Finding the best servers to host your website on can be daunting. There are many things to consider, not least:
- the type of site you wish to build
- how to manage it
- whether to host it in-house or on externally
As well as this, you should also think about server upgrades, monitoring and security, content management, and customer service. Read about these and other factors to consider when choosing a web hosting provider.
Websites can come under threat from hackers, viruses and other types of cyber attacks. If you are hosting your website in-house, you will need to put your own security measures in place.
If you use third-party hosting services, server security will generally be their responsibility. Look for assurances that they are running firewalls and malware detection, and monitor their servers for unusual activity. See more on cyber security for business.
Server upgrades and monitoring
You should monitor the web server performance - including its central processing unit, memory, disk usage, network performance and back-up utilities. From time to time, you will also need to install new versions of the server software or upgrade hardware components.
If downtime is needed for updates, try to restrict these to overnight or when minimum disruption is likely for your customers. If you host your website externally, the provider will generally be responsible for upgrades and monitoring server performance.
Content management systems (CMS) allow authorised users across your business to easily add or modify web content without the assistance of specialist web staff or extensive technical knowledge. When choosing a hosting provider, keep in mind that the host should support whatever CMS you wish to use with your site.
Customer service is essential in web hosting. Even the best host can't guarantee a 100 per cent uptime, so it is inevitable that technical issues may turn up. Before this happens, you will want to know:
- what support channels the host offers, eg live chat, phone, email
- when is the support available, eg 24/7 or during business hours
- is there a limit to the support you can get as part of the package
See how to choose an IT supplier for your business.