Choose a Web Hosting Provider
A web hosting company, just like any other commercial business, is a for-profit enterprise. The company hooks web sites to the world wide web, but that’s just the start of your relationship with your provider. In fact, your provider (at least a good one) works with you as you build your on-line business.
And a good provider wants you to be successful as much as you do. Unfortunately, not all hosting companies share the same business values and some are downright unethical, placing your web-based business in danger and lessening your chances for on-line success.
So what should you expect from your web host? Honesty, integrity, concern, help and a corporate friend that puts your best interests first.
Green Hosting Technology
The air is getting dirtier. The seas are turning black. Clean drinking water is scarce in many places in the world and we all have a responsibility to use less energy. It’s the ethical thing to do.
So, to start, look for a provider company that shows concern for the environment today and in the future – a provider that employs green tech to deliver services to you. What to look for?
- more renewable energy sources like wind turbines and cold water cooling for web host servers
- Energy Star rated, highly efficient servers, which are nothing more than huge hard drives on which your web site resides on the server side
- responsible disposal of outdated equipment to prevent heavy, toxic metals from seeping into our water supplies
- an ethical, corporate value to employ the least amount of energy while delivering the highest quality of service
Green hosting services are the future. Only a few hosts employ green technology end-to-end. Choose one of these vanguard companies. That commitment to a cleaner future makes an ethical statement about what’s important to the web hosting company’s management team.
More Shared Access
A web hosting company is a collection of servers – huge hard drives that connect web sites to the world wide web.
Now servers cost money and energy efficient servers cost a LOT of money. So, there’s always the temptation to stuff as many web sites onto a server as possible. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for some web hosts to cram 3,000 web sites onto a single server to recoup the cost of that server as quickly as possible.
The problem with loading up a single server with a few thousand web sites is accessibility to server assets. For example, a server uses a common CPU – central processing unit. If the server is overloaded, you may not get instant access to your server’s CPU, and neither will site visitors.
Bandwidth is another shared asset – how quickly does your web site interact with site visitors. Studies show that 90% of web surfers will sit through a 10-second download while only 10% will sit through a 30-second download. In the space of 20 seconds, you can lose 80% of visitors trying to access you site because the web host has placed so many web sites on your server that adequate bandwidth isn’t always available.
And you lose site visitors. If you use a shared hosting account to store your web site, ask about the number of other websites that’ll be competing for access to shared, server side resources. You want your fair share and so do site visitors.
Take a Test Drive
An ethical provider doesn’t want a bunch of unhappy clients. It wants happy, satisfied buyers of the host’s services.
An ethical provider company will let you try out the back office while providing a money back guarantee. A 30-day, money back guarantee shows that the web host cares about client satisfaction more than making a few extra bucks.
If a provider you’re considering doesn’t offer a cash back refund, find an ethical provider that does the right thing – every time.
Also, take a look at the terms of service (TOS) of any web host you consider. Most lock you into a 12- or 24-month contract with lots of boilerplate and fine print so tiny no one can read the real TOS.
If you’re locked in to a long-term contract, you continue to pay a monthly hosting fee even if you take your site down! Does that sound fair to you? Does it sound ethical?
An ethical provider doesn’t want to lock in customers. It wants customers who are happy with the delivery of services and stay because they get their money’s worth every month.
Also, watch out for teaser rates – a big come on to get you to sign up at $4.95 a month for six months, at which point the hosting fee jumps to $39.95 every 30 days. Does that sound like a company you want as your on-line partner? Sounds highly unethical but a lot of web hosts tease you in to signing up before hitting you with a whopping jump in your monthly hosting fee.
Surprise! You’ve been duped by an unethical provider that hides the truth. Look for total and complete transparency. And check out the terms of service. If the TOS are loaded with legal gibberish, that web host isn’t being transparent in its dealings with you. And that’s just not ethical.
Help When You Need It
When you choose a provider, look for one that delivers more than server space. Look for a host that wants to help you reach the highest levels of success in every way.
And one of those ways is a 24/7 toll-free hotline so you can get tech support or answer to a billing question at any time – even 2:00 AM if you have a question. The help desk should be available, totally knowledgeable, empowered to solve problems and 100% patient. If it takes a while to walk you through how to hook up a blog module, you want someone on the other end of the line who has the knowledge and endless patience to help you accomplish your on-line objective.
An ethical provider is a reliable web host – one you can count on to deliver the highest levels of service, a full bag of web site building tools and applications and an uptime that makes the other web hosts jealous, because when your server is “down,” your business is off-line and your prospects can’t find you.
With today’s state-of-the-art technology, you should expect your web site to be “up” 100% of the time using redundant systems and procedures that kick in automatically, even if the power grid goes down in the city where your provider is located.
Any one can become a web host. In fact, there are thousands of host resellers – small businesses that rent server space at wholesale prices and sell that space at retail. These small companies are in business to make money – period. They often lack customer support, some have only been in business for a few months and still don’t have all the “bugs” worked out and some disappear overnight.
You go to bed after checking your web site and wake up the next morning and get a 404 error message telling you that your web site isn’t available. Why? Because that low-ball web host you chose flipped the switch and walked away with thousands of customer profiles – personal data that’s now up for sale on hacker sites around the world.
Check the lineage of your web host’s management team before making any decision. An ethical provider will have a long track record of quality to assure that it’s here today, here tomorrow.
Your provider should be pulling for your success from day one. That’s how the web host grows its business – with an expanding base of happy customers who tell others about the ethics and quality of engagement they receive from their honest, involved and ethical web hosting company.
Think you got nothing to lose going with the cheapie hosts? Think again. Go with a web hosting company that lays it all out for you, provides the tools you need to build and manage a web site and a company that puts your needs first.
That’s a web host that values business ethics, and a web host you want to partner in your web success.