Hosting Services – Features Vs Prices

More than often I have heard this complaint about the hosting services from people. The complaints are many ranging from poor after sales service, bad customer support to long down times to name a few. Above all there are so many hosting companies out there each providing different offers and packages, that it becomes very confusing for the customer to choose the right one. In the light of the above it is very prudent to keep in mind a few things while selecting a hosting service provider:

Features Vs Prices

First of all look at the packages being offered by the service provider. Many people make their decision based solely on the price of the packages being offered though it is advisable to carefully go through the package details as well since there may be caps on things that allow some providers to offer very cheap packages. These may initially look tempting but may cause problems later on. For example many service providers keep a fixed number of email ids they allow per domain which would be a handicap if the customer plans to have a good number of these and specially if this is critical to their purpose. The only option then remains is either to upgrade the package or pay for each additional email address which would only be an extra burden considering that with some other provider and for a slightly higher package rate, an unlimited number of email addresses could have been available. In such a scenario customer ends up paying more actually. Similarly there are many other factors to be kept in mind like the number of domains provided with the package, the space, bandwidth etc

Customer support

Customer support is a very important aspect of any technical service since at any point of time the customer could need a helping hand for an issue they are facing. Even the most technical people get stuck sometimes with issues they do not know of or which are totally out of their control for example managing a few server settings which only the provider has access to in case of shared servers. It is thus always advisable to opt in for a provider that has a very strong technical support. I myself have made it a point personally to first get in touch with the support whenever I go in to buy packages from a new provider for myself or any of my clients. Through the initial response, one can get some idea of the kind of support provided by the host. Though only a fraction of the overall, I have sometimes found it difficult to get through to the support while at other times I have found the support some what unwilling to help or lacking in technical expertise and have made it a point to keep such providers at the very bottom of the list as the last options. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

Data back up and security

It is imperative in these times with frequently malware and hacking attacks that data security be kept at the top of the mind. There are many aspects to it. One being the backup. The hosting service provider must have the facility to allow all the data including the website files and database to be backed up periodically on their secure servers to be retrieved later at will as required. There must also be proper mechanisms like firewall, spam filter, antivirus protection that the provider should have in place to ensure data security.

Server uptime guarantee and bandwidth

Two critical factors that are to be kept in mind are the server uptime and bandwidth. Problem in any one of these two can cause serious problems for the website specially if the website has a high traffic volume or process time sensitive information like reservation systems resulting in frustrated customers and revenue losses. Always ensure with the provider that they guarantee 99.99 % server uptime and that they will provide the mentioned bandwidth in full.

On-line reviews and testimonials

Though I would not stress much on the testimonials as these are often fabricated and many a times filtered to show mostly the positive ones but looking out for reviews on-line is a good practice. It might be that there are not many reviews available but those that are can help you in a great way to understand the quality of the customer service being offered by the provider. Not to sound negative but as has been my personal experience though reviews may not help you choose the right one but will most certainly help you ignore the wrong ones.

Hosting is the back bone of a website and it is thus important that all the necessary factors be kept in mind and the proper hosting service be chosen for the website that suits the requirements.

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