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9 ways to check the credibility of your web hosting service

by on October 27, 2018 in Business, Latest News, Lead Article, News you can use, Nuggets, Small Business, Social Media, Startups, Tech, Websites

9 ways to check the credibility of your web hosting service

A reputable web host is concerned about the ongoing provision of their hosting services. They understand that when customers’ websites go down, they look bad.

Their email, forums and live chat light up with customer service complaints and they’re going to have as bad a day as their customers are.

There are different ways to ascertain how credible your web hosting service is. Let’s look at a few of them now.

1.      Do They Perform Regular Backups?

Web Hosting: Performing regular data backups is critical. Sometimes hard drives just fail. This can be through a mechanical fault or just due to the unit being at the end of its useful life (BackBlaze recorded an average failure rate of 1.65% on hard drives used for their cloud storage service in 2017). Better web hosts will replace hard drives or solid-state drives before the end of their useful life to reduce the frequency, but that is hard to verify.

A regular backup is usually once a week. Ideally, daily is better; monthly is insufficient. The full backup will include databases and web files to restore the entire site should the web server or hard drive failure. With WordPress (WP), the articles and structure are stored in the PHP MySQL database and must be backed up along with the other files on the server.

As a side note, it’s a good idea to use a WordPress plugin like BackupBuddy to create a cloud-based backup of your complete WP install. This way, you’ll always have a backup either way.

2.      Does the Web Host Update WordPress Installations to the Latest Version?

WordPress gets updated on a regular basis. Sometimes this is to add new features, but quite often it’s to resolve new security vulnerabilities. When a WP version is not updated promptly, it leaves WP-based websites vulnerable to hacking attempts. Given that WP spans roughly 20 percent of all websites now as the content management system of choice, WP-based sites are daily targets of various types of intrusion attempts.

A web host that automatically updates WordPress installations to the latest one has their head in the game. It’s a proactive (not reactive) move that helps them to avoid sites on their hosting platform getting hacked and their having to deal with the fallout.

3.      Historical Uptime/Downtime

Web Hosting: The uptime and downtime record of a web host is tracked. Sometimes a server goes down or needs rebooting. Other times, a DDOS attack can cripple a hosting service across many of its servers until they find a workaround and a way to thwart the attack.

There can be a number of reasons for downtime. It could be overloaded shared hosting servers managing too many websites, older hard drives not being replaced before they fail or relying on a single domain name server.

4.      Redundant Internet Backbone Connection

Some hosts only have a single connection to the internet backbone. Others will have a primary one and a backup secondary option at a slower speed that they can turn on should the first one fail. The latter is a much better option.

5.      Word of Mouth

Web Hosting : Ask friends that have websites where they host them. What did they think of the hosting and have they experienced any problems so far?

If they did experience difficulties:

  1. What were they?
  2. How were they handled?
  3. How good was the communication while the resolution was still in progress?

Get a consensus about which hosts most commonly have favourable ratings. HostPresto.com is a great example of this. An independent web hosting with an unrivalled high rating. Also, match your needs depending on if you have a small, new website or a larger, pre-existing one to see if their recommended host is suitable for you.

6.      Test the Live Chat/Email Response Time

While you cannot test the technical support side until you’re a customer, you can contact a web host via email or use live chat on their website to ask some questions. Whilst you’re talking to the sales team and not the technical people, they’re not the usual sales force. They’re usually highly knowledgeable and capable of answering technical questions frequently asked by new customers and people new to host a website.

See how long it takes to get a response. Also, for bonus points, ask two questions and see if only one gets answered. We find that you usually have to number the questions individually line-by-line to avoid some getting missed in their reply.

7.      Third Party Reviews

Look at third-party reviews of web hosts to see what the problems have been and how the host responded to them, if at all. See if the issues were reasonable or not and if you’d be satisfied with that outcome?

Have some customers had the same problem repeatedly with the same host because they didn’t fully resolve the matter to prevent its reoccurrence?

8.      How Long Have They Been Around?

Web hosts that have only been operating a few months haven’t been through the ringer with difficulties and learning how to efficiently resolve them. The hosting industry is a volatile one; a host that’s got a few years under their belt is likely better managed in all departments because they’ve weathered what’s usually a bumpy journey.

9.      Bargain Basement Pricing?

While offering a steeply discounted deal for 1-, 2- or 3-year hosting deal is commonplace, what you don’t want to see is overly cheap deals for everyone, all the time.

Much like with free web hosting, this leads to overloading their servers, poor performance for websites and excessive downtime.

If the host offers financial details about their business like an annual report, take a look. You don’t want to see ongoing losses that are unsustainable or mountains of debt. You need your chosen web host to still be in business next year.

Finding out whether your chosen web host is reputable is never an easy task. It’s not one thing that you have to look for, but a collection of things. Then take an overall view on how reputable the host is and decide which one suits your needs.

 

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