The choice of a website hosting company for a small business can be a big decision. While web hosting packages are quite affordable, a bad host can ruin the future of a website and thus the business. To make sure you pick an uncompromised website hosting solution for your business, you need to ask certain questions before you even make up your mind to sign up. Here are the top 5 questions you should ask any web host to determine if they will be the right fit for your website today and tomorrow.
What Is Your Average Uptime?
This has to be the most important question that every web host has to answer. No matter how good their servers and data centers are, they are no good to you if their uptime is appalling. Keep your eye on the 99% number when they tell you their uptime. Anything below this percentage is going to cost your business big time at the end of the year.
What Are Your Renewal Charges?
As mentioned earlier, website hosting companies are very generous with their first signup offers. Even a school student can afford to hire web hosting services from his/her pocket money. However, the big costs come into the equation when renewal time comes. Ask them how much they will charge you for renewing your plan. Some web hosts will charge you more than double the amount for renewal than you had paid for your first signup.
Do You Have SSL Protocols?
SSL is extremely important for any online business with ecommerce nature. People are now knowledgeable enough that they will not give out their banking information on ecommerce websites without SSL protocol. Make sure your web host offers the needed SSL integration. Some hosting companies are generous enough to install SSL certificate on your website for free as a token for you to sign up with them. Even if your host does not have this free incentive available for you, they must have many different options available for you to install your SSL certificates through a third party. The process should be smooth and fast.
How Easy Is Scalability with You?
When you are just a small business, you are almost always urged to go for shared hosting plans. They offer all the features your new website needs and are really affordable. However, as your website starts to grow big and popular, you will need to scale things up. This is where your website hosting service can really make the big difference. Ask them how easy or difficult it will be for you to change your plans and what costs you will have to pay for switching from one hosting plan to another.
How Frequently Do You Back up?
To some extent, you can find answers to the questions mentioned above on your website hosting company's website. However, you will rarely or never find the answer to this question on their website. You will have to call them and inquire how frequently they back up your website data. In any ideal situation, they have to make backups several times a day. Make sure that they are backing up the database in addition to the files.Lastly, when you are done with these questions, you can focus on their customer service. A bad customer service can throw a company's image and reputation out of the window. Are they responsive when you have any technical issues? Do they provide solution or just keep transferring you from person to person? You can know more about their customer service by looking at the online reviews about your website hosting company.