews as possible and getting the inside scoop from real people who have already used that host.
Scalability: Your website may be small now, but what if it grows in the future? Or what if you put up such a knock-out post that it goes viral and you suddenly have a huge influx of traffic? All of this sounds good, but it can work against you if your web host isn’t prepared for it. All website owners should have growth as one of their main goals and they need to make sure their web host is prepared for it with a variety of options the website can be moved to if it’s ever needed. As a bonus, the web host should also let you know when you’re nearing the limit on any resource and suggest that it’s time to invest in more resources.
Website owners always feel as though they have the world on their shoulders and that the entire responsibility of their website rests with them. But while it’s true that there are a lot of things a website owner can, and should, do in order to make sure their website is running at full efficiency and effectiveness, there’s also a lot a web host needs to do to contribute to that and support the website owner as best as possible. Before signing up with a host, read as many reviews and as much information as you can to ensure you and your site will not suffer for it.