Not all web hosting platforms are designed the same. In fact, the difference between many of them is similar to night and day. Unfortunately, some issues may not be immediately apparent. Without taking the time to understand the web host, it could be a hard and expensive lesson to learn.
There are many facets of choosing the best host to deliver that perfect gem for blogging. While many people don’t really put much thought into the process, the wrong decision could be a hindrance on the site’s performance. After all, no one wants to purposely create a website that is doomed from the beginning.
Here are ten lessons that can be learned the hard way when it comes to selecting a blog host. The trick is to avoid these kinds of issues while building the best site possible.
Price Isn’t Always the Best Deciding Factor
One of the worst things any developer can do is sign up with a web hosting platform simply because it was the lowest-costing service. There is a reason why many of these hosts are exceptionally cheap.
For the most part, low-cost hosting is accompanied by low-feature capabilities. Although price can still be a deciding factor, it shouldn’t be the only aspect that is considered. On the other hand, an expensive host doesn’t necessarily mean all of the bells-and-whistles are available either.
No Access to a Content Delivery Network
One of the most prolific technologies in use today from web hosts is that of the content delivery network, or CDN. These systems distribute the site to various servers around the globe which makes access to content much faster.
Most of the best hosting companies now offer this platform by default as it tremendously improves performance for visitors and search engine optimization.
Unable to Grow with the Blog
A host that is unable to grow with the blogger is not conducive for future success. It’s the purpose of every site owner to build a popular blog that is visited en mass. A host that cannot accommodate this growth restricts what can be accomplished.
Some hosting platforms have a limited amount of web space available. This means that some things might have to be avoided, such as images and video. Eventually, the cap will be hit and growth will be stunted.
Using Outdated or Inadequate Software
One of the greatest threats that pose a risk to a blog owner is that of using outdated or inadequate software to operate the site. For example, using much older versions of PHP in the background could pose security problems. Even trying to develop a site with Joomla 1.5 could leave the blog open to all kinds of hacking attempts.
Good web hosting needs to be supported by current software for both the back and front ends of the site.
Poor Data Transfer Rates
As a blog grows in popularity, bandwidth is quickly consumed. At some point, lesser hosting accounts could start to accumulate fees for overage use or limited access, which will hurt visitor experience and SEO.
The allotted bandwidth isn’t the only thing that can affect data transfers, either. Poor networking equipment and bad in-house cabling can also pose a threat to accessibility.
Substandard Reliability in Performance
Reliability in performance can come in many shapes and sizes. For instance, having an exceptionally high guaranteed uptime is a good thing to have.
Every second that the website is down may be a sale that is lost. Frequent downtimes will eventually hurt overall income as well as search engine ranking, especially if sites like Google or Bing try to crawl the site while it’s offline.
Lack of Strong Security Measures
While most web hosts utilize decent security measures against the criminal element, many are lacking when it comes to protecting websites. This goes beyond simply adding a security plugin to WordPress or making sure there is an index.html file in directories.
Spam filtering, site hardening and regular malware scans are not always part of the package deal with some hosting providers. As a result, sites may become corrupted as the domain gets put onto a blacklist because a hacker used it for spamming.
Not Having FTP Access to Root Directories
Not everyone thinks that FTP access to the site’s root directory is important for a blogger. However, using tools like FileZilla can be monumental when it comes to troubleshooting problems in platforms like WordPress.
For example, installing a bad plugin could cause the entire site to malfunction. Without the ability to log into the admin screen, it may be almost impossible to fix. On the other hand, using FileZilla to manually remove the plugin from the WordPress directory would fix the issue almost instantly in many cases.
No Access to Regular Backups
It’s always a smart idea to have backups for a website. Whether it’s from incorrect coding or an attack by an overzealous hacker, recovery options are necessary even for the smallest of blogs.
Unfortunately, not all hosting providers offer backup services for this recovery. In the worst-case scenario, a site would have to be rebuilt completely. This results in loss of traffic as well as any position in search results.
Lack of Scalability
When starting off with your website you will usually start with the smaller plans that are available such as shared hosting plans. However, with time and as your business and website grows your needs change and if your provider does not offer you an easy path to upgrade to higher plans such as managed vps or cPanel dedicated server it becomes increasingly difficult for you in such a situation since you will need to do the entire migration of your website yourself.
Lack of Support
A lack of proper support is another issue that needs to be avoided. Not everyone has a background in website development or information technology. In reality, a large portion of bloggers today has no idea how to code in PHP or HTML.
Tech support should be there to assist, especially if there is an issue with the web hosting server. Some of the best hosts will have chat, phone and email readily available 24 hours a day.
Finding the perfect web hosting is a process that needs to be taken seriously. Jumping into the first plan that comes along because it’s cheap may not be the wisest choice. After all, the provider could be missing a lot of valuable tools that promote growth and development. Take the time to investigate the web host and make sure to choose the best one to meet a blog’s objectives.