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One of the keys to starting up a small business in the modern economy is identifying the right web hosting provider. The key feature that most people seek out with a web hosting provider is the price, but we encourage you to cast a wider net if you want to find a successful provider. Finding the most well rounded hosting companies for your small business is the best way to approach the matter. Find the host that delivers what you need – and is not just showcasing a low price tag. Here is a checklist to help you choose the best provider.
- Know Your Needs
Understand what you need from a web hosting partner. What type of site will be hosted, will you require Windows applications, and is there some special software you require? When you know the specific features that matter to you the most, you will find it much easier to eliminate providers that do not offer these features. Finding a list of the top ten or twenty providers is not hard, but knowing the one that can serve you is a challenge if you have no clue what you need from the hosting provider.
- Investigate the Host
Beyond features, you must also investigate whether the host has a history of reliability. Investigate the hosts’ reliability and uptime scores, with anything lower than 99 percent being unacceptable. It is easy to get charmed by the features page on the web host’s website, where they talk as though they are the best provider in the world. But what if the host’s uptimes are lower than 99 percent? What good are all those features if your site would be down for a few hours each week? No online company can afford unreliability, especially a startup.
- Assess All Features
It is very important to know the features that a web host is offering. This point ties into the first part, where you must know your needs. When you know your needs, you can cross-check that list with the list of features that each web host is proclaiming on their site. Whether it is their server upgrade options, software choices, speed, data allocation or some other features, identify what you need the most and choose the host that provides it all!
- Identify Price Points
If you have gone through the first three points, you have probably found at least three or four hosts that offer what you are seeking. Now we can take it down to price. Identify how much you must pay when you sign up with the host, and what it costs to renew each year. Think of your web host as a medium-term arrangement, which is more than a year. If there is a host that has a high startup cost, but the renewal fees are very low, it is not a bad idea to go with that choice. Another aspect to the costs of a web hosting provider that you should know about is the refund policy. If a host will make it hard for you to cancel your contract, or does not offer any trial period, you may want to steer clear.