In this digital age, a company website is a sine qua non for most successful businesses. Your company website gives the ever-crucial first impression to your potential customers. Well, the experience your consumers will have will depend on the web hosting service you pick. A good web hosting provider will do the heavy lifting for you. However, the plethora of reputable web hosting services in the market can make it hard to decide which one would best suit your company. It calls for careful research and consideration to select the best fit for your website. Here are some questions to ask a Web Host Provider to determine if they will be the perfect match for you:
Key Questions to Ask a Web Host Service Provider
1. Which security features do you offer?
Security is a critical aspect to consider when selecting a Web Host Service Provider. Speed, price, and top-range functionalities and plugins mean little if the platform’s security is questionable. When choosing a web host provider for your website, it is worth checking its fundamental security features. Scout whether the hosting provider you are considering offers the following security features:
- Backup and restore
Most hosts integrate the backup and restore feature into their platforms. However, they may not always be easy to use. Select a hosting provider that offers seamless backup and restore functionalities. You need a backup feature with a recent archive of your files for easy access. Automatic backup options will save you so much time. If a host only offers manual backup options, the backup and restore process should be easy to follow for it to be worth considering. Your best bet with backup and restore features is Managed Hosting Providers.
- Malware scans
You need to know if the provider’s platform offers regular malware scans. Real-time protection services against malicious malware give you peace of mind since you know that the service will automatically scan and block any potential attacks. A hosting provider with a feature for malware scans reduces the time, effort, and resources for keeping online threats at bay.
- Network Monitoring
Opt for a web hosting partner that proves the basic monitoring stats using monitoring tools. Ask your potential hosting provider if they offer to monitor services that could give you insights into what is happening when you have down times.
- DDoS protection
Most hosting providers offer regular protection against DDoS attacks in their hosting plan. However, you will appreciate a platform with premium web hosting options more. The additional security offerings will be worth every extra penny.
- Web Application Firewall
You need to know if the web host provider you are eyeing offers Web Application Firewall (WAF) protection. WAF integration makes the platform extra convenient to use. You do not have to manually configure or install a WAF to get the utmost security for your website.
- Multi-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication means you will not have to worry about an unauthorized person getting hold of some of your credentials. The extra layer of safety is something to look out for in a hosting provider. You should pass up a hosting provider that does at least two-factor authentication. Further, it is best if the hosting provider offers periodic password changes. Changing your password often makes it difficult for a malicious person to compromise your login credentials.
2. What is your guaranteed good server uptime and SLA?
Reliability is of utmost importance in a Web Host Provider. A huge part of being reliable involves having a high uptime percentage. A good uptime percentage in a hosting provider means a better customer experience and an optimal livelihood for your website. Ensure that the hosting partner does not have plugins in their content management system that threaten to cause severe downtime concerns. Downtime causes ripple effects on your business operations that cost you money. It can also damage your meaningful reputation, especially if you have a B2B business. It is, therefore, necessary to be sure that a prospective hosting provider guarantees good server uptime.
Service Level Agreements (SLA) are equally important when choosing a hosting partner. These agreements between you and the hosting provider will specify the service details. The SLA should include specifications about Mean time between failures, data rate responsibilities, and Mean Time to Repair/Recovery. SLAs are essential because you can use them to take necessary actions if the hosting provider violates or ignores the conditions therein. It ensures transparency and fairness on both the client and host sides. SLAs also help avoid blurred lines that could affect business relationships since they provide clarity of service standards.
3. What kind of support do you offer?
You will need support from a web hosting server at least once. Know what level of support a web host provider will extend if you ever need it. Your hosting partner should at the very least offer the following types of support:
- Technical Support
Choose a web hosting company that offers help when you have practical technical queries. They should offer to fix hardware-related issues, server configuration problems, performance issues, and Website migration services. It is a welcome plus if the hosting provider provides ongoing configuration and maintenance for your server.
- Billing assistance
Opt for a platform that will guide you when you have concerns about how to process refunds or navigate any billing issues.
4. Do you offer SSL?
SSL certificates ensure an encrypted connection between the web browser and the web server. Although SSL protection is the current industry standard, the levels of protection vary between providers. Also, some providers may offer the service for free, while others choose to charge a premium fee for it. Choosing a platform that provides SSL certificates for free will save you a few bucks. However, if your business is massive or payment related, analyze keenly the kind of SSL certificate the hosting platform provides and its level of security.
5. Can I scale up and down?
At times, you may need more or less bandwidth and storage, depending on the market. Finding out whether you’re locked into what’s outlined in a hosting provider’s contract or able to make adjustments as needed can be a game changer. The best web hosting sites are flexible and tend to offer a variety of packages to accommodate different SMBs. The best hosting company will automatically scale up your web server during traffic spikes and scale it back down once normalcy returns. It would also be beneficial to invest in a hosting provider that provides regular feedback on how busy your site is, so you can better anticipate how you will adjust bandwidth moving forward.
6. Do you have a return policy?
Using a web host provider can be costly. Even more so if you are starting and working on a limited budget. When choosing a hosting partner, you need one that has a reasonable return or refund policy. Hosting services with a free trial period can also help reduce your costs significantly while giving you the chance to test and opt out if the platform does not meet your website needs. Choosing a hosting provider with a suitable return/refund policy ensures you do not lose too much money. Opt for a web hosting company with money-back guarantees and prorated refunds if you opt-out. It is also worth checking the kind of money-back guarantee the platform offers.