6 Questions to Ask a Web Hosting Company.

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November 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm #261

Key Master

6 Questions to Ask a Web Hosting Company

You’ve got your business license, your business plan and even your location. Now there’s just one more thing you need—a website for your San Diego business. But before you sign up with just any company to host your website, there are some important questions you need to ask the hosting company.

What exactly is a Web hosting company? It’s the company that provides the servers you’re your website is hosted on. You’ll want to pick a solid Web hosting company so you don’t have to worry about your site going down during key times like the holiday shopping season or when your business gets mentioned on the local news and users come to check it out.

So what do you need to ask before you sign on the dotted line? Here’s the scoop.

  1. What is your uptime rate? Typically Web hosting companies will have a 99.9 percent uptime rate, which means you can expect your site to be “down” or offline almost never. Don’t even consider any hosting company that doesn’t have this level of uptime.
  2. Will I have a dedicated or shared server? Of course, most Web hosting companies offer both options, but they should be able to advise you on which choice is best for your business depending on your needs. A basic website for a San Diego service business is probably fine with a shared server (which means your site is on the same server with other companies’ sites), but it you have a ton of traffic from the get-go (such as an ecommerce site, for instance), you might want to start with a dedicated server that’s only for your business. This will cost a bit more, but is worth it if it prevents other businesses from hogging your bandwidth.
  3. How many domains can I have?  If your business might eventually need multiple domains (or URLs), such as if you foresee adding new divisions to your business, or adding products to your services, or spinning off into a related business, ask if your Web hosting company offers the ability to add the new domain. Your monthly subscription level will determine how many domains you can have with one host.
  4. What publishing system do you use? Also known as a content management system, or CMS, the publishing system is the way that you will add new content to your site or update existing content. Find out what publishing system the Web hosting company you’re considering provides. If you have a preference or know that one CMS is easier to use than another, look for a company that offers what you want.
  5. How much transfer and disk space will I have? Monthly transfer and disk space are measured in gigabytes (GB). “Transfer” is the bandwidth or amount of data flow the Web hosting company allows between the server and your site visitors. For example, if you plan to put lots of videos on your website, you will need more bandwidth than if you just have some text. “Disk storage” refers to how much file storage space your data will use on the Web host’s servers. You’ll need more storage if you plan to have lots of multimedia or images on your site. Ideally, use a Web host that provides unlimited transfer and disk space so you don’t have to worry about running out.
  6. What type of support do you provide? If you have a problem with your website, how can you get support? You want to know that you can get help when you need it in an emergency. Does the Web hosting company offer phone support, live chat, email responses or all three? How fast can you expect to get help and what type of cost is involved? Support issues can be crucial if you transact business via your site, so be sure you know what you’re getting into. Read the Web hosting company’s terms of service carefully before giving them your business.
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