Choosing a web host can be a confusing decision; how do you find the right host for you? Here are the questions to ask about hosting. “Do you own your servers?” Many web hosting companies do not run their own servers, instead of serving as resellers for other companies. While many resellers provide fine service, if a hardware problem does arise, a reseller may have to pass your complaint along to the server company, rather than help you directly. You’ll also want to know how many other customers are being hosted on those same servers; an overloaded server means slow service for your website users. And if you have certain scripts or tools you need to use, be sure that the company can provide a compatible server.

What are the bandwidth and disk space limits? One of the most important questions to ask about hosting, you should know how much space and bandwidth a plan will provide, and what happens if you go over those limits. A cheap plan with stringy limits could end up costing a lot in downtime, or excessive over-limit fees! It’s best to look for a plan that offers a bit more space and bandwidth than you’ve estimated you’ll need to avoid problems down the line.

What is the level of support offered? Some companies will provide extensive help in setting up your website, while other hosts assume you will have your own dedicated technical staff. You can check out the company’s online help system before you buy. Is support available 24/7? By phone, email, or chat? Pay attention to how the company answers your questions about their hosting: if you’re having trouble getting prompt answers from them now, you may find yourself frustrated when problems arise. Many hosts will provide a variety of scripts and tools for a basic website, but be sure to ask if you expect them to provide richer features, like e-commerce solutions. On the other hand, if you know you won’t need all the bells and whistles, you may be able to make do with a plainer, more affordable hosting plan.

What is the company’s plan to deal with server failure? A crashed server could cost you in lost revenue during downtime or even worse, lost data, so it’s well worth ensuring your host is prepared for an emergency. If a company insists that their servers never crash, beware! Find out if the company includes regular backups of your site as part of the hosting package. To avoid downtime, there should also be a redundant system in place in case of server failure. Asking the right questions about hosting now will help you keep your site running smoothly in the future!