It might surprise you to find out that not all hosting providers are created equal. As a website owner, it behooves you to select a hosting provider that will be an asset to your website rather than a liability.
When selecting your hosting provider (or, if reevaluating and considering switching), here are five questions to ask that will reveal a lot:
1. What are your uptime stats?
Uptime scores provide a simple way to compare hosting providers and tell how good of a job they’re doing. Simply put, the uptime score is the percentage of time your website will be functional. All hosts are pretty good at this these days, so uptime scores will generally be above 99%. But there’s still a difference between 99.4% and 99.7%. The latter means your website will be down for about 4.3 minutes a day, the former for about 8.6 minutes per day. Depending on how busy your website is, that makes a difference. Generally speaking, uptimes under 99% are not acceptable—there are just too many great hosting providers to have to deal with one that can’t keep your website functional.
At CanSpace, we’re proud to say our uptime is higher than 99.9%.
2. What are your security policies?
All hosting providers have some security running in the background. There’s just too much malicious stuff on the Internet, so if you’re running servers for customers, you’ll need some baseline levels of protection to ensure you’re not susceptible to the most common types of attacks. The quality of this security varies from host to host. The security works on your behalf, because it helps to keep your website up and functioning well. The more your host does in the background to help your website be more secure, the better it is for your site.
At CanSpace, we offer DDoS protection and a Web Application Firewall as a part of our standard hosting services. We also do nightly backups of all websites, just in case the backups our customers have implemented fail.
3. What are your hosting plans?
You likely already have a plan in mind, but it’s just as important to find out what other options are available and the hosting provider’s what higher level plans consist of. What if your website gets very popular? You might be looking at upgrading to Virtual Private Servers or even fully hosted server options. You may decide you need to add on features like dedicated IP address. Basically, you want to make sure that all these options are available and at a reasonable cost, because choosing a hosting provider is a long-term decision. You don’t want to have to switch because you’ve “outgrown” your current hosting provider.
We offer transparent pricing and a clear feature list at price point right on our website so customers can know exactly what they’re getting and what upgrade options will be available to them when they’re ready to move up.
4. What is the customer service policy?
Some hosting providers have very cheap introductory hosting plans that are based around the idea that customer service takes up to 24 hours to resolve any issues. That’s fine, as long as you’re comfortable with that level of service. Make sure that your potential host’s customer service policies and response times match your own expectations. Try to think about the worse case scenario here — you’re running a sale and your website is generating significant revenue, then your site goes down and it’s been down for over an hour. How important is it going to be for you to get ahold of someone right away?
At CanSpace, we offer 365/24/7 support that means you’ll be able to get ahold of someone quickly when you need them. In fact, we strive to answer all support tickets within 10 minutes – even on weekends and holidays. When choosing CanSpace as a web hosting provider, you’re choosing high-end web hosting as well as peace of mind.
5. What can I expect in terms of ease of use, control panel, etc.?
As a purely practical consideration, you’ll want to know a little more about the interface through which you’ll be managing your site. There is not as much variance here between hosts as you might think, but it’s still important to make sure you’re comfortable with the options presented to you.
At CanSpace, we offer cPanel which is one of the industry standards. We also offer a number of free applications that allow users to install WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many other e-commerce and web building scripts with just a few clicks.
We hope these five questions will let you get a good handle on what to look for in a hosting company. If you have any questions on the above, don’t hesitate to reach out!