Lots of people spend hours thinking up a snazzy domain name and a dazzling layout for their website, only to take a sledgehammer to it, by choosing the wrong web host. If you want to create a thriving website, you need a reliable host.
Just so we know we’re on the same page…
What’s a web host?
Every website on the internet is stored on a server. A web host (or “hosting provider”, or “web hosting company”) lets you store your website on their servers in exchange for a small monthly fee. This saves you time and money. Because instead of worrying about maintaining servers or paying for electricity and staff to keep the servers running (not to mention the high price of buying the servers in the first place), you just pay for the server space. Your web host will maintain the servers for you.
But not all web hosts are created equal. If you truly want to get good value for money, you need to choose a reliable host.
Why? We can think of four very good reasons:
4 reasons you need a reliable host
1. You’ll have great uptime
Uptime is the amount of time, measured in percentages, that you can expect your website to be up and running when you use a certain web host. So, if a web host promises 90% uptime, you should run far in the opposite direction, because your website will be working only 90% of the time.
If your website is down more often than it’s up, you’ll lose visitors so fast your head will spin. It’s really important that you create a website that your visitors can trust, especially if you have an e-commerce website, which collects sensitive data like credit card info. (Nobody likes leaving sensitive information with a sketchy website, and there’s nothing sketchier than excessive downtime.)
A reliable host will offer 99% uptime or more. Choosing a web host that keeps your website up and running is an easy way to keep your visitors happy.
2. Your website will be secure
Your web host is your first line of defence against hackers. A web host that doesn’t maintain its servers will leave your website vulnerable to attack. This could result in downtime and lost data for you and for your visitors. Not only could this damage your reputation, but this could create a costly legal battle for you, depending on the kind of visitor information that gets leaked.
So, when you’re creating your strategy for keeping your website secure, a reliable host should be the first item on your list. When you’re looking for reliable hosting, check for these features:
- SSL certificates
- Malware protection
- Cloud-based backup
- Web application firewalls
Every reliable host will have these security features and more!
3. You’ll be able to scale your website
You’ve probably heard people talk about the importance of scalable web hosting. Here’s why that’s so important: As your website grows, so do your storage needs. If your website outgrows its storage space, it will slow down and eventually crash. A reliable host will offer a variety of hosting packages with varying computing power. This way when your website gets more traffic, you can safely increase your memory and processing power so that your site doesn’t buckle under traffic spikes. This means you can enjoy having more visitors and customers without worrying about causing your site to crash.
(If you want to learn more about how to grow your website using strong, proven SEO strategies, check out our quick guide on beefing up your SEO!)
4. You’ll get help when you need it
A reliable host will be there when you need help. Not only will their tech support team be friendly and knowledgeable, but they’ll also be accessible.
Look for web hosts that offer 24/7 customer support, so that your website will always be functional, no matter what time of day (or night) you run into difficulty.
If you run an e-commerce site, look for web hosts that are also open on holidays, which is when you get the bulk of your business. That way, you don’t miss out on massive profits because the staff of your hosting company happened to be sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere.
It’s tempting to skimp on web hosting, because it’s not as immediately gratifying as a good website layout or a catchy domain name. But a reliable host is essential to having a strong website. Free web hosts just don’t have the same diligence in taking care to ensure that your website is secure, functional and fast.
To protect the time and money you’ve invested in your website, choose a reliable host.