Many businesses are now reliant on their websites to varying degrees for attracting new customers and promoting their services/products. All websites need two main things to be able to function: a domain name and a place to keep the files that make the site work, also known as a host.
Web hosting providers essentially rent space on their servers to businesses that have website needs, but what features should you look for in a web host?
1. Comprehensive and effective security
When you move online, customers will expect you to keep their personal information safe and to comply with laws and regulations such as the GDPR. Cyberattacks cost businesses over £1,000 on average and can potentially be ruinous.
With this in mind, you need a web host that takes security incredibly seriously. Look for a provider that offers a comprehensive suite of security tools, including – as a minimum – a firewall, malware scanning, intrusion prevention, email scanning, spam filtering and SSL encryption.
2. Remote backups
These are a must-have and provide insurance against disaster. Your website could go offline for any number of reasons, including a cyberattack or accidental file deletion; therefore, it is vital to have all your crucial files backed up.
You should look for a provider that offers regular backups and that ideally mirrors these across multiple servers and locations so that you always have a copy available to fall back on. These backup solutions should also be very secure (encrypted) and regularly tested for integrity.
3. Guaranteed uptime
Your website should be available at all times, with only minimal exceptions such as security patching. Being offline can result in lost sales and reputational damage; therefore, look for a web host that offers a guarantee of at least 99.9 per cent uptime.
You should look for a provider that offers scalable solutions and can easily give you additional storage, extra bandwidth, and even move you to a dedicated server or VPS. It should be able to offer this temporarily, such as if you experience a sudden surge, and in the long term if you need it.
If you have website needs, including hosting, firms such as names.co.uk offer a variety of services and packages.
5. Round-the-clock technical support
Most business owners will need help at some point to resolve a problem or make improvements to their site. For this reason, you should choose a provider that offers multi-channel tech support at all times.
6. Professional email addresses
An email address that contains your business name makes you look professional and gives legitimacy to your communications. Make sure that your web hosting provider offers this style of email address and that its email service can be integrated with the likes of Outlook and Gmail. It should also provide spam protection, malware scanning, and blacklisting.
In summary, a good web host will be able to ensure security, reliability and technical support, enabling your business to flourish online.