Hi, this is Robin Good, and today I want to
help you out and understand which are the criteria you can use to select your best,
ideal hosting provider. When you have to put up your website, you need a hosting provider.
Some place where you can put all of your files, all of your documents, videos, MP3 files,
the ones you don’t put on YouTube, on some kind of server. There are a lot of solutions
out there, and if you go and Google and you search for “hosting provider,” you’re going
to find an infinite quantity of ads and search results that are relevant for hosting providers.
So, you want to make sure you have some criteria ready to use to make a selection among this.
This is what I’m going to do today. I’ve got a little boat on the lake of Villa Borghese
here in Rome, and I’m going to take you out for a little tour and showing you in a nice,
outgoing way, what I think are the key criteria you should use to select your hosting provider.
Number one is: find out what their online reputation is. Are these serious guys, or
are these guys that you cannot rely very much upon? Go find out. Search in the forums. Check
out in the social buzz. Is anybody talking about this company? Find out. Are they serious
people, or are they just freaks, surfing during the day and giving you hosting providers in
the cantina of their houses? You’ve got to find out what their online reputation is.
That is number one. Number two: I think that you may want to pay some attention to some
other important factors. For example: “Hello guys, are you there? Are you going to help
me? My site is down. It is two hours that it’s down, and I’m losing thousands of visitors.”
Is their customer support working? And what do you get? Do you get phone support? Do you
get email support? And which hours of the days and which days of the week do you get
it? You maybe live in a different time zone from where their offices are. Find out exactly
what kind of customer support you get from them, because this is going to be very important,
especially if you are a non-technical person. If you are a non-technical person, you may
want still to customize very much your website, and so your webmaster may need to put up a
database or create some scripts that do some specific things for you. The type of things
that these people need, normally are having some kind of Perl support code, or having
the ability to use PHP – which is another programming language – or even going down
with MySQL database work. Remember, three technical things that may be very useful if
you don’t want to have just a blog: the ability to customize the technical side of your site.
How do you do that? Three elements will promise you, will guarantee that you can do that.
Search for feature support on PHP, Perl, and MySQL. That’s what I suggest. What else Robin,
do I need to pay attention to if I want to select the proper hosting provider? One thing
you want to pay attention to, not many people know that they can get from the best hosting
providers, is the ability to look well inside the traffic data that is going to get on your
website. You want to make sure that your hosting provider is going to provide you with some
analytics tool. Yes, there is Google Analytics, but sometimes you want to check the source.
You want to actually download the logs of your server. You want to be able to know what
is the data, right at the source. Make sure that all of this is possible, that you can
download the logs and you have access to some basic analytics information, also from your
hosting provider. Next, I would pay attention to something that has to do with your publishing
system. You may be using WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal, Joomla, or some other kind of
system. Many hosting providers today offer you the ability to actually match your publishing
system by selecting something that works. No matter what you do, it’s good to check
whether your hosting provider can match the publishing system, the CMS – the content-management
system – you would like to use. Do the two systems make a clack? Are they able to work
together? Check on the features of your selected, ideal hosting providers and see if they provide
direct support for WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal, Joomla, or the type of publishing
system you would like to use, depending on the type of site you want to build. Having
the hosting provider support that guarantees you that if you have some trouble with that
system, they can fix you, and probably that you can find it already pre-installed on your
server, which makes your life so much easier. Another element you want to pay strong attention
to when you select your hosting provider, is make sure that they don’t pull out all
the money from your little pocket once in a year. You don’t want to pay advance for
a whole year to a hosting provider. You want to make sure you can pay by the month so that
anytime you’re not satisfied, you can stop getting service from them and move somewhere
else. This is always possible. It’s not something that is really something I would do lightheartedly,
but you can definitely move your website anytime you want from a hosting provider to another
one. Make sure you’re not being billed by the year, but actually by the month. Talking
about money, I think it would be essential that you also take into consideration a money-back
guarantee. Are they going to give you back money if things don’t work like promised?
Are they going to give you an official guarantee if there is downtime that you don’t expect
to have, If there are going to be troubles, if things are not going to work out the way
you expect? Check out whether there is a money-back guarantee. Something else you want to check
about – and not many non-technical people are familiar with – is how much bandwidth
your hosting provider is giving you, that is the amount of data that you can send in
and out from your website. Anytime somebody comes to your website, they’re going to suck
up some data. They’re going to send out from your server some bits of data to send out
those pages and images. Same thing happens, but the other way around, when you upload
stuff to your website server, to your hosting provider. How much data can you send in and
out? Some providers today say they give you unlimited bandwidth. Check out if there are
any fine print below that, because any serious hosting provider normally gives you some very
specific bandwidth limits. Check out what those are, and make sure you know them. Something
that I just mentioned is also your uptime. You want to make sure you don’t have to recharge
something and that the site is going to go down when you least expect it. Check for guaranteed
uptime of at least 99.9 percent, because even that 0.1 percent of downtime during a year
– that’s where they count it on – can correspond to quite some time of your website not being
accessible. Make sure uptime is guaranteed 99.9 percent if you’re looking for a serious
provider. What else? Make sure they guarantee you also to do backups. This is quite important
because you may not have the resources or the team to do this yourself on a systematic,
periodical basis. Make sure your hosting provider, even if it costs a little more, does manual
or automatic backups on a systematic, periodic basis. Since you have to interact with that
hosting provider, one thing you want to make sure of, is also that you can access this
hosting provider without having to get an engineering degree. I hope you don’t have
to confront yourself with stuff that is way too technical for you. The feature you need
to be looking for is that there is an easy-to-use, friendly control panel. CP, they often call
it. That stands for control panel. You want to have a control panel that is easy-to-use
and which should allow you to upload files, delete files, rename files on your servers
quite easily, without needing to have a certification of webmaster degree. What do I have left?
I think it is important to keep under control how much disk space you have available. If
you’re getting some shared web server with other websites, how much space do you have
there to upload stuff? If you’re having just content and text and a few images, probably
this is not an issue, but if you’re going to upload over that server many videos and
other heavy content, then you may want to know ahead of time what is your disk space.
If you have some technical people or collaborators working on your team and uploading stuff,
they’re going to use FTP. That’s file transfer protocol, the ability to upload directly to
the server some needed files. How many FTP accesses do you have? One? Three? 10? 20?
The more the better. Especially, again, if there are going to be the needs to give special
access to some other people to bring up stuff on top of your website. Last but not least,
check out for email support and management. That is, when you get a web server and a hosting
provider, you certainly can also get the ability to create emails for your users. How many
email boxes can you use? Can you filter them? Can you spam-protect them? Check out what
are the offerings there. With these 14 different tips, I’m sure you can select a hosting provider
with much greater awareness of what are the critical items you need to be looking at to
make a relaxed, safe, and reliable choice. This is Robin Good, from the lake in Villa
Borghese. I hope you select the best hosting provider out there.