When looking for a web hosting company it’s always a good idea to go straight to them with any questions you have. Ideally you will do this before signing up that way you can gather information about several hosts before making a decision. Depending on you and your website’s needs you may be asking more unique questions, but these 5 questions are good starting points with any company.
1. Do you outsource support?
This is especially important for those of you who will need help on a regular basis. Being able to avoid a language barrier will help you immensely when getting quick support. That’s not to say all outsourced support is bad, but it’s just easier to deal with a native English speaker. If you anticipate needing support quite a bit, look for a host that does no outsourcing.
2. Do you raise your prices?
If you’re just starting out, or are looking to host a website on a budget, this is going to be the most important question for you to ask. The vast majority of “cheap” web hosts are only cheap when you sign up. When it comes time to renew you will have prices that are 3-4 times as much, making them more expensive than those that have higher prices to start off.
3. What are your initial quotas of disk space and bandwidth?
Plenty of shared hosting companies offer “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth. This simply isn’t true. They will have something buried in their terms limiting just how much they actually will give you. It’s important to ask what they let you start out with so that you know what your limits are before having to ask for more space. The more they start out out with, the better.
4. Who owns the domain name?
This is especially important if you are getting a free domain name with your hosting account. You want to make sure that you are the owner of the domain name, no matter what. This will allow you to take it with you should you choose to move to a different host. Some hosts will attempt to hold domain names hostage to make you stay with them. You’ll want to avoid this issue by making sure the domain name is under your ownership.
5. Do you have an uptime guarantee?
An uptime guarantee is important because it gives you peace of mind knowing that the web host takes their duties seriously. After all, you’re paying them so that you can have a website up on the internet. An uptime guarantee on its own isn’t enough, however. You also need to make sure they will compensate you should something happen and they don’t meet that guarantee. Chances are that if a web host doesn’t have an uptime guarantee then they aren’t worth your time.