Website Error MessageI know, not the most exciting topic but trust me, this one is pretty important.

Imagine this. Your customer wants to learn something more about your business. Maybe they want to contact you. Or maybe even better, they want to buy something from you.

But they can’t. Your website is down. Again. The customer, or client, or whatever you want to call the prospective lead, sees nothing but a blank page.

Let me guess. You went with the cheap hosting? The one that cost just a penny to get started? Of course you can call the hosting company, fire off an email or chat with them online… if you can get through.Homer Simpson Error Message

While you’re listening to elevator music while you’re on hold, your clients are checking out your competitor’s website… which happens to load. Plus, since they went with a professional-level web host, their website also loads quickly.

A few other reasons to invest in a good web host:

  • SEO: When your site is down, it could potentially put you out of favor with Google and the other search engine Gods.
  • Security: A good web host will protect you from malware and other shady business. They’ll scan your website for any issues and have a back-up of your site just in case something really bad does happen.

How To Choose A Good Web Host

Start with figuring out what kind of hosting you need.

Do you have a brand-new business? You might be able to start with a shared server, which is cheaper and requires less technical know-how. However, it also means that you’ll be sharing that server with other websites, which can cause issues down the road. It might be worth investing in something higher up if you think you’re going to be in business for more than a few months.

If you’re ready to make that small investment or if you tried the shared server, your next choices are: a VPS (virtual private server), a managed server, or a dedicated server. A virtual server is still a shared server, but you share it with fewer websites and you have more control over it like a dedicated server. If you don’t have any technical knowledge, go with the managed VPS. A dedicated server web host is a physical server that you rent from the hosting provider. A good dedicated server can handle a lot of traffic. Plus, you get full control of it, but along with that comes a lot of responsibilities. Again, if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge, get the managed version.

Once you’ve figured out what kind of equipment you need, take a look at the hosting company’s track record. What does their uptime look like? Anything less than 99% uptime should make you keep looking.

Check their reviews online. Check a few websites. There are many so-called hosting review websites that are little more than paid advertisements. If the reviews are too good to be true, they probably are.

Before you pull out the credit card, here’s something that has never failed me: email the prospective web host. Don’t email sales. Email support and see how long it takes for them to respond and see if you’re happy with their response.

Follow these steps and you can be pretty sure that you’ll have a reliable web host and you won’t have to worry about your customers not being able to get to your website.

Yes, that is Sean Connery.the-most-funniest-and-cool-404-error-page-design-15

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