Let us count the ways!
Does Your Hosting Provider Love You? Let Us Count the Ways.
How do you decide on a primary physician, the neighborhood you're going to live in, or the car you're going to buy? Are you the type to weigh your options and assess the pros and cons, or do you find yourself learning by trial and error more often than you'd like to admit?
Whatever your research methods, you know that you should do whatever it takes to make the best decision for your needs, budget, and future, and that includes how you should choose a hosting provider.
In some situations, you may feel forced into making rash decisions based on the cheapest options out there, or what you think will be the most dependable based on the price, but the consequences of those hasty choices could mean bad things for your website and company.
In the best case scenario, you'll be stuck with a hosting platform that exceeds both your needs and budget, but gets the job done. In the worst, you'll find yourself trapped in a contract with an unresponsive provider and hosting plan that consistently fails you.
When you're shopping for a hosting provider, you should ask yourself these questions:
- How well does this provider know me and my company?
- How well do they want to know me?
- Will they help me get the most service for my dollar?
Failing to pick a hosting provider based on these questions could cost you more than just your time and money. It could cost you the success of your website.
One: Does Your Provider Listen?
First, the number one priority of a good hosting provider should be to get to know their customers. If you don't feel a personal connection with your current hosting provider, analyze why that is. Maybe you can't get technical support when you need it. Maybe you don't feel comfortable asking technical questions about the service you're receiving.
Regardless of the reason, that personal connection makes all the difference in the world to an effective business relationship. Don't settle for a hosting provider that treats you like Customer Type A versus an individual with highly unique needs. Choose a provider that takes the time to get to know you, your business, and your goals. Insist that your provider recognizes you as a partner, not just as another tenant in their data center.
Some providers will try to pin you to a one-size-fits-all solution. While it's true that certain types of businesses may need similar hosting solutions, a cookie-cutter hosting plan is sure to fail you at some point in the life of your website. Be aware of the signs! Does your provider ask you about your goals? Do they want to know your plans for the future of your business? If not, it's time to look elsewhere.
Your provider should work with you to formulate an end-to-end plan that accommodates the growth of your website without over- or under-provisioning bandwidth or disk space. An ill-fitting hosting plan will always, inevitably, waste your money.
Two: Does Your Provider Care About Your Needs?
Now that you know how to tell if a hosting provider is interested in addressing your individual needs, it's important to know how their service models will fit the needs of your business. Is your website running slowly? Are you experiencing too much downtime? Were you promised services that aren't being performed? If you're not getting what you need on a technical level from your hosting provider, then switching providers is long overdue.
When you're starting your business, or when you're looking to move forward with your business, it's hard to know what features you will need. But one thing you can be certain of is that your data should be hosted on a system that is:
- Redundant – Your provider has implemented and tested effective backup hardware and systems to ensure uninterrupted network availability and uptime.
- Robust – Your provider has invested in market-leading hardware for optimal performance and reliability.
- Accommodating – As your company grows, your hosting provider has the platforms in place to seamlessly accommodate your computing needs.
Three: Is Your Provider There for You, Near or Far?
If your hosting provider can't support the variables of your business, then they're not worth your money. If you're currently with a hosting provider and you're displeased with the performance of your website or applications, why stay? It's sometimes difficult to make the switch, but don't settle for subpar performance when the success of your business is at stake.
One common pitfall to avoid while looking for reliable, personalized service is mistaking geographical location for quality. Some companies believe that if they are hosted by a provider within their city, they'll have better uptime and availability, but that's not always the case. With a good hosting provider, uptime and accessibility are the same from anywhere in the country. So, don't get sucked into the myth that you can only host your data from a local company. If they can't give you the best service, you're under no obligation to stay.
Four: Does Your Provider Give As Much As They Take?
Sometimes it's easy to assume the highest-priced hosting provider will offer you the best service with the most features. The cheapest option might look like the best choice, too, until your service fails to perform.
What you really should be looking for is fair pricing. With a fair, mid-ranged pricing option, you'll know you're not overpaying, and that you're website has all the features it needs to stay live and ready for business. If you feel like you're paying too much with your current provider, reexamine what you're paying for.
- Do you need that much disk space?
- Do you need that much RAM?
- Do you need that much data transfer?
The best hosting provider will examine all of your options with you. Be aware of what will and won't work with the platforms and systems you're running. If you don't know, question them to make sure that issue is being addressed. Not every feature works with every platform and you don't want to be stuck paying for a service you can't utilize.
There may be limitations to what your provider can offer you. However, specifying your goals for your company should require your hosting provider to tell you what they can and cannot do for you. If they're not upfront with you about their limitations, that's a clear indication that they're not the company you want to do business with.
At each stage of your hosting experience, your point of contact (whether an account representative, a manager, or a technician) should make you feel confident that they are dedicated to the needs of your business and your website. They should be courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable about finding a solution to your problem.
In essence, you want to work with people who are experts in their field and dedicated to your success. Whether you run into a problem in the middle of the night or during peak business hours, you should be able to call your hosting provider and speak to someone who can help you with your service.
Five: Does Your Provider Care About Your Comfort?
If you're not satisfied with your hosting service, don't stick around because it's too difficult to move or because it's too uncomfortable to tell your current provider to hit the road. The last place you want to be is stuck in a rut with a hosting provider you hate. Don't prolong the inevitable. Make the switch today.
It?s not uncommon for providers to offer free website transfer as an incentive to switch. If done right, it's a quick and painless process of transferring your data from your old to your new hosting provider. The best providers have this process down to perfection, recognizing that moving shop can be an intimidating maneuver for website owners. It doesn't have to be.
Picking a hosting provider is a big step. Switching hosting providers is an even bigger one. You don't have to make the move blindly. When you're researching your options, ask the right questions, get quotes, compare notes, and never settle. In the end, it's your money and your company's success: why not pick the best?
Jackson, Rob. "The Importance of Quality Customer Service for a Web Hosting Company." Web Host Industry Review, October 2011. Web. 9 November 2011. http://www.thewhir.com/article-central/102511_The_Importance_of_Quality_Customer_Service_for_a_Web_Hosting_Company
Jackson, Rob. "Web Hosting Solutions on a Budget: A Great Start for a Small Business." Web Host Industry Review, November 2011. Web. 9 November 2011. http://www.thewhir.com/article-central/110111_Web_Hosting_Solutions_on_a_Budget_A_Great_Start_for_a_Small_Business