Choosing a web host for your site is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. Why? It’s simple. Your hosting provider will decide whether or not your site is online, how quickly it will load for visitors, and whether or not the server is secure. If you choose the wrong hosting provider, you’ll suffer damage to your reputation and a significant loss in revenue due to downtime.
Leverage big data to focus your search for a reliable hosting company.
You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 with a massive research team in order to collect “big data”. A ton of information on hosting providers is available for free online. You would want to take look at what web hosting users came up with in their reviews and get a general sentiment about each hosting brand. If you’re looking at reviews posted online, I recommend checking multiple sources before making a final decision. Some reviews are promotional, even though they appear to be independent. By visiting multiple sites and finding feedback from multiple sources, you’ll have the best shot at finding a good quality vendor.
Use the WHOIS database to uncover registrar information.
Every domain (the address you type into your address bar in order to reach a site) is registered with ICANN’s WHOIS database. The information contained in their freely accessible database provides a public record for the individuals that are responsible for a given site. It’s possible that the site is privately listed, but you’ll still be able to see the company that registered the domain on behalf of their client. While the WHOIS database won’t tell you, which company is hosting the site, it will tell you which company the site used to purchase their domain. Oftentimes, the company that issues the domain is also the company that provides hostings. This is because hosting is commonly bundled with a new domain in order to maximize savings.
Dig deeper with hosting lookup tools.
Generally speaking, if one company is coming up a lot in your WHOIS search as a domain registrant, they probable have a good reputation for providing website hosting and domain registrations. But, if you want to be certain of the hosting company that is hosting your favorite websites, you can use an online host checking tool. These tools aren’t always accurate, but they’re pretty reliable. By finding out the hosting providers of the websites you visit most often, you can start to compile your own database of hosts that have provided you with an enjoyable web experience.
Understanding the hardware that powers modern data storage (i.e. hosting).
Just because a host is popular, it doesn’t mean they’re utilizing the latest and greatest servers. Server hardware changes over time. For example, the hardware used to store information is transitioning from a market dominated by traditional hard drives, to a market with a healthy mix of HDDs and SSDs. Solid state drives offer tremendous advantages in terms of how storage is accessed and saved. Instead of a spinning disk, a solid piece of metal is used to electronically store information. This is exciting, because the time it takes for a disk to spin-up can cause small delays in data being read and written. SSD drives are lightning fast. When a server uses SSD technology, you can bet that your data transfer rates – the speed with which a website loads – will improve. To find out what kind of hardware a server provider offers, it’s best to visit their site and navigate to their spec sheets. Reputable hosting providers will gladly provide data on the hardware that their server stacks run. Pay careful attention to the following components:
- Storage Drive
- Bandwidth of the connection to the Data Center that houses the servers.
That hardware that’s installed on a server will determine its lifespan. Server failures are horrible experiences. Suddenly your website is offline, and if you haven’t backed things up to a separate drive, you’ve lost all of the hardwork that went into building your site. With proper research, you can compile your own data on different hosting providers. By looking at a variety of sources, you’ll be able to minimize biased information and make an informed decision for hosting your site.