[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s not easy to find great hosting for your business website. The marketplace is overloaded with hosting companies. If you’ve ever researched website hosting you’ll find the review sites feel more like coupon sites – rather than offering transparent reviews and advice. Yikes!
Finding website hosting is critical. It’s the founding step towards doing business on the web. With good hosting in place you’ll be in a position to grow your business efficiently and effectively. So here’s a simple step by step guide to finding the best website hosting service for your sites and applications.
Choose Your Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is the behind-the-scenes tool the enables creating and editing of a web site or mobile application. The top three systems are generally;
- WordPress (simple, elegant and very popular)
- Drupal (very powerful, complex)
- Joomla (good functionality, easy to use)
Each of these systems are built differently. Rackspace has a good comparison of the three services. You’ll find that the best hosting companies tend to have a focus on one particular CMS. If you choose for WordPress – I really like WPEngine. Bluehost is great at WordPress and Drupal. SiteGround, on the other hand, is considered really good for Joomla. Do your research, or get advice, on the best CMS and make a short list of providers with a strong expertise in that technology.
Choose A Hosting Plan
For most businesses I would suggest you start with an affordable shared hosting plan. This means your website will be parked on a server where other websites park. A dedicated server only makes sense when you’re doing a lot of traffic and transactions on your site.
But be careful here! Shared hosting has one downfall. Some shared hosting providers overload their servers with too many sites. This means the server is overloaded and the user experience is slow and administration of the site is buggy.
Your CMS needs adequate allocation of space on servers disk, processor and the network that connects it to the internet. The only real way to test a hosting provider is to actually buy an account for one month and install your CMS. Publish a test version of your site on their ‘live’ servers and run performance tests. You can use gtmetrix.com for site performance evaluation.
On of the best developments over the last decade in web site hosting is ‘one-click install’. For basic and intermediate needs this is fantastic. A site administrator can login into the hosting dashboard, a control panel, and the best web hosting providers will have a one-click install that instantly installs the CMS and a related database.
So make sure your hosting provider offers a ‘one-click install’ that removes the complexity of the install of a CMS and double check that it creates a database too.
Solve Problems Quickly
Content management and hosting is not a perfect world. Sorry. But most issues can get be solved in one quick phone call. I strongly advise that you test the tech support phone line your hosting company offers.
The most important feature of tech support I look for is when the support agent stays on the line and walks through the solution step by step. Be aware of the support that ‘just sends a link to a help page’. This is bad news.
Scale When Ready
Website development projects live in the here and now. You’ve probably heard of business websites that have to be rebuilt! ‘Oh to do that we’d have to rebuild everything!’.
I really like companies like Bluehost who have a seamless transition from shared to dedicated hosting. This means you can start affordable and when things get really serious you can upgrade with very little disruption to the users of your site.
In short, try out a hosting service for one month. This can help choose the perfect CMS if you’re undecided. Do rigorous testing of the site performance and pick up the phone and really test out their support services. Whilst this will take some time and effort – it’s worth it! With good hosting you’re on the way to doing great business on the web. If you would like help with your website hosting we can help – contact us.