choosing your hosting domain

Looking for domain hosting can be a tricky thing when you are just starting out. Not to mention that talking to someone who has been a couple of times around the online hosting block can confuse you even more. In other words, this is the first thing you do to get your blog or small shop online and you find out you already need to have a growth strategy and you must know what types of tools you will use in the long run. Not to mention having a pick of specific types of security features and commercial add-ons. Then there are Uptime issues, managed services versus doing it yourself, and so many different types of packages with so many names.

Let us give your search for the right hosting provider some well-needed structure.

1. You will need to know how much your site will grow.

Yes. You must think ahead for this one. But not in the sense of a business growth forecast – the type a bank would ask you to make in order to approve a loan. This is more like measuring enough space in a store to fit all your products. And if you are planning to expand your product line and what you have now is only the beginning, you will need to think ahead.

It’s the same with domain hosting. If you want to have a brochure site, with a brief personal or business presentation, a mention of a service, portfolio and fees, you will not need much. However, if you are looking to build an online store with an ever increasing offer, then you will need a lot more space.

Tip: Give your potential hosting provider a real shake and find out what “unlimited” means in their offer. Despite the generous offer they unanimously advertise, many providers actually have limits. And it is good to know what those limits are before signing on.

2. You will need to budget this expense.

Do not be fooled by the apparently low introductory fees. Treat this like a constant expense you will need to cover from now on. And take into account the renewal fees, instead of the ones you get as a first time customer. Those are the ones you will be stuck paying in the long run.

If this is more than a hobby and you want to make money from your online endeavor, then think of this as a business all the way. Your hosting budget is the rent you need to pay. This is not necessarily the case where you go for a looser fit to make sure you cover all areas. On the contrary, you could end up paying for features you are never going to use.

Tip: The more you need in terms of add-ons, bandwidth, SEO tools, security features and so on, the more you will have to spend. It makes sense to start off small and start building. Maybe choose a provider with a good basic offer that gives you the possibility of adding various other features when needed.

3. You will have to think about how much help you need

The customer service reps are very important, especially when you have no idea what you are doing. They need to handle every request with calm and they must know how to best explain everything. And you will need all the help you can get.

Think about how you communicate best. If you like long explanations and descriptions and you do not think you might need instant support then e-mail tickets are a good way to go. If you like to communicate in writing but need faster replies, then you will need a provider that offers live chat for support. And if you are better off when someone explains it to you over the phone, then look for this service.

Tip: Test their client service out before choosing the service. And it’s ok to be as clueless as you really are. After all, this is a test run.

4. You will need to look at every provider’s Uptime numbers. The real ones

There is such a thing as an industry standard of 99.9% Uptime. This means that your site will be hosted on a powerful server and will provide a stable connection. And since you are new to this, here are the numbers you need to look out for: anything between 99.5% and 99.9% is acceptable; anything under 99% is not.

Tip: Look for reviews that present real, long-term Uptime tests. Look for confirmations in this respect.

5. Look for easy to use site building tools and website management

You build your website with the help of a website builder. These are usually free and some are easier to use than others. The control panel will help you manage your website. Therefore, these are two tools you will use in the long run. Even as you become more knowledgeable, you will still depend on them.

Tip: cPanel is one of the most appreciated control panels. As far as the website builder is concerned, look for reviews telling you specifically how easy or hard it is to use.

6. Look at how packages are built

The offer of most providers includes shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers and WordPress Hosting. Each type of service is then divided into several packages. The cost of each package varies according to how much it offers. Keep in mind that this is a general structure most providers go by, but not a rule.

Tip: Do not take for granted how much is included in a basic, intermediary or premium package. You are best advised to check the offers of several providers and compare them. Some are more generous in their basic offers, while others keep “the goods” for the premium or even intermediary packages.

7. Look for the tools they provide

If you are going to open an online store, you will need to have access to payment platforms, shopping cart and other stuff for all types of eCommerce needs. You can either pay for them separately, or go with a provider that already included them in some packages.

8. Security matters

You might not think about this from the very start. But you should. Online businesses and building a brand online requires tons of credibility.

Tip: If you make a list and end up with two very good options on either side, let the security features tip the scales in favor of a winner.