Designing and developing websites is acceptable more easier and more attainable thanks to an accretion array of web development tools and a growing demand for businesses and organizations to have an online presence. 

But award the right place to host your website can be a alarming task, abnormally as there are a number of acclaimed services, each with their own allowances and tradeoffs. You might end up paying too much for things you don’t need or missing out on things that are vital to your business.

Here are five questions that will help you appraise the casework of web hosting platforms and find one that fits your needs.

Which agreeable administering systems are supported?

One of the key things you should know before signing up with a web hosting aggregation is the agreeable administering systems (CMS) they support. Depending on your purpose and accessible assets, you might want to set up a WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal website. But your needs might shift in the future and you will need to alteration to addition CMS. 

“A good web hosting belvedere should allow you to set up any number of sites with the CMS of your choice in an easy-to-use interface like a step-by-step wizard,” says David Foster, a software architect at web hosting aggregation HostGator. “Ideally, it should have extra tools to help tailor your website’s anatomy to your specific needs—such as an ecommerce website or a altercation forum—and adapt it for your aggregation with basal effort, such as adding links to social, ads, RSS, polls, etc.”

HostGator supports Softaculous, an appliance that provides easy accession of more than 190 CMS platforms and scripts, including WordPress, AbanteCart, PrestaShop, Joomla, phpBB, Open Real Estate, and many more.

An important basic of any hosting annual is abutment for migration. Does it abutment appointment your website from addition service? Can it help you alteration from one CMS to another? 

“While automated clearing tools are a basic necessity, they’re rarely enough, abnormally if your website has been around for several years and contains legacy code and assets,” Foster says, adding that a good hosting belvedere should have abutment teams that can help smooth the clearing process.

How much customization do you get?

The granularity of access you get to website and server acceding can be acute when allotment a hosting service. Some companies accommodate basic site-level administering only, such as wp-admin access to WordPress websites. While this can be acceptable for very basic use cases, it will become a limitation when you want to expand the capabilities of your website according to your organization’s needs.

“Good hosting platforms should accommodate a host of access and customization levels to fit your needs,” Foster says. 

For instance, HostGator’s cPanel includes File Manager, and FTP access to the backend of your website. “These options make sure that you have all bases covered from simple to advanced,” Foster says.

Foster also suggests attractive out for more avant-garde appearance such as DNS, SSL/TLS certificate, and email hosting abutment to go with your domain. “This will give you a axial hub to manage aggregate that is accompanying to your website,” he says. “If you’re ambience up a new website for an accustomed business, the hosting annual should be able to accommodate certificates and DNS record administering with what you already have in place.”

What is the uptime agreement?

If you’re chief to make your website the main medium for your business, then uptime will be a major factor in allotment a hosting platform. 

“Say a hosting annual states in its arrangement that it will accommodate 99% server uptime acceding in their contract. This might sound like a fair deal, but what it means is that, in a year, they can get away with 1% blow after any obligations toward you; that’s ~87 hours—or nearly three days—of your website being aloof to your visitors!” Foster says. 

Otherwise said, if you have an boilerplate of 50 visitors per hour, that’s 4,350 lost visitors, and if you have a 1% about-face rate, that is 43 lost customers. And artful other types of amercement such as search engine penalties and chump churn due to server inaccessibility are harder to calculate.

At face value, a 99.9% uptime acceding might not look like a big improvement. But in effect, it means that the blow is cut down to a tenth, which can make a big aberration for a high-traffic website. 

“First, make sure that your hosting provider has a clause where it absolutely states its uptime commitment. And second, while annihilation replaces an aloof website, commodity else to look for is the reparations your hosting annual provides in barter for blow that goes beyond the acknowledged agreement,” Foster says. “If a hosting annual provides hosting credits or free hosting in barter for downtime, it shows their artlessness in making sure they remain true to their promise.”

What is the level of support?

No website is a one-man effort, so behindhand of how good you are at your craft, you’ll need help from your web hosting aggregation at some point. The catechism is, how ready are they to abutment you?

“Make sure your hosting annual has live chump abutment and doesn’t direct you to a hard-to-navigate FAQ page,” Foster says. “Also verify that the plan you acquirement includes live chump abutment (some companies don’t accommodate this annual to basic plans).”

Also accordant is responsiveness. How fast is the hosting company’s abutment team in responding to chump queries? How able is the staff in answering abstruse questions? What level of abutment do they accommodate (server configurations, site-level customizations, coding support, etc.)? 

“Obviously, you can’t expect a abutment staffer to be able to answer every catechism you have, but a good abutment team should be able to acknowledge bound on accepted queries and have a workflow to get back to you on more abstruse issues,” says Foster.

“One of the hallmarks of good hosting abutment is an all-encompassing ability base,” he adds. “The abutment staff should at the very least help you cross and find the answer you need in their ability base.”

Will you be protected?

No web hosting plan would be complete after a admeasurement of aegis adjoin common cyber threats. To be clear, at the end of the day, you are amenable for the aegis of your agenda assets. And if you get hacked, the damage done to your agenda assets, your customers, your acceptability might not be recoverable through banking reimbursement.

That said, it’s good to know what kind of help you get from your hosting service. 

“At a minimum, a good hosting annual should accommodate automated updates for major CMS platforms such as WordPress. At a deeper level it should also make sure the basal casework such as Apache, MySQL, and PHP are secure are patched for known vulnerabilities,” Foster says. “In most cases, updates are the first line of aegis adjoin most web attacks, such as SQL bang and cross-site scripting (XSS).”

Foster points out, however, that there are some things that no hosting annual can assure you against, such as vulnerabilities in custom themes accounting with poorly accounting code, or themes with carefully built-in vulnerabilities downloaded from actionable websites. “I can’t tell you how many times I talked with addition who had installed a custom theme they had downloaded (torrented more often than not) and had aback installed a backdoor into their annual as a result,” he says.

Some of the better hosting casework have specialized appearance that scan the source code of your web applications for known accessible coding patterns and malware. HostGator plans accommodate SiteLock, a web aegis technology that includes a web appliance firewall and protects websites adjoin anachronous accessible code, SQL injection, and other harms.

A bonus would be to have a admeasurement of aegis adjoin broadcast denial of annual (DDoS) attacks, in which awful botnets attack and flood your website with bogus cartage to anticipate others from accessing it. Not all websites become the target of DDoS attacks, but if you have reason to fear you might become a target, check with your hosting annual to see if they DDoS acknowledgment plan or if they have ally that can abutment you.

What are the accessible plans?

Not every website has the same ability requirements. Some might end up alluring millions of visitors each month while others will become more specialized in their field and get less traffic. Some organizations might crave committed servers due to their authoritative needs, while others might be agreeable with administration assets with other websites to cut down costs.

“A good hosting annual should have a adjustable appraisement plan that responds to the needs of every type of customer,” Foster says. “Pricing plans should accommodate discounts for users who make abiding purchases. The hosting annual should also be cellophane about what they charge you for, what their plan doesn’t include.”

Equally important is a abutment team that can guide you toward the best appraisement plan that suits your needs, not the most big-ticket one.

Think deeply before firing up the browser

The best way to begin your search for a good web hosting aggregation is to pause on these questions. Determine your accepted needs and try to draw a rough outline of how those needs may evolve in the future. A good hosting aggregation should be able to abutment you as your online attendance expands. 

This commodity is brought to you by HostGator.