The 10 Most Important Questions To Ask Your Web Host NOW!
So, youíre looking to build a web site or so fed up with your current web host that you are desperate to transfer your site elsewhere? You may not even be aware of your current hostís vulnerabilities in an industry where each week there is news about a host going down for one reason or another. Your first problem is narrowing thousands of choices down to a few that you can research further. Seek friends or associates that have a web site and ask for their advice. Visit one of many forums about web hosting, ask members for advice or search threads from those that have asked before you. Once youíve located a few hosts to research, ten questions below will take you a long way towards making an informed decision. You may be able to find many of answers to these questions on hostsí web sites, but always feel free to call host and quiz them about their operations. The quality of answers and degree of professionalism you get from a potential host often transfers to type of support youíll receive once you become a customer. Without further ado, ten question to ask your web host:
1.How long has web host been in business? 2.Does web host own its data center? 3.How many upstream Internet providers does web host have? 4.Does web host monitor its customersí sites twenty-four hours per day? How? 5.Does web host provide 24/7/365 phone and email support? 6.What levels of redundancy does web hostís architecture provide? 7.Does web host automatically backup customer web sites in case of data loss? How often? 8.What is web hostís billing policy? 9.Does web host provide features that you need for your web site? 10.Does web host have products and services to handle your growth?
1. How long has web host been in business? The length of time that a host has been in business can be related to their ability to provide a quality, reliable product. If your host can satisfy its customers, then those customers are likely to stick with hostís service. Therefore, stay in business. There are, of course, situations where this is not applicable or becomes a bit hazy. Be sure to also inquire about whether a host has recently been involved in a merger, acquired what was once a well-known brand name, or launched a new brand. If any of these apply, then delve deeper into story behind what has happened and determine whether quality resources are still with company. ēComplete a domain name ďwhoisĒ lookup on web host: http://www.internic.net/whois.html. Type in web hostís domain name and determine what year domain was registered. If only registered in recent past, ask host about it. If domain name was recently registered this is not necessarily a red flag. Simply inquire with host about it. They may have recently launched an affinity-based brand to cater to your market. ēType hostís name into a search engine and check out results that you get, other than those from host itself. You may run across reviews, interviews, or industry articles about host.
2. Does web host own its data center? A data center is foundation from which all products and services are built upon. If your host owns its own data center, then they are likely quite entrenched in hosting business. They also have an experienced staff and knowledge base from which to draw from when supporting your web site and building new products. In other words, if a host owns its own facility, then it controls more of variables that can make or break your web presence.
3. How many upstream Internet providers does web host have? Your web site performance is not just a measure of your web server's speed. The ability of your web host to route traffic through cleanest Internet connections is also of great importance. It is crucial that your provider have multiple connections to Internet. Accidental fiber cuts in construction or telecom work and data center equipment failure can cause your site to go offline for an extended amount of time. This can be avoided if your web host has other connections to Internet that will reroute traffic that would have normally been carried on failed circuit. Yes, this means your host must also have extra capacity on hand to handle normal traffic levels when one connection is lost; which is another area where a host can attempt to cut cost. This is much like when driving your car, there are several streets that you can take to get to your desired destination. Sometimes you will encounter construction or an accident that will require you to take an alternative street. Well, Internet works same way. There are several routes that traffic can take to a destination. Your host should be able to choose cleanest, or most efficient, route to your web site visitor. In fact, your host should be able to continually tune these routes to find best path to your visitors. Another way to achieve this is by minimizing number of different networks traffic will pass through before reaching its destination. It is extremely important for your host to have direct connections to networks that have lots of eyeballs. In other words, your web site will be served better if your web host is using connections with networks that facilitate Internet access to large volumes of subscribers.
4. Does web host monitor its customersí sites twenty-four hours per day? How? There are a couple of factors that can influence answer to this question. Does host own its own data center? If not, then they are physically removed from their servers and likely paying a co-location company to provide monitoring for them. When another company controls environmental systems that provide home for host, one can argue that youíve created another potential point of failure; that being communication of an issue from data center to web host. That point of failure can increase latency between an issue and its resolution, resulting in increased downtime for your web site. Second, if your web host has an issue with its own infrastructure, then there may be travel time associated with their engineers getting to data center to resolve it or, once again, increased latency by trying to remotely resolve an issue.
5. Does web host provide 24/7/365 toll free phone and email support? You might be surprised at how many web hosts donít provide 24/7/365 support. The industryís hosts run gamut from only email support to providing phone and email support 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. The best way to eliminate not having support when you need it, is to choose a host that can assist you whenever you need it. When an idea wakes you from a slumber at 3 A.M., itís nice to have your host on other end of phone to discuss it. When your site malfunctions due to a programming glitch night before your store is to open, itís wonderful to have your web host on phone to decipher issue with you. When your cat accidentally deletes some important files, know that your host is there to help recover them. Also make sure that your host is providing support over major holidays. Many web hosts will close their support center, decrease their support to only email, or send their support team home with a pager to be called in case of emergency. All of these decreases can create latency if your web site goes offline. And, holidays are often days which persons will spend time on Internet after theyíve completed all of their social plans. Matter of fact, word-of-mouth business is one of most effective means to customer acquisition. When people get together, they exchange ideas.