You have purchased a domain for your business or personal use. In today’s world, a website serves not only as an online brochure but also serves as the doorway to your business in the ever merging virtual and physical world. The pandemic has only accelerated the pace and now when we say a business it’s both virtual as well as physical where 80% of the buyer’s journey is complete by the time the buyer is talking to your business.
Choosing the right webhost
- How to define a good webhost?
Fast processing of your website files, 24×7 support, easy to use control panel, knowledgeable staff to support you. The software stack offered, the datacenter where your server is hosted, years in business, service agreements. Hosting industry is going through consolidation and even though many appear as different hosts, at the backend they are essentially one.
- Shared hosting vs vps vs dedicated server?
Shared webhosting is not really suggested unless you are on a super tight budget. You need your sites to run as fast as possible. In shared environments many companies run more than 500+ websites in one server. Any one website software taking resources will slow down your site as well. So in 2021 I suggest you use at a bare minimum vps, the smallest plan and go from there.
- Type of storage
How many IOPS you get and type of underlying storage technology matters a lot, in fact the most important item to keep in mind. Latest SSD drives offer 10x performance compared to the old SATA physical drives. They are also a lot reliable as well. In 2021 never settle for a host that runs anything other than SSD drives for storage.
The objective is to run a website with A+ GTMetrix or 90% google page score both on web and mobile with near 5 9s reliability ( 99.999%). While a lot of this done by using optimized coding practices, more than a half comes from the hosting platform. TTFB (Time To First Byte) is a major number to look for. Aim for sub 100msec values. Try this with the hosts website itself. If they cant optimize their website your website will never get that speed.
- Managed vs Unmanaged
Managed services are ideal for a non technical person or even a business person who is technical as the company manages all the aspects of managing your website. Keeping it secure with patches and in the event of a failure restore from backup.
- No of backups
All sites require backups and a minimum of monthly weekly and daily backups with 2 of each retained is highly advised. This will always help you to recover from a developer error to a site hack.
Shared environments are the least secure place to host your website. If you are a business opt for vps and up. A very secure environment like Amazon Cloud or Google Cloud can really help with the addon options for having high levels of virtual firewalls and multi tiered application architectures possible. Encryption is also a important area to look at and these environments really secure your data.
- Technical Support
24×7 tech support is a minimum requirement for personal or business critical applications. Look for channels available, whatsapp, web live chat, email and phone support are some of the options.
- Technology Hosting Partners
Tech partners and access to a larger ecosystem of providers really help in ensuring a complete hosting package. For eg: you might want to use Cloudflare for CDN and CDN is a key part of the speed solution. The same goes for design, programming support. Partners for SEO, backup provider support also helps when you look at having a well-rounded package for your hosting.
- Support of backend technologies
PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl, JAVA and there are many other programming stacks. The more complex your set ups are and optimizations you have better opt for a vps solution. Otherwise check with the hosting provider of the support and memory restrictions.
- FTP & Shell access
Ask for shell access if its a linux environment and remote desktop connection for windows if you are having anything more than a simple wordpress website. This will help you access and manage your website files in a lot better and faster way.
- Email platforms
Email adds a lot of diversity to the hosting solution and its better to consider it as a separate solution. Many providers offer unlimited storage emails, limited storage email plans. From a reputation and availability stand point I would suggest using google apps or Microsoft offerings that offers redundancy and a lot better quality of service compared to regular webhosts.