With the ever increasing number of hosting providers and options in the market, it can be really difficult to establish which hosting features are paramount to have and which ones are not. You will come to realize that most hosting providers often offer standardized set of features with a slight variation in price and amount. However, the main question here is whether you are certain of the features you really need to those that you actually want.
Consider the following six features as a must have by your hosting company to get you started.
1. Multiple Domains
Most hosting plans are priced reasonably, especially the lower level virtual private server (VPS) and the shared hosting plans. Come to think of it, if you have a number of websites and you had to pay for each to be hosted. This was going to be expensive for you.
Go for a hosting provider that offers the opportunity for you to host a number of domains on the same account. These are often called addon domains. One of the advantages of these kind of domain is the fact that even though they fall under your primary domains account, they will still be appearing to the visitors that they are totally independent. For instance, if your primary domain is myprimarywebiste.com and then you decide to add the newwebsite.com to your account, you will realize that the site will load as newwebsite.com instead of newwebsite.myprimarywebiste.com. The fact that you are capable of adding multiple addon domains to your account gives you the privilege of building several sites without having to add the hosting expense.
2. Email addresses
This is one of the most critical ways to win your customers approval. When it comes to trust, having an email address attached to your domain bridges the gap of trust between the customers to with business. For instance, when you receive a mail from XYZ Company and their email address ends with @xyzcompany.com instead of Gmail or yahoo, you will realize that this sounds more credible.
Once you have created an email address on your domain, you can decide to check your mail through webmail option which is often found on your control panel, or you can decide to set up a forwarder so that you be receiving all your domain addressed mail at an address of your choice such as Gmail or Yahoo. After that, you can set that Web based mail account also to be able to respond to messages that are from your domain address. This way, you get to experience convenience and at the same time your customers also get to feel more secure.
3. Uptime Guarantee
Nothing is more destructible to a website than when it goes down when it is on prime demand. Especially for E-commerce sites, this can be really disappointing. A good example is what if your e-commerce site decides to go down during a black Friday or cyber Monday. You realize that you will miss out a number of sales and traffic. Evidently, these two will never be recovered and more so, most disappointed customers are likely not to return again to your site especially if they had had higher expectations from it.
Most hosting providers promise their customers that they their servers will always remain running for at least 99% of the time even though some of them will even promise up to 100%. This might sound not true especially with the simple fact that servers go down due to different of reasons. However, in order to achieve uptime guarantee, hosting companies also provide cloud hosting. You should be able to seek such companies that also have cloud hosting. This will mean that all the same data will be stored on different networked servers so in case one of the servers goes down, the other servers will pick up the slack hence no data will be lost in the process and hence no or very little downtime.
4. FTP Access
Most people think they do not need a file transfer protocol (FTP) access given the fact that they can comfortably add content to their site. In fact, there are hosts who give their customers editing ability through a web interface. This makes it easy for people who are not more conversant with the back end. However, if you are having plans to branch or add particular functionalities to your site, it is impossible to achieve this without an FTP access.
A good example is when you want to start tracking visits to your site with Google analytics. In order for you to be able to do this, you will first need to have your site verified. One of the easiest ways to have your site verified is by uploading a HTML document to your root directory through the FTP. Similarly, you may decide that you want your site visitors to be able to download a document. This is possible though your hosts’ interface but when you have an FTP access you realize that you will have more control over the document. If you are planning to have more control over your site, ensure that your host offers an FTP option.
5. Control Panel
In order for you to do anything with your website such as to create and manage the domain email addresses, you need to have a control panel. Most hosting providers’ at least make one of these available for their customers. One of the most popular is the cPanel which is very powerful and user friendly even for first timers. However, if in case you are not comfortable with the cPanel look for a host company that offers alternatives to cPanel such as Zpanel, Webmin among others. Most of them have almost the same functionality as cPanel but vary slightly in price and ease of use.
6. Technical Support
Technical support comes high in the pyramid of demands in the sense that this is the main determiner of whether you are going to keep your site up and running or having technical issues that are going to see your site stall hence loosing data and customers. This is especially very important for clients who are not tech savvy. Check your hosting providers technical support and ensure they can easily be reached.
All in all it is obvious that not all hosting features are important to everyone. Every website is different and needs also differ. Always do a proper check up on your hosting provider before signing up with them.