Not All Web Hosting is Created Equal. 4 Questions to Ask Your Host Today.

Web hosting is something that virtually every business has, and it's typically viewed as a commodity where the lowest price wins.  But, is the lowest price providing added-value for your business and your site, or are you missing out on significant business benefits that a few dollars more per month might have provided?

Hosting Questions to Ask

Here are some questions to think about as you consider renewing or making a change in your web hosting this year.

What type of support do you provide for content management systems like WordPress?

Not all hosting companies are created equal.  The features and functionality you will get vary widely from host to host, and you should carefully research exactly what you are getting for the price you are paying.  Given the visibility of your website and the potential it has to generate new clients and revenue for your business, web hosting is not an area where you necessarily want to go with cheapest provider.

Do you need to sign a contract or make a long-term commitment?

To provide your business with the most flexibility and the lowest risk, look for hosting companies that offer month-to-month plans and do not require you to sign a contract or commit to a year or more.

Who does your content belong to?

If you are hosting with an industry-specific provider on their proprietary system, they may provide content for your website, but this is not content that you own.  Should you move away from their platform at some point, make sure you are clear on who owns which content and that you only take what’s yours.

What tools are available to help you efficiently manage and launch your site?

Many hosting companies (but not all) will offer a full-service account management center, where you can not only manage the account and billing information, but also add features and tools to your site with just a few clicks.  These might include features like photo galleries, e-commerce, Office collaboration tools, online customer relationship management (CRM) systems, etc.

Technology Platform

Also make sure that you understand the technology platform that you are buying and what is included in your monthly fee.  Before researching hosting companies, gather key factors like your website traffic, the average bandwidth used by your site, and any special requirements of your site so you can find a package that is a good match for your business.  Purchasing a package that has a lot of what you don't need will cost you money you don't need to be spending, and purchasing a package that isn't adequate enough could result in significant site downtime or loss of search engine ranking if your pages load too slowly. 

When considering your web hosting options, arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the best decision instead of relying solely on price as the deciding factor.  Price may certainly be a factor, but given how competitively web hosting is generally priced today, it shouldn't be the only factor.