Good website hosting is a staple, no matter what your business or website is about. Web hosting companies are a dime a dozen, but unless you know what to look for, you can easily be tricked into signing up with a host that doesn’t really provide what your site truly needs.
Successful website hosting requires a harmonious combination of a variety of factors. It’s so much more than just a “resting space” on the internet for your website—think of it like your website’s safe space, the equivalent of your own home.
Here are our top do’s and don’ts for successful website hosting. Get these right and you can expect to see good performance. Ignore them at your own peril!
Let’s start with the things you need to tick off your website hosting to-do list. Here are 6 “do’s” to get your web hosting right.
1. Do Research and Choose the Right Hosting Plan
Don’t just sign up with ABC Hosting because your friend Bob recommended them. Research is essential—how else will you know the web host offers everything YOUR business needs? Take time to scour the internet for hosting companies. When you’ve narrowed it down to those that fit your criteria, do more detailed research on reviews from real people.
2. Prioritize Security Measures
Don’t skimp on security. Your website can be fast, responsive, and user-friendly, but if it gets hacked, all that doesn’t even matter. Make sure the host you’re interested in places emphasis on security measures and acts fast in the case of a breach. You may also want to add your own security plugins, but make sure you’re not overloading your site with unnecessary plugins that take up space and memory.
3. Optimize Website Speed and Performance
Part of having great web hosting is making your website as fast and as high-performing as possible from your side. You (or your web designer) should check the backend and remove unnecessary plugins, get rid of unused media, and streamline your speed as much as possible.
4. Regularly Update Software and Plugins
Your web host may do this for you, but it’s wise to find out before signing up. If not, ensure that you stay on top of updates yourself because using outdated software and plugins can have an adverse effect on your site.
5. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Many web hosts use a CDN, so double-check this upfront. If your web host isn’t using one, you may want to consider switching to a new host or hosting your content on a CDN outside of your hosting company. Hosting your content on a CDN takes the pressure off your site and your host, so your website can run more smoothly.
6. Monitor Performance
Keep a close eye on the numbers and stats. You’ll be able to see if your site is doing well, progressing, and being successful, or if it’s stagnating and needs a change. Google Analytics is a good choice, or you can do some shopping around to find analytics software that suits your own needs.
The don’ts are just as important as the do’s. These aren’t just things to avoid—they’re common mistakes that can be avoided by taking action.
7. Don’t Overlook Bandwidth and Storage Limits
Don’t assume that the bandwidth and storage offered by the host is naturally going to be right for your website. This varies vastly depending on the type of site you have, so do a bit of research beforehand to figure out what your site needs and don’t skimp.
8. Don’t Ignore Uptime Guarantees
A big mistake is assuming that 99% uptime is more than enough! 99% uptime means your site is unavailable for 14 ½ minutes each day. 99.9% takes that down to less than 2 minutes. Make sure your host is offering 99.9% or more, and check user reviews to confirm that.
9. Neglect Regular Security Audits
Your host might offer great security features, but regular security audits are needed to make sure everything’s still working and keeping your site safe. Don’t forget to check whether or not your host offers these, or find a way to do them yourself.
10. Ignore Mobile Responsiveness
More than half of website traffic these days comes from mobile. Not all websites translate well to mobile, so it’s in your best interest to ensure that the theme you’ve chosen for your website is responsive on mobile. Web hosting won’t help much if mobile users can’t navigate your site easily.
11. Underestimate Traffic Scalability
Scalability is one of the most underestimated factors when it comes to online business. Every business has aspirations to grow, and your website host needs to be able to grow with you as your website starts receiving more and more traffic. Cloud hosting is by far the most scalable, so if you’re expecting a growth spurt, you may want to invest in it.
12. Settle for Poor Customer Support
Inevitably, there will come a time when you need to contact customer support to troubleshoot something. It won’t be often, but when it does happen, your web host’s support needs to be available, knowledgeable, and helpful. Don’t settle for something that’s anything less—and check customer reviews for more insight before choosing a host.
A large part of successful website hosting is choosing a host that can handle the demands of your website. It’s important that you know your own website well so you can match an appropriate host to its needs.
Be aware that it will take some time to settle on the right web host. Your initial research is invaluable because this will identify hosts as potential options or not options at all, and from there, you can delve deeper into the ones that look promising.
But we can guarantee if you take the time to tick all the boxes, follow these do’s and don’ts, and spend the necessary time choosing the host that’s right for you, your website and business will reap the rewards in the long run.
About the Author Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.