When you are building a business online, your website is one of the most important features. In order for internet users to see your site and everything your company has to offer, you will need to acquire space on the internet through a web hosting company. Before selecting the right web hosting package however, you should verify which features the web host has to offer you first.
The following is by no means an exhaustive list but it does highlight the key areas you should research first before selecting any hosting company:
- Technical Support: First and foremost your web host should offer technical support. Be sure to verify the availability of the technical support and if it will cost you to access it.
- Security: The second thing a web host should offer is security. It is important to verify the security measures offered by any potential web hosting company. The best security measures can protect your business and your web site from the effects of natural disasters, power failures, viruses and hackers. It is important that your data remain secured, especially if you collect information from users and offer a guarantee that their personal or contact information will remain safe.
- Storage Space: Your web host should also offer storage the amount of which depends on the plan you sign up to and the amount you pay. With free hosting plans you are provided with a limit on storage, which it is generally adequate for a small web site. With paid hosting, the more you pay the more storage you get made available to you, but in most cases you can easily upgrade your plan at a later date or when you need more storage.
- Domain: Most hosting companies will offer domain registration as well if you do not already own your web address. In some cases you may get a free domain depending on the plan you sign up for but in all cases you should ensure they register the domain for you.
- Website Templates: Once you have registered your domain name you need to create the website. There are some web hosts which offer site builder software for free or a range of templates. These templates make the creation of your website simple and are easy to edit. If you pay for a professional web designer it will cost more on top of your hosting costs but does offer you total control over the design and features.
- Email: When you start a web site you need a way for clients to contact your company. This is often through email, making you accessible at all hours. There are two types of email you can get with a web hosting package. The first can be opened anywhere and even read in internet browsing screens. The second is sent to your domain name and then forwarded to a personal email address. Many companies prefer the first and your web host should offer different email plans in association with your hosting plan.
It is important that you make sure you know all of the associated costs when you select a web host plan. Ask what costs will be involved, what your initial setup fees get you, and what any paid monthly maintenance plan offers your company. Some hosting plans can be cancelled at anytime however, others will require you to sign up for a minimum period, so be sure to verify whether you are locked into the contract, how you can cancel, and if you will incur penalties for closing or switching your account. Finally, whilst we all want value for money, spending a little extra for more features, bigger storage space, and better technical support will often give you a better ROI than cheaper plans.
This article was written by Stephanie Wagner, a freelance author writing about technology, small business and investment. She is not associated with Aplus but can recommend them for quality small business web hosting services.