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Teaming up with the right web hosting company is critical for success, even if your business primarily operates offline. A great hosting experience comes down to speed, support, security, and scalability. A bad one, by contrast, can lead to many headaches like extended downtime and poor website performance. Here are four tips to help you make the right choice:

#1. Understand server types

The cheapest hosting options are available using shared servers. With a shared hosting service, your website will share a single physical server with hundreds or even thousands of other. Therefore, the performance of your site depends heavily on the load on other websites hosted on the server. Shared hosting also limits access to server features and functions, and uploading files is typically restricted for security reasons.

The next step up is a virtual private server; a virtual machine that runs alongside others on a physical server. This has the benefits of dedicated computing resources and greater control over functionality. The most expensive solution is a dedicated server, where you effectively rent a single machine, typically stored in an off-site location. Most businesses, however, may choose private cloud servers thanks to their practically limitless scalability.

#2. Avoid vendor lock-in

Some web hosting companies will do everything they can to prevent customers from changing providers. While they’re legally limited in this respect, there are still things that can make it much harder and more expensive to change. For example, while it’s normally free to upload data to cloud providers, downloading or moving data to another server usually costs extra.

Another important consideration is a content management system (CMS), or the software you use to build and maintain your website. It’s generally best to avoid hosting companies that try to pressure you into using their own proprietary CMSs, since they almost invariably lack portability. Make sure your hosting provider gives you the freedom to opt for open-source CMS platforms like WordPress.

#3. Review the customer support agreements

If your website unexpectedly goes offline, suffers performance issues, or ends up getting hacked, you need comprehensive support from experts. That’s one reason why businesses should always go for web hosting packages tailored to their needs. Your hosting company should provide a service level agreement (SLA) that outlines their legal support commitment.

The two most important parameters to look out for when evaluating a hosting company’s SLA are service availability and response times. Service availability is measured in nines after the decimal point. For example, four nines (99.99%) equates to just under an hour of downtime per year. Meanwhile, response time refers to the maximum amount of time it takes to respond to a support ticket.

#4. Prepare for future growth

Business needs in today’s dynamic market can change quickly, and the last thing you want is for your hosting provider to be unable to keep up. For example, poor performance and limited bandwidth can result in your website being overloaded during busier times of the year. That potentially means missing out on new and lucrative opportunities.

Although you should always avoid vendor lock-in where possible, you should still be looking at a long-term collaboration with a hosting provider. A reputable provider should be able to offer strategic help and advice and scale with your constantly evolving requirements. To address the challenges of scale, consider working with a cloud hosting provider that has a solid track record of handling traffic surges and high growth.

Cyber Shift Technologies empowers companies with fully managed web hosting services that are tailored to meet the needs of your unique business goals. Call us today to schedule your first consultation.

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