7 Essential Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

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So what’s the easiest way to find a hosting provider for your website?

People normally look for easy ways to do things. Internet made finding things easy. Google made it easier. So right now, the easiest way to find a web hosting solution is to google it. You can search for either ‘the cheapest hosting provider’ or ‘best hosting provider’ or something like that. But the catch is that what you find might not always be the best deal for you.

When it comes to hosting your website which potentially carries the future of your business in it, you should be a bit more careful.

Finding a hosting provider is easy. Finding the right one is a challenge.

If you can nail the right hosting provider, your website will be able to take your business to new heights. Downtimes, slow performance etc. won’t be blocking your way.

Rule 101 to nail the right hosting provider – Do not settle for anything less than that which will truly get the most out of your website.

Here’s one way to find the right provider – Ask questions. Their answers will tell you whether they are good as they claim to be.
 

1. What’s your security policy?

 
Their answer should include the security measures they employ to protect the data. Each type of hosting package, may it be shared, cloud or dedicated, will have security features unique to that package. They should be explaining it specifically. You should also ask them how often they do anti-malware/anti-virus scans.

If you are running an eCommerce website or any website that handles sensitive customer data, an SSL certificate is recommended. Those hosting providers who offer SSL certificates should make their way up your list.
 

2. How reliable are your servers and what can you say about your uptime?

 
When you approach hosting providers for their services, your catchphrase should be “Downtime is a No No”. After that you can ask them about their server reliability. Their answers should indicate that they have stable network connections with a 99% or more uptime. Below 99% uptime is not recommended. A web hosting operating 24×7 with an uptime score of 99.5% is a great deal.
 

3. What’s your backup policy?

 
You may have heard of hosting companies offering regular backups. When you are about to hire one, you should ask them to define that ‘regular’ they are promising. Many companies back up the data once a day. Some more than once. But there are hosts that don’t actually perform daily backs. This question will let you know which category the host in question belongs to.
 

4. What if there’s a power outage? Will you be accountable for it?

 
Obviously there will be Yes and No answers. Regardless of what the answer is, you should keep pushing by asking them to explain. If the answer is and when they start explaining, inspect when the company holds themselves responsible and when they don’t.

It’s also wise to ask them if they can be flexible enough to amend this clause if necessary. This could be useful when there is a power outage due to factors beyond the host’s control. Ask them if they would charge you in such a scenario.
 

5. Is the service scalable?

 
Depending on the type of your business, your web hosting requirements will vary. Some could do well with a shared hosting plan while others may require dedicated servers. Ask the host about the web hosting services available, and then ask them about their scalability.

There could be policies for scaling up or down. If the hosting provider doesn’t give a lot of hosting options, you may have to leave your current host and find a new one that can properly accommodate your website without affecting its performance. Depending on whether your business shrinks or grows, you will need to scale the hosting plan appropriately.

This is why it’s best to approach a host who provides a range of hosting options that you can upgrade or downgrade to depending on your business requirements.
 

6. What are your customer support policies?

 
This is a question that you can ask both the host and their present or former customers. Technical support and timely customer service are very important factors that define the quality of a host’s service.

They should be quick to respond should their clients need help resolving a technical issue. Reliable hosting companies offer 24×7 customer support including holidays. Make sure to ask them about their response and resolution time.

Other customers of the host can give you a review of the host’s quality. Also, don’t forget to ask them how you can reach out to them when necessary.

And now for the last question
 

7. What if I am not satisfied with your service?

 
Ask the host if they have a trial package for you to test their service. If they don’t, enquire about their customer satisfaction policies and whether they provide any kind of guarantee for their services.

If you are dissatisfied after you start using their services, and you want to migrate to a different hosting provider, you need to make sure the hosting provider wouldn’t complicate the migration. You should know if they offer a refund policy and how they can help you move your stuff out to a different server.
 

End-note

 
As I mentioned before, it really is challenging to find the right hosting provider. The results are worth the time you spent researching. These questions can help you identify the host that’d be perfect for your business. However, it doesn’t mean that these are the only things you can ask a host related to the services they offer.

If you have more questions, feel free to ask them. They are obligated to answer your queries. Don’t take a call trusting their words alone. Check the feedbacks of their customers as well (Plan B). Good luck.

Written by Shibu Kumar

Shibu's expertise in Digital Technologies and his business forward approach has helped Verbat's customers derive significant results on Digital channels over the years. He is currently responsible for Global Marketing, Sales Support and Alliances. Shibu’s strong technology background coupled with his passion for B2B marketing places him in a great position to execute strategies in building brand awareness and market share for Verbat.

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