If you are going to be relying on your website to draw in customers, or as a sole means of generating revenue, e.g. running an e-commerce website, the last thing you want is the hosting servers to crash and leave you dry. If you are offline your revenue suffers, it’s as simple as that, but another thing to worry about is slow loading speed, which will irritate visitors and make them lose interest quickly. Remember people on the internet have very short attention spans and a limited time frame between updating their Facebook status, posting pictures on Instagram and streaming movies to devote to browsing new websites. A good chunk of your traffic will come from Google searches and people usually open up multiple tabs, so if it takes a few seconds to open each page on your website they can just close that tab and move on. Your choice of a web hosting service provider can make you or break you, so it is forth spending a little time to consider your options more carefully. Here is a list of the most important things to look for when looking for high-quality hosting. Accessibility, functionality and ease of use A high functionality and accessibility means that it is very simple and fast to make changes to your website. Sometimes it can take several steps to apply the necessary changes, which wastes valuable time and makes you work harder than you need to for a relatively simple task. A simple interface and a user friendly Control Pane will make things quite simple. Navigation needs to be simple enough, with the right tools and information to help you out, even if you are a user with disabilities – so you can focus your effort on more important things. Good, reliable uptime Generally speaking anyone can say they provide 99.9% uptime, but this is merely an empty boast until it is substantiated by facts – e.g. a proven track record and a list of big name clients. Reliability and consistency are things that are going to carry the day here, not mere promises and marketing hype. You want to be able to sit back and relax; knowing that everything is working like it should day in and day out, with very few setbacks spaced far between. If a company doesn’t offer a guaranty on their claimed up time, it means that they don’t really have the courage to stand behind their offer and should be avoided. v_19_02_2012_08_22_18_PM_btg-hosting Customer support and secure servers A good part of that reliability we were talking about lies in the fact that the hosting provider offers full customer support, 24/7. Security relates to the fact that your VPS or dedicated server of choice has adequate protection from the various bad things lurking on the internet – viruses, hackers and other such problems. Regular backups are also a good safety feature. Installation of a firewall, regular updates and maintenance can be covered with a fully managed server, a service which costs a little extra, but provides piece of mind. It is an option that is worth thinking about. Enough bandwidth and scalability How much bandwidth is enough will vary depending on the nature and size of your website, the media you have on your website and the overall traffic you get. The real problem arises when you see spikes in traffic as your website grows. Additionally you will be uploading more material and making the website bigger over time which will require additional bandwidth. You need to know what the hosting company’s policy is exceeding the allotted bandwidth and whether or not they have a more flexible model that offers you to scale up as your growing needs demand. Running a business or blog can be stressful and challenging in itself, the last thing you need is more problems, particularly when it comes to such an important thing as your official website. Make sure that you will be getting a good and reliable hosting service from a company before you choose them. Going too cheap will set you up for disaster and going for an overpriced option gives you very little over a moderately priced, but highly effective service. Do your research and know your needs before committing to a particular company.