So you’ve decided to start your website but you’re stuck trying to decide what web hosting package is going to be right for you and your business. Function, performance, even ease of use is all things that you will want to have in a good, comprehensive web hosting package. The goal is to make your website functional, user-friendly, and welcoming to attract business.
Here are the top ten things that you should research carefully in a web hosting package and company before you make your final decision on one and pay for the service they offer.
- User-Friendly Control Panel
If you cannot navigate around your website and manage your account, there is a problem. The control panel is where you create and manage domains, sub-domains, databases, shopping carts, and anything else that managing a functioning website requires. When researching web hosting plans, make sure you can look over a sample of the control panel and make sure it is something you will be able to easily use.
- POP3 E-mails and Aliases
POP3 e-mails and aliases are the most commonly used e-mail protocol on the Internet and they are very easy to maintain. User-friendly, your e-mail address using this type of internet/intranet mail usually has an address of email@example.com that is set up for you by your web hosting package.
- FTP and Virtual FTP
There is nothing worse than uploading files one by one. Make sure the web hosting service you use offers FTP or Virtual FTP options. These allow you to upload multiple files onto your website server at once.
- Automated Backups
If the web hosting company does not offer you automated scheduled backups of your website, move on. Your site should be live at all times, even if there is a server failure.
- Web Statistics
Knowing how many people are coming to your website is a necessity for any website owner. Your hosting package should include web statistics that count each unique visitor to your site, overall traffic, entry, and exit page numbers, and length of each visit. You may want to consider web statistics that also show keyword searches so you know whether or not your keyword search engine optimization is working properly.
- PHP and MySQL Support
These are scripting languages that you or your website designer will use to develop your site and embed it into HTML coding. Make sure your web hosting package offers support for both of these utilities for free.
- Webmail and SMTP
Having a web-based e-mail is handy in keeping your website-related e-mails separate from all of your others. This usually is included with web hosting packages and often comes with an address book, text editor, spell check, and the usual features that you find with most web-based e-mail services. If SMTP support is included, you’ll be able to set up your webmail so that it downloads into e-mail software such as Outlook or Eudora. Otherwise, you’ll just have to check it online.
- SPAM Filter
If you do not want to overrun by junk mail, verify that the web hosting package has SPAM filters built-in on the server where your website lives. This helps cut down the amount of time you spend sifting through the junk and looking for important e-mails.
- HTTPS (SSL) Protection
SSL protection is how orders and personal information are encrypted and secured so that customers can rest assured that all of their information is safe. If the web hosting service does not offer this for free, consider purchasing an SSL certificate and asking your hosting service to install it on your website for you.
- Security Shell
Securities shells help protect your access to your account. These are normally used when you own shopping cart software installed on your website and you should never launch your retail website without one.