Every website requires their website to be hosted with a hosting company. For those who are not familiar with what a hosting company is, it is basically a place that stores your website so it can be seen on the internet. Choosing a hosting company can be complex and even a bit confusing because there are so many options out there. While these are not the only items to look out for, here are some key factors to be aware of when either signing up for a new hosting plan or switching to a new hosting company.
Having website downtime is not only bad because your potential customers can not find you online, but because Google does not like to see websites that are down. This could affect your SEO ranking as well. Most hosting companies will tell you what their percentage of downtime is. For obvious reasons you want a hosting company that has very little down time
Hosting companies can have servers all over the world. The closer the server is to your location, the faster your website will load. If you are targeting people in the US market, then you should really have a hosting location in the US, in a city as close as possible to your target location. If you are looking to target people in Israel, ideally you would want a server in Israel. In my experience, I have had very bad experiences with hosting companies in Israel and therefore have always chosen a company based in Europe.
Hopefully you will not need support that often for your hosting, but when you do, you want a support agent that knows what they are talking about. Hosting support is the first to be called when your site is down. You want someone that will answer right away and know how to solve your problem in a quick and efficient manner.
It is important to see if your hosting plan offers backups. Most hosting plans offer backups of your website as part of an upgraded plan or an additional fee. While I hope you never need to use this, it is good practice to always have a backup of your website. Our standard of practice is to have more than 1 backup. It is possible for a hosting company to lose all your file (yes, I know it sounds crazy, but I have seen it happen). We normally take a manual backup of all the files for a website on a monthly or quarterly basis and then also have the hosting backup.
Today, every website should really have an SSL certificate, which means that your website url will be https://www.mycompany.com. This a security encryption seal for your website. Some websites that do not have this will be blocked, and your users will not be able to see your website. Google Chrome will mark your website as dangerous. Some hosting companies offer SSL certificates. Using the one provided by your hosting company, usually just makes installation easy and a very quick process, so if possible, I would recommend getting your SSL from your hosting company.
What hosting companies do you use and have a good experience with? My favorites so far are WP Engine and Siteground.