Your website is an important part of your business. For some businesses, their website is their business. Therefore, it’s critical that businesses (especially small businesses) choose their web hosting company carefully. In this article, we explain what you should look for when choosing a webhost for your website.

If you own it, own it.
It’s your website and you’ve paid for the domain name, so make sure you own it and are listed in the registrar as the owner of the domain name and any other domain name you are using for your business. Some web hosts will “hijack” your domain name, registering it under their name, which makes it very difficult to manage if your relationship with that web host goes sour.

Find out who you’ll be sharing bandwidth with.
Unless your website is being hosted on a dedicated server (all by itself), your web host company will have your website on a shared server.  That means their other clients will also be on that piece of hardware, usually sharing the same hard drive space. That’s not usually a problem, but you need to make sure they guarantee a certain amount of bandwidth for your website – in other words, they should let you know how much “transfer” of data your website produce each month. If they offer unlimited bandwidth, be suspicious. There’s no such thing as unlimited bandwidth. Everyone has to pay for bandwidth in some fashion.

Also – and this is very important -ask to see a client list if they publish one. Find out who will be sharing your server with you. Some web hosts do not adhere to an Acceptable Use Policy, meaning they may host websites that have pornographic or illegal material. If those websites are shut down for some reason and you are sharing that server  – your website will be down too.

Play it safe.
Plan for the worst case scenario and ask about the web hosting company’s backup plan. Do they offer free backups? How often is your website backed up? Can you back it up yourself? Is your data (email addresses, online orders, etc.) backed up securely?

Insist on access.
At Boone Digital we recommend that our clients have some access to their website. Afterall, it is THEIR website. Some web hosts will deny access to their servers via FTP, Shell or other common access points. These web hosts are called “closed hosting shops.” They may cite security as the reason for being closed. However, if managed correctly, a website can be accessed securely without danger to any sensitive data. Insist that you can get to your website, preferably by FTP.

Pay attention to customer service
Most true web hosting companies are interested one thing – volume. They want to aquire the most websites they can and charge for hosting month after month, with little or no interaction with their customers. As a result, their customer support is often very poor. They don’t want to be bothered with helping you, they just want your check to arrive each month. Check out their customer service by asking around or by reading online reviews.

At Boone Digital, we’re not a traditional web hosting company. We host our client websites that we have developed, designed, or manage. As a result, we have a vested interest in keeping our clients happy. We expect phone calls and emails from our clients, and we NEVER charge for customer support hours. We’re interested in developing a relationship with you and your business, in becoming your IT or Web professionals.

These are a few of the most important things to look for when shopping for a web hosting company. Contact Boone Digital to speak with us about web hosting or any other issue regarding your website and business.