13 Qualities to Seek in a Web Host

hen you’ve chosen your URL, the next step in launching a web page is to choose your hosting. The choices can be overwhelming, but given the most important features, your comparison shopping won’t be as daunting. Here, we offer you 13 qualities to look for in a host provider.

1) Friendly and Useful Customer Support

When it’s 2am and you’ve got a problem with your account, is your host provider there to help? This is a crucial quality to have in a quality web host. 24/7 customer technical support is a must. Be discerning of their wording- you want a live person, not simply voicemail and email support during off hours.

2) No Risk trial

In case you’re unhappy with the host company, be sure you can get your money back.

3) Keep control

Make sure the host company offers a control panel that allows you to manage all aspects of your account. This includes email accounts, activity statistics, and the like.

4) The word on stats

All businesses want their site to be popular, drawing more and more visitors who convert to sales. From this perspective, you’ll need to keep an eye on who is visiting your website and what pages are most popular. A good host will keep track of this information for you and send you regular, configurable updates.

5) Shopping cart

If you are selling merchandise on your website, you must have a shopping cart for your customers. The cart allows visitors to browse your available items and place items they plan to purchase in their cart. You can always add a stand-alone cart system, but it’s easiest if your host company offers it.

6) CGI freedom

Your host provider should allow you to run Common Gateway Interface scripts on your account. Some providers offer free pre-installed scripts with their hosting plan.

7) Hosting with email

You should receive multiple POP (Post Office Protocol) email accounts from your hosting company. This allows you to set up multiple addresses for all your business needs. It’s advisable to check that email forwarding is allowed; this way, if you prefer, specific addresses can feed into your main account.

8) Mailing lists

A mailing list is one way to keep regular users abreast of current information. If your hosting company provides double-opt-in mailing lists, users will be able to sign up and receive an email that confirms their subscriptions and directs them to further action.

9) Autoresponders

This service allows users to send a message to a specific account, and automatically receive an email with the information they seek. For example, if users want to know about current specials, they may send an email to specials@mydomain.com and quickly receive an email listing current specials in their inbox.

10) Password only

A hosting company that supports password protected areas (sub-webs or folders) will allow you to create special sections to your website that users can access with a password. This is especially useful if you want to create a “subscribers only” section on your site.

11) Secure and private

If you plan to collect private information from your site visitors, such as payment information, or if you have a shopping cart on your ecommerce site, you’ll need a hosting company that provides an SSL Secure Server. This Secure Socket Layer allows transmissions that are encrypted, keeping your customers’ information private.

12) Available space

Does your hosting company offer enough space for the files you plan to use? If you’re storing audio or video files, make sure the hard disk space available is sufficient to your needs. Also, if this is an issue, you may want to check out the bandwidth availability as well.

13) A back up plan

In the case of a power outage, flood, hurricane, or other natural occurrence, make sure your hosting company has a backup plan. Are there other sites that take over if the site hosting your information fails? Know the procedure, and make sure you’re comfortable with it.

With these 13 tips, you’ll be more able to navigate the sea of information when comparing multiple hosting options and companies. Once you’ve decided on the winner, make sure they are willing and able to grow with you as your company expands.