With so much choice out there, a good web host is hard to find. Or is it? Just stick to some good rules and you will narrow your search quickly, leaving you with a good reliable webhosting firm.
Avoid reseller webhosting – keep it simple
Some webhosting firms offer what is called white label web hosting to other companies or individuals to resell their webhosting services as their own. Typically the reseller adds no additional services but just acts as a middle man in the process. This adds an unnecessary layer of complexity into your purchase of webhosting. Additionally, it often hides the identity of your true webhost making it difficult for you to truly appraise the service. While some white label webhosting services are good webhosts and some resellers are good middlemen, why take the hassle of including additional complexity into your model. The reseller/white label model can also leave question marks over who is ultimately responsible for any technical failures or billing issues. Ask your potential webhost if they are reseller or if they operate their own web servers.
Location of your webhosts servers – get the best from the advantages of local hosting
Webhosting is a truly global business and you can pick a webhost from every first world country and more. But that doesn’t mean to say you should. If your business is focused in one country which for the vast majority of small businesses will be the case, there has been a strong argument for also using a webserver in that country. When trying to rank websites in order of relevance to a users search request, Google and other search engines use many factors. One factor, it is argued, is the location of the webserver. Therefore a server located in the UK is more likely to hold a website relevant to UK users. Others would argue that this is no longer relevant with search engines having the ability to identify a websites geographical target market in other ways. However when it is so easy to choose a webhosting firm which locates its servers within your target geographical area why not do so?
Some also argue that due to network latency a webserver will serve pages faster to the end user if the end user is physically closer to the webserver. As users can quickly move on to a competitors website if a webpage takes too long to load any advantages in decreasing page load times should be taken. Furthermore, Google has recently placed greater emphasis on webpage load time as a factor influencing search engine results. Memset has written a more detailed run down of how to improve webpage load times if you are interested in finding out more. Always ask where the servers are located.
Local Legislation and protection for you and your users – stick to what you know
Geographical location of your webhosts business operation should also be a consideration when thinking about the legislation that will affect your website. Different countries have different laws on data protection, copyright and consumer protections. Typically most businesses feel more comfortable with the laws and protections that exist within their own country. So again our recommendation is to stick with what you know and choose a webhost whose business is registered in the same country that you operate in. Check where your webhost has their business registered.
Setting up a bad webhosting firm is remarkably easy, look for a webhost that is well established and has been running for several years. That way you know they have pedigree in their field and carry the required expertise. Another tip for you is to do a search on LinkedIn and check out how many staff the company has and their qualifications, gives you a great run down of a how good a company is. And check out the webhost’s blog and look for insightful well balanced articles on the various technical issues surrounding webhosting. Look through webhosting forums and review sites but be wary here as there is a lot of manipulation at work. Another good way is to ask your business peers who they use and if they have found them reliable and value for money.