Web Hosting Guide
Find Reliable Web Hosting

A reliable grocer is one that keeps the store well-stocked, provides enough cashiers, and doesn't overcharge you. But what makes a reliable web host? This article explains the characteristics to look for when you want to find reliable web hosting.

Similarities Between Finding Reliable Web Hosting and Reliable Cell Phone Service

Especially for those who have little previous experience, it's complicated to figure out every quality to look for in a web host that can be called reliable. After all, web hosting is different than most things we purchase. Perhaps the most similar area that people are likely to be already familiar with is cell phone service. In both cases, you usually:

  • sign a contract after a short (if any) trial period),
  • require as close to 100% up-time (time when service is available) as you can get, and
  • rely on high quality service and 24/7/365 web hosting customer support.

However, with reliable web hosting, there are some other areas that you should ask questions about.

Questions for Potential Web Hosting to Determine Reliability

Here are some questions that you may wish to have answered before you sign on with a web hosting. You can answer them by searching the web host's website, looking at sites they host, reading user website hosting reviews, talking with existing web hosting customers, and—if necessary—asking them questions through live chat or a phone conversation.

  • Do pages, including pages with multimedia, load in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Is web hosting phone support (not just email or web-submission support) available?
  • Is there regular network maintenance?
  • Is the software—both server software and applications—up-to-date and are patches to software installed promptly?
  • Are shared hosting customers' services impacted by other customers on the same server?
  • Is the web hosting system secure: is it protected from damage from fire, flood, and theft?
  • Is there off-site back-up?
  • Is there a back-up power source?
  • Is there a failover system in place to switch operation to a redundant or standby server in the event of a network failure?

Other Things to Consider

Is there a web hosting trial or demo available, or perhaps a 30-day money-back guarantee? This won't restore time you've spent setting up your website, but it will keep you from continuing to build on a faulty foundation if you find your first choice of web host is not as reliable as you wish.

Do review sites that use quality criteria rank this web host highly in terms of its reliability?

If you do choose to consider  web hosting testimonials/reviews in your thinking, evaluate them to see if they seem to be too good to be true or written by the web host as opposed to the legitimate opinions of real customers.

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