Companies, no matter how big or small, need an online presence to succeed in a highly competitive market. Online presence is a must because people now search online for products and services that they need. Any business with no online presence could hardly expect to get a fair share of the market.

Creating the business website is one time-consuming and daunting undertaking. It could also be expensive. But after spending so much effort, time, and money in designing the business’ website, the next important step is selecting the right Web host for your website.


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The first step in selecting the right web host is finding the Web host is checking out the different Web host providers and determining which one fits the needs of the website. A Web host might be the most reputable and famous but there is no guarantee that what they offer is exactly what you need.


After arriving at what appears to be an ideal Web host based on your needs, the next step is going through the different plans the Web host offers, and determining what are included in each plan. Going over customer reviews could be an eye-opener as the experiences of actual customers can give you a clear picture of what the Web host offers and what they can do to help you attain the objectives of putting up a website for your business.


Things to Consider in Web Host Selection:



Businesses who are putting up a website for the first time should take into consideration several things before finally deciding on a Web host provider. Some of the things to include the following:


⦿ Uptime – It is the amount of time that a server is up and running.
 
Uptime is measured regarding percentage, such as 99.9% uptime. Uptime is a measure of how good the Web host provider keeps its system up and running. It is important to find out the uptime guarantee a Web host offers because it will determine the kind of service you will be getting from it. Check also the refund amounts related to excess downtime as well as the incidents that are not included in counting downtime.


⦿ The physical location of data center 
The website owner must know the physical location of the Web host’s server. The website owner must find out also if he is given the option of choosing a location in case the Web host has servers in different locations.


⦿ Technical and customer support
The Web host provide technical and customer support to its clients. Find out first the kind and quality of support the Web host provides. The website owner must know the manners of getting in touch with the technical/customer support. The typical ways of getting in touch are through phone and email.  However, not all Web hosts provide technical/customer support 24/7 as some of them are available only during business hours. The website owner must also check what kind of set-up assistance is provided by the Web host without additional cost.


⦿ E-commerce features
For website owners who want to incorporate e-commerce features to their sites, there are various Web hosts that offer various services that will enhance the site’s productivity and security. Various e-commerce features are available in some Web hosts, such as image quality, alternative products views, zoom feature, customer review, live chat, product demos, integration with country’s payment options, and site security such as PCI compliance and SSL certificates.


⦿ Payment plans and renewal terms
A website owner may sign up for a one-year or a two-year subscription with the Web host with different payment options. Either the subscription fee is paid in full upfront or installment terms. First-time subscribers normally get a discounted rate. The website owner, however, must determine right from the start the terms of renewal when the initial subscription expires. He must find out the full ramifications of subscription renewal with the Web host.


⦿ Scalability potential
Small businesses usually start with shared server plans but may want an upgrade as the business picks up. Find out the scalability potential of your initial subscription with a Web host. There must be a contingency in place should the business needs to expand and decides to switch to a dedicated server. Find out if the Web host is capable of providing such scalable needs.


⦿ Hosting plan 
Website owners must be aware of the inclusions in an unlimited hosting plan if he is signing up for one. He must be aware that even the so-called unlimited plans have their limitations.


⦿ Dedicated hosting environment
If the website owner is considering signing up for a dedicated server, he needs to find out who is responsible for managing the server.  In most cases, the hosting provider fully managers and services the server but there are cases when a website owner rents the server but is responsible for maintaining the same, including the data. In the case of the latter, the website owner must be sure that he has the manpower and the expertise to manage the same.


⦿ Ownership and management of the Web hosting 
Any website owner who intends to do business with a Web host must be familiar with the host’s ownership and management. He must find out how long has the Web host been in business and if the business had changed ownership and management in the past years. A business with a constant change of ownership or management could be a red flag when it comes to its reliability in doing business.
 
⦿ Server upgrade protocols
Website owners who intend to sign up with a Web host must be aware of the host’s server upgrade protocols. He must find out if the Web host is periodically updating and upgrading its servers without adversely affecting its uptime. Find out also the time of the day or night when those updates are implemented as the schedule could adversely impact the operation of the website.


⦿ Hosting contract cancellation 
Anything could happen to a business operation. Business may suddenly go south, and the website owner may need to cancel the hosting contract. Before subscribing to a hosting plan, website owners must be familiar with terms, including the penalty, of early contract cancellation, including the period of notice required.


There is a lot more to consider before signing up for a Web hosting contract but it is always the best choice for the website owner to exercise his due diligence and study everything associated with Web hosting before putting his signature on the contract with the Web host.
 


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