Businesses these days almost always have a website. Why? First of all, nothing convinces people that you’re an authentic business more than a professional looking website. These days, visibility on the web counts a lot more because people are keen on doing preliminary research. Secondly, you get to reach out to your customers and retain them with ease when you have a website that caters to all their questions and support issues. However, if one wants to pull this off well, you better make sure you have a reliable web host.
What is a web host?
A web host is the physical or virtual server where your website data lies. Most people make the common mistake that once they have a domain name, it automatically follows that they have a working website. To clarify, a domain name is merely a named means of pointing people to the IP address of the server where your data lies and that is the web host.
Choosing a web host
There are many things that would make a good web host. Although some of these web hosts are simply resellers of larger ones, there are those that have the right policies, personnel and engagement that make them the better choice. That being said, here are the things you need to check:
Of the bat, this is probably one of the most important things to check when determining if a host is reliable. Usually, hosts offer 99.9% uptime per month. This is equivalent to an allowable downtime of 43 minutes and 12 seconds in a span of 30 days. Hosts usually offer this because there are certainly things that are outside of their control which keep them from offering a 100% uptime guarantee. As such, those hosts that offer anything lower than 99.9% guarantee should be carefully considered. Any downtime that goes beyond their guarantee should warrant a refund, either partial or full.
RAID means a redundant array of independent disks. A host that has a RAID array is deemed much more reliable because your data is kept as the name implies, redundantly. This means that were any of their numerous hard drives to fail, your data will be intact because there are algorithms in place, such as striping or mirroring, to replenish it.
Forums for web hosts are commonly frequented by hosts and consumers themselves. Over there, you can read customer reviews as to how their experience with a web host has been. There are some forums, like webhostingtalk.com, where your review will need to be verified by a mod so as to keep false reviews from influencing others. This is usually done by asking the review poster their site’s address and cross referencing it with the host-in-question’s IP.
Research is ultimately the key to finding out the best hosts. You can better understand how a host performs by visiting forums where the CEOs themselves frequent like webhostingtalk.com.
This is another vital factor in determining if a host is reliable. If you are in the process of canvassing, simply check if their site has the functionality for live chat with a rep. Try to check it three different times of the day as well to be sure they don’t cover only one time zone. If you see that they’re responsive 24/7, that’s a good sign.