You have started your own business, and have just had a website built according to your specifications. You are looking at several South African web hosting companies to host your website, but which one do you choose? What criteria do you use for your choice?
What is a Web Hosting Service?
A web hosting company leases storage space for your website on its server. In this way, your website is connected to the Internet. A server is a computer or computer program which controls access to some central resource.
Let us examine what criteria can be used to choose the right web hosting service.
What are your website’s requirements?
What would you like to achieve with your website? The web host must be able to satisfy the requirements you have in mind for your website, and such requirements will depend on each type of web site. Each scenario has different priorities.
The costs involved
Initially, when you sign up with a web hosting service regarding your website, the cost may be minimal, but sometimes when the initial setup has come to an end, the renewal suddenly is much costlier. One must look out for that before signing up – so do some thorough homework, such as studying the terms and conditions.
Be careful if costs are quite low. Web hosting companies, strictly speaking, cannot afford to go too low in their price structure, as otherwise they would have to start cutting back on essential services and maintenance to keep the web hosting service going.
The Difference between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting
You need to understand what each hosting has to offer, so that you can choose the right hosting company for your website. Shared web hosting, like Afrihost’s Linux Shared Web Hosting packages can be really cheap, because, as the name suggests, many websites are shared on a single server. The costs of running the server are shared between all the websites, which means that each website costs much less. Shared hosting also indicates there is not much flexibility with your website, which has access to only basic resources. .
A dedicated web hosting service is when a server has been dedicated to only one client. The downside is its higher cost, which is to be expected as there is only one website allocated to the server. The upside is that you have complete control of the server.
The Quality of the Web Hosting Company
Once you have chosen the web hosting company, do some thorough homework on its track record in the market place. Check out testimonials from clients, as well as reviews done on South African web hosting companies. Have they ever received any awards or at least have been nominated for awards? Rather pay a little more for a high-quality hosting company, then going for that really cheap deal, which may well come to bite your pocket at a later stage.
Client support is extremely important, and this principle is clearly part of Afrihost’s thinking. The PriceCheck & E-Commerce Awards are given to companies for their exemplary performance in e-commerce in South Africa. In September 2017, Afrihost, was awarded first prize in the “Best Customer Service” category, with Bidorbuy, and takealot.com as the two nominees in that category. The last thing you want is to sign up with a web hosting company which does not provide a good client service.
Part of an excellent client support is a 24/7, open channel of communication between the hosting company and the client. This is like an ‘umbilical cord” for the client, a life line of support, if you will, in moments of crisis. Without this, the client will fade, just like it would be with the unborn child.
A high quality, 24/7, technical support is also vital, as computing problems don’t stick to office hours.
Excellent technical support will not only reassure clients, but will also ensure that uptime is maximised. A company with mediocre technical support may cause some serious downtime, which no business can afford.
Web Host Security
Investigate the security strategies that the hosting company has in place in the event of a cyberattack or if there is a server crash. This is also critical regarding the protection and well-being of your website. Every client wants to feel ‘safe’ with any hosting company. After all, you have entrusted your website, your business, and in a way, your ‘life’ to the hosting company.
What about Addon Domains when your Business is expanding?
Addon domains are required when your business is beginning to expand. An addon domain is a domain that can be created with your control panel. If you have addon domains, you can create several domain names and websites with one web hosting service, instead of several hosting companies, which will cost you a lot more. Many web hosting companies have a limit to addon names, so be sure to check.
What about the Speed and Uptime of a web hosting service?
Your business can ill-afford a slow website. It impacts on the quality of the website, and clients may well be turned off and show no interest in what you must sell, for example. You will save yourself possibly a lot of problems if you get hold of a review that tracks the speed of any web hosting company, as well as its percentage uptime. Too much downtime by the hosting company will seriously impact on your business. Uptime refers to how long a server is kept running. Uptime is usually expressed as a percentage. Go for high uptimes such as 99.5% and more.
Finally, the success or failure of your website, and indirectly, your business, depends on your choice of web hosting service.