Not all web hosting is created equal. Not only are some hosting providers more reputable and reliable than other, but some hosting provider excel in one kind of hosting, but not others.
That being said, the rise of cloud computing has brought hosting prices down to an all time low. But when everyone is providing cheap webhosting, how do you choose the right host for you?
Well, there are a lot of factors that can impact the kind of hosting you need. But regardless of what you’re building, there are a handful of fundamental features that any respectable web host should offer.
1. Around the Clock Support
Let’s face it: we all make mistakes. And sometimes, those mistakes are big ones. So something you should expect from your hosting provider is 24 hour support. This means both tech and customer service.
Just in case a database gets wiped or the wrong folder gets deleted, you want to be able to reach someone any hour of the day or night and have your servers rolled back. Similarly, if you’re having a problem getting your app to work, you want to be able to reach someone who is familiar with your server configuration.
2. Nearly 100% Uptime
Of course, nothing works all of the time. But it is 2011, so it’s not unreasonable to expect 99.99% uptime – and at a reasonable rate.
So before you invest with a hosting provider, make sure you know your hosting needs. Estimate the server loads your site or app will require, and consider the bandwidth and storage you’ll need. Then look for a hosting provider that can offer you that capacity with a guarantee of 99.99% uptime.
3. Load Balancers
A key component of reliable uptime is infrastructure, and part of that infrastructure is load balancers. Load balancing entails multiple servers being available to handle requests for one website or app. Consequently, if any particular server is overloaded by a spike in traffic, other servers can step-in to answer server requests, and the performance of your site/app doesn’t suffer.
On the user end, moreover, load balancers address serveral issues: First, they ensure uptime, demonstrating that your application is trust-worthy and stable. Second, load balancers ensure that users can interact with your site or application when they need to – for example, when user-demand peaks and its most important that you application functions.
4. Dynamic Scalability
There are two things implied by “dynamic scalability”. For starters, you should be able to scale resources up or down as needed. Specifically, every site/app goes through cycles and growth spurts, so you will want to be prepared to handle those fluctuating hosting needs.
But you’ll also want to scale your billing according to fluctuations and trends. Just consider how scarce resources are in a start-up. Basically, if you don’t have to invest in hosting infrastructure that you don’t need at this exact moment, you can free up capital that can be invested back into your core business. In a nutshell, dynamic scalability means scaling your investment up and down on a month-to-month basis according to your business needs.
Choosing a Quality Hosting Provider
Once you identify a couple hosting providers with the right infrastructure, you’ll have to make a choice. At this point, you want to look at two things: (1) pricing, and (2) and user reviews.
On the pricing side, you’ll want a host with competitive rates. But if they’re a lot cheaper or more expensive than the competition, there’s probably a reason. Remember: you get what you pay for.
But don’t forget to check out user reviews. Hosting forums and blogs are full of them. So Google around and make sure that there aren’t any skeletons in their closet.
Finally, don’t be shy to call up your hosting prospects if you have questions. Don’t leave anything to chance (you business might rely on it). And if you can’t get answers to your questions, move on.
Overall, your business will need 4 things from your web host: (1) 24 hour support, (2) nearly 100% uptime, (3) the versatility to roll with the traffic, and (4) the flexibility to adapt to your business needs on an as needed basis. With these four features, your business will be able to focus on its core product offer, and not lose resources worrying about networking.
Author:- Alicia Farah Osta writes for A Small Orange, a leading provider of quality hosting which offers a customer-focused approach to its products, services and support. A Small Orange works with developers, SMBs, and large business alike to provide hosting packages that fit the unique business need of its clients.