When making choices about a web hosting service provider for your website, it’s important to look beyond the benefits a company displays.
Every web host will put their best foot forward.
Their home pages will have attractive offers that are tempting at first sight.
Don’t you fall in love with any of them so fast.
Do your homework.
Do more than enough window shopping.
An attractive ad with a web hosting offer should not be the only thing that influences your choice of a web host.
Again, web hosting companies will never tell you about what they do not offer.
Instead, most web hosts will have similar offers, such as unlimited web space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, etc.
These are not enough to buy your loyalty.
Below are the main factors you need to carefully consider when choosing a web host:
1. Web Hosting Cost
This is the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind whenever they are looking for a domain and web hosting service.
How much is it going to cost me? How do I get a domain and hosting at a cheap price?
I am very sure before you landed here, you spent some time knocking search engines with queries about ‘cheap web hosting and cheap domains in Kenya’.
And that’s great and advisable, but you need to consider the web-hosting cost without any compromise on reliability.
Be careful with free domains.
A number of web hosts will use free domains as baits to attract new clients and thereafter subject them to the poorest services.
In order to understand more about free domains, extremely cheap or free web hosting, check out this detailed article.
I have also clearly compared the five best free web hosting services available in Kenya on this same site.
The bottom line is that some hosting companies will offer promotional pricing at an extremely low cost, but then have some hidden fees, lock you in, and recover their dues with interest.
For instance, some web hosts will make the transfer of your website to another company very costly.
You came in free, you are paying dearly for it, the service is poor and you cannot leave. Did you see that?
Yet some other web hosts will offer the domain for free and recover the amount through exorbitant web hosting charges.
It’s like a ‘no deposit, more rent’ situation. Getting in is easy, staying in is a punishment.
This is the reason you need to do your homework by comparing the features each web hosting company offers with the fees before making your final decision.
But you don’t need to worry.
We will be discussing and comparing these prices and features in detail right here.
2. Technical Support
The reason you are setting up a website/blog is because you have a target audience. Call them visitors.
Sometimes you will discover that your page is unavailable.
I don’t know why this normally happens when the page is needed most.
This means that your visitors are completely unable to reach your website/blog.
Infact, you end up losing them completely.
First, you need to ensure that the web host does not have a reputation of constant server issues.
You can get such information from customer reviews. You certainly do not want to fall into a trap that has enough victims already.
For those few moments of shame, you want to ensure that your web host is available and able to help you resolve the issue in a matter of seconds.
And that’s why the customer care department becomes very important, probably the most important factor to consider when choosing a web hosting company for your site in 2020.
Your web hosting service provider should have a customer care department with a solid reputation for being both available and reliable.
Here is the test: Always emphasize that you should be able to speak to a real person 24/7, on any day.
Anything less than this is equivalent to being locked out of your apartment, only to realize that the landlady is enjoying with her pals somewhere in Diani.
Things like “Please fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible” are enough to make you look for an alternative web hosting service provider.
A number of web hosting companies in Kenya have LIVE CHATS available for their customers.
Only a few have Live Chats available 24/7. Some have WhatsApp chats.
Still, many web hosts in Kenya only use email tickets as the only means of communication. Avoid them when you can.
A web hosting company that does not invest in customer service is never serious about web hosting, whether in Kenya or elsewhere.
The emphasis here is that the ability to answer your questions and deal with technicalities quickly and efficiently defines good customer support.
As I mentioned earlier, you are not in a hurry to get a web host tonight.
Take your time and try contacting the customer support teams of several prospective web hosts.
Examine them and see who responds to your concerns the fastest.
If it takes more than five minutes to get a customer care representative, then you clearly need to consider another company.
3. Number of Websites
With time you will experience an increase in appetite for growing your online presence beyond one website/blog.
You will one day not resist the temptation of parking a nice domain after realising that it’s available.
You will need domains and hosting service for these additional websites/blogs.
Back to our rental property analogy.
It’s like renting some property with expectations of additional occupants sometimes in the future.
Maybe children, a spouse, or visitors.
You don’t want to go looking for accommodation from neighbors when that time comes.
That would not only be costly but also an inconvenience.
Your peace of mind is dependent on the assurance that they will be comfortably accommodated right where you are.
Therefore, before signing up with a particular web hosting service provider, consider their different packages.
Pay keen attention to whether they will allow you to run multiple websites on a single web hosting account.
Find out the cost of hosting unlimited websites and compare it with several other web hosting companies.
In short, take your time. Be choosy.
Let your shopping bag remain empty for some time.
Look for a web host that allows you to add new domains as you grow with time.
4. Availability of Website Backups
Every website out there is prone to hacking.
Whether they are doing it to intercept a service or just for fun, hackers can intrude into any website, any time.
Not scary, but a reminder that you should do some thorough work before settling on a web hosting service provider.
Site backups are an important cushion against hacking incidents or mistakes that you or your webmaster may make from time to time.
Think about a situation where you delete an important file on your website or make changes that hurt the entire look and feel of your site.
It’s obvious that a backup of your site will cushion you from such and other eventualities.
Of course, it is your responsibility, although most web hosts have a way of generating backups and storing them for such eventualities.
Some web hosting companies will even have a better way of doing it, sometimes offering cloud storage for the backups.
Ensure you ask enough questions about site backups.
You don’t want to cry for 365 days, having lost all your data.
5. Your Unique Needs
Just like every family has its own needs, every website has its own unique needs.
Before making the final decision, take some time and analyze your online needs, both in the short run and in the future.
Your service provider should not only meet but exceed these needs.
Let me give an example.
A simple personal blog would not require the same amount of disc space as an e-commerce site.
The reason is obvious.
An e-commerce site will be regularly loaded with tons of images and video descriptions of products and services.
A simple blog, on the other hand, will only have a few images and text.
If you are setting up an e-commerce site with high traffic expectations, RUN away from anything called Shared Hosting.
If possible, do some thorough research about similar websites and their web hosts.