It is the work of a web host provider to ensure that your website is always accessible to clients and that it suffers minimal downtime. However, a bad web host provider will impact your business and website's SEO ranking negatively.
A smart business owner will always be aware that even the best hosting providers have the potential of turning into bad hosts, no matter their current reputation. Therefore, if running an online business, it becomes necessary to put up a defense that will protect your business from your web host provider. Below are ten tips on how to do this.
1. Choose a web host provider that offers a long trial period
Typically, web host providers should provide at least one month of trial period, but there are others who would offer longer. A web host provider offering a long trial period shows that they are very confident in the quality of service they offer.
Let us assume that after 90 days of paying for a year of service, you are unsatisfied with the quality offered by the hosting company. A money back guarantee means that you can cancel the remaining time and get a full refund of your money. However, have it in mind that companies that offer such a guarantee know that they provide top quality service and that you are not likely to cancel. In any case, companies that offer guarantees show that they are confident of the service they offer and are more trustworthy than those that do not.
2. Use a Separate Registrar to Register Your Domain Name
While many web hosting providers offer a free domain name registration with every purchase of a hosting package, it may be a wise move to register your primary domain with a separate registrar and spend an extra $10-$20. (except GoDaddy, they offer web hosting for just $1.00 plus free domain, but you can trust them because they also are #1 Domain Registrar of the World's)
We advise this because when you want to change hosts, it will be much easier for you to make the move. Otherwise, you may be required to wait for your web host provider to release your domain name which may prove difficult since they will be losing business in the process. This can have adverse effects on your business as your site could be offline for hours or even days.
However, if you have already registered your domain with your current hosting provider, there is no need to panic. There is still a way. You can transfer your domain to a third party registrar, for example, GoDaddy. They have step by step instructions on how you can transfer your domain name to their registrar service. There are however many registrars that you could use.
3. Avoid Blacklisted IP Addresses
There are many reasons why you should keep away from blacklisted IP addresses. These include the bad reputation of the hosting company that will affect your website and also so that other service providers do not block your emails. Using a host with a blacklisted IP means that emails you send from your account will be blacklisted as well.
To be safe, always ask for the IP address of the web host provider and run a check using an online tool like Spam Haus Lookup tool.
4. Carefully select a payment method
Setting up an automated payment plan with your web hosting provider can make things easier for you but can prove to be a nightmare should you wish to cancel your subscription. Unprofessional companies could continue charging your debit or credit card even after you have cancelled your account with them.
When signing up for a web hosting account, there are three major options that you can choose from. They are PayPal, Credit Card, and Debit Card. Each method has its set of pros and cons as we discuss below:
PayPal: Should you wish to cancel your subscription, you can easily do so from the user account pane. It also has additional features that protect buyers from fraud and theft, and you do not need to reveal your card information.
Credit Card: If a company refuses to stop charging your card, you may be forced to cancel your account to stop the charges. It, however, depends on your credit card company as some banks offer extra protection for sensitive information while others do not.
Debit Card: You may incur additional fees when trying to stop an unprofessional company from charging you account. It is, however, easier to replace your debit card if need be. If a web hosting company refuses to stop charging your account after cancelling your subscription with them, you can just withdraw all the money from your account.
5. Compare Features and Prices with Other Web Host Providers
To be successful online, you need to get the best deal possible. It is important that you compare features offered by different web host providers before you settle for one. You could even look at user reviews and contact several people who already use the services of the companies to gain a better insight of the companies.
Do not rush into making a decision. If you take your time to do research, you will be more likely to be satisfied with the hosting company you will choose.
– What is the price range of the company?
– Is there a company that offers better services at a lower price?
A general rule of thumb when getting bids for any job is to do away with the lowest and highest bidders. Now, since web host providers are in essence bidding for your business, you should also do away with the lowest and highest hosts if it makes sense to do away with them. Always remember that when a deal is too good to be true, it most probably is, and you should avoid companies that charge a premium unless there is a very good reason for this.
For example: DreamHost charges $20 a month for a managed WordPress hosting plan and also provide in-house technical support. On the other hand, InMotion charges $2 extra, but their servers are ultra-fast and more reliable.
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6. Regularly Backup Your Site
A website meltdown is probably the worst catastrophe you can ever deal with as a website owner. Losing even a bit of your hard work could be extremely time-consuming and costly irrespective of whether it was caused by a server issue or hackers.
For this reason, you should always back up your site no matter who your host is. You should also do quite regularly. If you are using WordPress, there are hundreds of plugins and web services that will help automate this process for you.
7. Track your Host's Uptime
The only way you can be sure that your web hosting company actually delivers on its 100% uptime guarantee is if you track it on your own. While it is expected that every host will experience some downtime every once in a while because of occasional upgrades or some minor issues, good host providers will have very little downtime.
To track your host provider's uptime, you could use tools like Pingdom, Uptime Robot.
8. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly
Having a strong password in place is no longer enough because hackers are also getting smarter each day. A good example could be that someone working for a web hosting company leaves on bad terms with the company and takes with them the passwords. Since he has the password to your site, he can sell it or even use it himself.
You should use a strong password that cannot be easily guessed. It should have a combination of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. You should also make it a habit of changing your password frequently and have a good antivirus software on your computer and always ensure it is updated. Doing this will protect you from hackers who could gain access to your computer and steal your passwords.
Strong Password Generator: Random.Org
9. Keep Your Options Open
Just because you have chosen your hosting provider does not mean you are stuck with them forever. Many times, a hosting company may start very well but start going downhill after some time. Other times, the company may grow too quickly, and their servers become inadequate to sustain the sudden growth. When this happens, you should be able to switch hosts.
Always remember that changing hosts is not a difficult task. Some hosting providers will even do it for you free. Additionally, changing your host provider does not affect your Google rankings if done right. Just make sure you point your domain to the new name servers after you are done making the switch. Lastly, if your current host provider does not want to give you a deal, a new company may give you a discount on a new customer account.
10. Understand Your Hosting Needs
As a website owner, you need to understand fully what you need from a hosting company because this will help you make the right choice. Look into the future as you are making decisions. For example, if you want a shared hosting package to start you off but know you will need VPS hosting in the future, you should find a host that offers both packages. This way, you can easily upgrade when the time comes.
The web host you choose has a great impact on how fast your site loads, whether it will experience downtime, and also how high you rank in search engine results. The speed of your site is critical because it affects not only your bounce rate but also your rank in Google.
We can, therefore, not stress enough how important it is to find a good and reliable host for your website.