Every business owner or hobbyist wants to have their website up and running as smoothly as possible. There might be even more professional needs arising in the long run. Hosting services come in different sizes and shapes; some provide you with a bare-metal machine for you to set up from scratch and on the opposite end you have managed, hassle-free web hosting service that runs well-known CMS software like WordPress or Joomla.
Different problems different solutions
Between the two extremes, there is a countless number of different services; from cloud-based solutions to managed simple hosting options.
Whereas different problems require different solutions, we put together a list of things that we think you should consider before picking a service. Here is the list of things that you might want to consider before signing up for a hosting contract.
It is crucial that your website is accessible anytime someone types it in or searches for it. One of the most important aspects of the service you get from your hosting company is the uptime; the percentage of your website be available during a year-long period. The percentage of uptime is generally 99% or more. Things differ if there is an SLA in place but generally 99,9% is a common practice. Nines added after this makes the service exceptionally stable.
The percentage in the notation is a year-round ratio and is calculated as the percentage of a 365-day calendar year. So, a 99% uptime guarantee means that your site might be unavailable for more than three days whereas 99,999% designates a total outage of just over five minutes per year. So, nines matter.
The speed of the service you pay for is as important as the uptime itself. If your users suffer from slow loading speeds regardless of their own connection speeds that is absolutely a bad experience and you should avoid that at any (reasonable) cost. There are some criteria, some specifications of the service you buy that directly affect your website’s speed. If you are on shared hosting you will probably have a CPU and network cap, if you hit that cap with any number of concurrent connections (visitors) everybody visiting your website will suffer from sluggish loading speeds and drops.
On the second tier, your actual, physical hardware also affects the loading times. Many new websites use faster storage and newer CPU’s, so they are at advantage on these loading times. Unless you are using shared hosting, which is at many providers are supplied as they are, many aspects of the hosting can be modified and upgraded. You can upgrade the bottlenecking aspect and provide a better experience for the visitors.
Restrictions and limits
There are many ways that hosting companies classify their services and set some real or made-up barriers to separate customers into more manageable clusters. To be honest most of the limits and upgrade restrictions derived from real-world scenarios and common practices ensure companies stay in business with sensible profits and customers get what they need within an acceptable budget.
To provide some examples of the limits and restrictions, we can imagine a rack of servers that are used for simple managed hosting. The company provides you with a 100Mbps bidirectional connection with a reasonable monthly data cap. If that rack had only 10Gbps of connectivity you would not be given an option to rise your ethernet connection to 1Gbps for the sake of the whole rack of customers. This is the simplest form of restriction; you can elaborate on this a lot. But be sure what are the limits for future expansion and migration before you sign up.
Determine your needs
Before signing up for a service, weigh-in you need accordingly on the short, medium, and the long term and consider options well. If the upgrade and migration options are painless and suit your budget, it would mostly be okay for a go. If there are some barred gates that you think that you might be passing through in the short run, avoid going in with the hosting solution candidate and reconsider your options.
Do not forget that there is a hosting solution that might fit you better than anything you have seen before. Do not rush your decision.