What is hosting?
Hosting is space where your website lives ( and maybe your emails too ). It is essentially space on a computer in a data centre. Every website needs hosting but finding the right hosting for you can be a bit of a minefield. It’s just like buying a PC, you can get this model with this spec for this price but for a little bit more you can get a different spec.
Some hosting you can get cheaper for the first few months then it goes up and most don’t display VAT until you get to checkout. So that’s another 20% on top. Then some throw in a SSL for a year and/ or maybe a domain name.
Where can you find it?
A quick search online will bring up hundreds if not thousands of results all of which will claim to be the cheapest, fastest and best you can buy.
The proof is in the pudding as they say but at the same time you don’t want to be spending time setting up your site to find out the hosting is rubbish to then move your whole site to find out the next company is rubbish too. There are websites online that have reviews for different hosting companies which can help but you have to form your own opinion based on them. Reviews are great but you also have to remember some people have different expectations.
What makes a good hosting company
So for me what makes a good hosting company is the level of support I get as well as the reliability of the hardware. I fully understand that any server in the world can go down at any point ( how many times has Facebook or Twitter gone down? ). That is an issue but the main issue is if there is no communication from the host at all. Even just to say “there’s an issue” or “we’re working on this”. A website going down can have a negative effect on a business ie loss of sales. So keeping downtime to a minimum is key.
Who you gonna call?
Support is also important if your website is down and you need a helping hand.
I recently had a client who’s website was down and their hosting company wasn’t the most helpful. A lot of companies assume their customer has a fairly in depth level of knowledge. The website was down and she contacted GoDaddys support for some help. She knew she had a 500 error ( server error ) and GoDaddy confirmed that to her that and told her to look at her error logs to find out what the issue was. Which is kind of ok if the client knows how or the way to do this but if they don’t then they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
So the client contacted me for some help and she asked if I could essentially translate what the support had said. She wanted to sort the issue herself but the lack of support along with the panic of her online shop being down was obviously overwhelming. Big companies can offer cheap hosting but each customer is really just a number.
A small company can have a more personal approach. I already knew about this lady because I had given some advice and a quote for some work a month or so before this issue. So I already knew that she had just quit her job to be selling clothes online full time. It’s nerve wrecking starting a business especially when you’ve just taken the jump into making it a full time job.
I had fixed the issue within a hour and she was back online trading. It was something GoDaddy could of quickly and easily fixed or at least given the client a pointer to how to possibly fix the issue.
Don’t Get Stuck
When looking for hosting make sure it is easy to exit if need be. Some WordPress hosting sites make it difficult to move hosting once you have set up. For example they can restrict access to the database etc so if you want to move to another company it’s a bit more fiddly. So something to look into
Get in touch
If you need advice on hosting then let me know and I will help where ever I can.