Mostly operating in the shadows, web hosts are an unheralded and often-undervalued aspect of a website’s operations. Yet the difference between having a good web host and a bad one is often the difference between having happy customers and annoyed or distracted customers.
As you likely have a good understanding already of what web hosts do, let’s jump right into a few of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing one.
They Fall for the Unlimited Bandwidth Spiel
There is simply no way a web host can legitimately offer you unlimited bandwidth. Any host claiming to do so is attempting to pull the wool over your eyes, and has their real limitations buried somewhere in the fine print; and chances are they’re not very high, hence the deception. Having a full understanding of how much bandwidth you have and what will happen should you exceed it is vital to running your business well and without fear.
They Choose Free or Low Cost Hosting
Wary new online business operators are prone to look for free or cheap web hosting initially, believing the small savings will be worth the difference in service. They are not. You should be building your business on a solid foundation of investment or funding, which should allow you to prioritize quality over cutting corners for cost savings. The difference between a free host bombarding your visitors with their own ads and luring them away from your site, and a high quality one can not be overstated.
They Don’t Test The Host’s Customer Service
Web hosting is not a service where you can wing it on your own, and in which the quality and timeliness of the customer service isn’t overly important. You will need to be in contact with your web host at various points over a multitude of issues, and you’ll tear your hair out if you’re stuck with a host that is slow and inattentive to your needs. For this reason, your web host’s customer service is extremely important, and testing it out beforehand is a good way to gauge it.
Making the Move to a New Host
So you’ve identified some of the key failures with your own web host and have decided to make the move to a new one. You now have a whole new set of potential landmines to avoid in transferring your service over to greener hosting pastures.
The major issue you want to avoid is having a lengthy bout of downtime for your website. For this reason, you should not inform your existing web host of your impending move from their service until you’re completely up and running on the new servers. The process of switching your DNS records to the new servers can take as long as 12 to 24 hours, though this can be greatly expedited with services like Cloudflare. During that time both services will be running but you’ll be unable to make a thorough test of your new site or add content. Should something go wrong, you may need to attempt the process again, and will want the old hosting still in place so customers can continue to reach your website.
Loss of Data
Another, greater concern is loss of data. Again, you should avoid notifying your existing web host of a move, as they may decide to shut down your service immediately, regardless of the time remaining on your subscription. Should your web host shut down your service before you’ve had time to backup your files and safely migrate them, you could potentially lose mounds of valuable content and customer data that you may be unable to recover.Posted in Blog