Investigating Your Web Host: Does It Pass These Tests?
There are hundreds of web hosts to choose from, so there’s no reason to purchase a hosting plan that isn’t perfect for your website’s needs. You can search through a web host’s site to see if it offers enough bandwidth, storage space, website builders, etc. But don’t stop there: To get a true idea of how happy you will be with their service, you need to do a deeper investigation.
Do They Really Have 24/7 Support?
First, never choose a web host that doesn’t offer at least a 24/7 toll free phone line! Make sure this phone line is for technical support and not just sales. If your web host doesn’t have someone working over the weekend, what happens when your site goes down on Friday afternoon? It could be offline until Monday morning.
Other tech support features you can look for on their website: Live chat, email support, the ability to submit a ticket online, and a Help Center with articles, tutorials, and forums to allow you to look for your own answers. Basically, the more tech support options, the better.
iPage’s Knowledgebase is a good Help Center
Once you know what support options your web host offers, test them out. Call their tech support line to see if they put you on hold for a long time. Send a question by email—do they respond within an hour or two? How about the live chat? I’ve been to a few hosting sites that leave their chat area unattended for hours at a time.
Bluehost’s Live Chat was available immediately
Do They Let You Test Drive?
After you try out a web host’s tech support, look into testing a few other features. Some web hosts include an online demo of their control panel that you can test drive from their website. An easy-to-use control panel is one of the most important features of a web host because it is where you will access your account and work on your domain. If a web host includes a demo of their entire control panel, it shows that they are confident in their product. It also lets you decide if the control panel will work for you before you buy.
WebHosting Hub uses cPanel, a popular and well-known control panel
Can You Easily Create a Website?
A good website builder is important to people who don’t have website software of their own, or who don’t want to bother doing their own coding. Many web hosts offer a free site builder, but not many offer online demos. If you are going to build anything more than just a basic website, I suggest you find a web host that lets you try out their website builder so that you can make sure it offers all the functions that you need. Just like with control panels, an online demo of the program shows confidence in the product.
HostGator’s Five Step Website Builder
Did your web host pass the technical support and online demo tests? I hope so, but there are still a few more things you need to investigate.
That’s the part 2 – Investigating Your Web Host Part: Research Is Important!