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If moving your business online is one of the changes you’ve recently made, or may be you’re considering improving your online presence, a website is probably one of the things you’re working on.

A website is essential to most businesses, but many struggle understanding or even realising the importance of website hosting, and why it’s so important to choose the best hosting package for your business.

Many people fall into the trap of thinking that website hosting is website hosting and it doesn’t matter who you go with, and end up choosing a provider that offers a cheap deal, such as £1 per month (or even less!). However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your website hosting, will not only get your website online (and hopefully keep it online for at least 99.9% of the time), but it will also contribute to your website speed, the security of your site for you and for your visitors, provide backups should something go wrong, and they may even provide your email service. Choosing the right hosting is vital when setting up your business online.

Here are my top 5 tips for choosing a website hosting provider:

Don’t choose the cheapest provider.

Website hosting means that you rent a small space on a server to host your website. Most decent hosts will have their own servers where they can control the number of other websites on that server and know who they are too. Companies that offer rock bottom prices such as £1 per month are often offering hosting on a server with thousands of other websites; many of which they have no idea who they are. This called a “shared server”. This isn’t great for your business, as it will likely cause your site to load slowly, especially if the server has been upgraded with decent hard drives. You may also find that your website is down a lot more than usual.

Also, these cheap deals are often only for the first 12 months and the renewal price can be 100% more than the first year. Ouch.

Look at what’s included in your package

Most decent website hosting providers will offer SSL certificates, daily backups of your site, and security for your website as part of there package as standard. If you have to pay extra for any of these, it’s likely you’re going to find hidden extra costs elsewhere. Other items that are generally offered as standard as well are One Click Installs for WordPress and standard mailboxes for your business emails.

Just be aware that these emails are on a server with other email accounts, and therefore you will share the same IP address, which means that if one email account starts spamming people and gets blacklisted, your email address may also be affected because you’re part of the same IP address. My recommendation for any business reliant on their emails is to look at something like Office 365 for their email provider.

Check where their servers are

You may not think this is important, but ensuring that your website is hosted on a server in the country that you’re based in or serve, will help contribute to your website speed. So if your market is in the UK, try to host your website on UK based servers.

If you do happen to choose a provider that has servers in another country, check to make sure they’re using a “CDN” which will help your website load faster even though it’s on a server outside of the country.

Ensure their customer service is in the UK

Whilst this may not be essential, having customer support open during office hours will be very helpful, especially if you’re having problems with your website hosting. Whilst many large companies will have 24/7 call centres, you may find there is a delay in getting to right support for your query, especially if the escalations team are not available until the middle of the night, UK time.  

Check what resources you’ll need

Like a house, if you have a lot of “stuff” you’ll need more storage to keep it. If you run an ecommerce store or you have a multimedia rich site, you’re likely going to need more storage than the average website. Ensure that you’re signing up to the right storage package for the size of your website, otherwise you may find that you won’t be able to make necessary updates and amends to your site, if you run out of storage.