Top 10 Questions to Ask Website Hosting Services

You need to find a good hosting company for your website.
Should be simple- right? That depends…We will get to the “Top 10 Questions to ask Website Hosting Services” in just a moment!

First, what IS Web Hosting?
A Web Host is a company with servers that you use to store, power and deliver the files that make up your website.
You may ask what is a server?
Here’s 1 answer (and more on that topic if you are fascinated)
“A server is a computer designed to process requests and deliver data to another computer over the internet or a local network”

What type of Hosting is available?
There are 4 main Hosting options- some cheap, some not:

1.Shared hosting:
This is when a hosting company runs many websites along with yours on the same server and is the cheapest option.
Pros: Cheap and easy to maintain, and generally great for new sites
Cons: Can be slower as it shares “resources’ and once your site uses bandwidth ( ie starts to get a lot of traffic) you will probably need to upgrade to a Dedicated server or a VPS.
If  the other people on the shared hosting are using your resources, you will probably need to upgrade to a Dedicated server or a VPS

2. Managed hosting:
There are different types of managed hosting.
(*The explanation/content on the linked site above is great- however we are not endorsing any products that have affiliate links on that page)

3 VPS (Virtual Private Server)
Similar to Shared hosting, but slightly better, as there are fewer sites per server than in Shared plans. Those sites then share the cost of running on the VPS, a monthly or yearly charge that’s less than the more expensive dedicated hosting. VPS is the upgraded type of shared hosting where you are guaranteed a certain amount of bandwidth and server processing power.
so, VPS is an affordable solution when you need more power than a shared hosting plan can provide.

4. Dedicated Server
With a dedicated server, your site can leverage the full CPU, RAM and storage resources of the server- as it doesn’t share them with other sites as in Shared and VPS Hosting Plans.
Website stability, site speed and reliability are the key benefits of investing with a Dedicated server.
It is of course, more expensive.
Some of the benefits of a dedicated server may be available on some VPS solutions.
A dedicated server is also (generally) completely under the control of the customer- so it can be completely customised with the software it runs and rebooted when needed.
For bigger companies and budgets- these are desirable features.

Now, your Top 10 Questions to ask Website Hosting Services basics list should look something like below
(Note the linked site content is solid, but the suggestions on what service/company to use seems to be based on affiliate links – so we do not necessarily endorse those companies)

  1. What are the prices on both sign up and renewal?
  2. What hosting features are offered (such as number of Addon domains allowed) based on your needs.
  3. Do they offer an easy to use hosting control panel? ( cPanel)
  4. Ask questions on the potential hosts server speed, as Page Load Time is now a CRITICAL Factor in your decision
  5. Ask questions on the reliability of the server and Uptime guarantees
  6. What is the hosting company’s Customer Service and Tech support like? Is it 24/7?
  7. Study the host upgrading options and bandwidth usage
  8. Other supporting features (ie. site backup, environmental friendliness, etc
  9. Do they offer free ( and fast) site transfers or do you have to pay to move your site to other hosting?
  10. Read all the hosting companies ToS ( Terms) to find out more about account suspension and server usage policy

Lets Break some of them down:
1. Pricing on Sign up vs Renewal:
It is an industry norm that Hosting deals ( especially Shared hosting) are normally very cheap on Signup – but charge more on Renewals.

2.Hosting features offered:
Most budget /shared hosting companies allow at least 25 addon domains in one account, but you need to check if you own a lot of domains!.

cPanel is a hosting control panel that allows you to change the settings on your account, set up email accounts, add domains, FTP logins and more.
It also makes it relatively easy to create Full or specific Backups of your account/files and move your data to another hosting provider

4. Server Speed and Page Load Time
This has become  very important when considering any Hosting company, as Google now looks at the time that it takes your site’s pages to ‘load’  as a “Ranking ” signal- especially for Mobiles

5. Server Reliability/ Uptime
You will quickly find that nothing is more important to you than a 24/7 operating web host.
The ‘Uptime’ score/ percentage shows how reliable the host’s servers are at staying ‘up’ ie without crashing or going down over a period of time.
(Downtime means your site is offline for whatever reasons, most of the time it can be due to technical difficulties.)
99.5% and above is the recommended Uptime score; anything below 99% is unacceptable
Naturally, most hosting providers have written somewhere on their website that their Uptime is high and extremely reliable.
But you need to practice due diligence and look for feedback and articles to make sure their claims are substantiated!

6 Tech Support/Customer Care:
What communication methods are offered: i.e. email, live chat, support ticket, phone, etc and when
What is the Response time when submitting a ticket or email.
Do they have Customer support feedback.

7. Upgrading options and Bandwidth Usage

If you bundled your Hosting with your Domain Registrar (as a lot of newbies do) then I hope you did your research first.
Many Hosting companies also assist you to buy your domain through them, as well as offer website builder options.
ie you get help building a site as part of your hosting plan.

And of course, there are web building companies that offer hosting as part of the package eg Squarespace, Wix, Weebly
This also needs to be thought about beforehand, as many of these platforms will not allow you to move your site OR give you a full back up of your site- and if they go down.. so does your website!

Then there is the option to use a Hosting company that is separate from your website builder, which is the case if you want to use WordPress to build your site

But this post is mostly about the basics you need to ask about your Hosting company before you sign up.
This does not include cloud hosting services, which are generally much more expensive.
I will delve into Cloud Hosting in my next post!

More reasons JumpStart recommends that most clients use the platform to build their sites information
Note: some of the links in this article may be affiliate links for those companies cited. But as the basic information is sound I used them . Just do your due diligence.