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Your website is your face to the world and the host you select will affect its performance. Slow, insecure and unavailable are not the words you want your prospects or customers to use in describing your website. A good website host is important.
Your website has to be hosted by someone. Does it matter who? Yes! If you have a brick and mortar business, would your building matter? The location, appearance, parking lot, etc. Sure it would.
If you’re not familiar with the types plans available, read our post on Website Hosting Plans. In it we cover the types of plans and the benefits of each.
Keys features to look for:
VPS plan or better
A VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting account offers:
- Good value
- Much better security than cheaper Shared Hosting
- Guaranteed resource levels
Shared hosting plans are cheap and some offer ‘unlimited’ disk space. But the ‘unlimited’ is not unlimited when you read the fine print. Buyer beware, you pay very little and get very little.
Personal website and hobbyists can use shared hosting plans. If you’re a real business, the right tool for the job is well worth the extra money.
Problems are going to happen. Having regular, automatic backups is the first line of defense…and the most important. If they are not automatic, you will forget to do them and end up with a backup that is 8 months old when you need it.
Backups should be:
- Performed automatically
- Run daily, or at least weekly
- Stored off-site
Bonus tip: keep a local copy of your backup as well. I’ve had more than one client come to us after their hosting company went out of business asking us to get their website back. We can’t. The site and all the backups were at the hosting company, and they are gone. Don’t let this happen to you.
Free SSL Certificate
Every website should be using an SSL. This is what get you the https:// and the green lock in the address bar. Visitors have been trained to look for this. Don’t be labeled as ‘Not secure’.
What is an SSL? Secure Sockets Layer, a computing protocol that ensures the security of data sent via the Internet by using encryption.
A good website host will offer them for free. Be wary of the hosting companies who want to nickel and dime you for features that should be included in your hosting plan.
Unless you are taking payments, you are not required to be PCI compliant. So why care? PCI Compliance requires the hosting company to pass monthly scans by a third-party to ensure a safe hosting environment. They look for vulnerabilities, unpatched software, use of default password and vulnerabilities. Good website hosts will do this, even though it’s not required.
What is PCI Compliance? Read the PCI Compliance Guide for all the details.
If your hosting company is PCI Compliant, you have added assurances it is a safe place to host your website.
A good and appropriate hosting plan is the foundation (pun intended) for your website. This is an area one of your trusted partners, website developer, marketing team, etc., may know more than you on the subject. They probably have dealt with several hosting companies across many other clients. Ask for their advice and input.
But you’re the business owner. It has to be your decision. The above points will help you make an educated and informed decision. They will allow you to have an intelligent conversation on the subject of what makes a good website host.
If you’re a client of Architect Marketing Solutions, you’ll have:
- Access to our private dedicated server for hosting.
- All of the criteria above, and others.
- One Stop Shop. If there is ever a website problem (software or hardware), we’ll take care of it.