How to choose the Best Host
Of course, we’d love you to choose Jolt for your hosting needs. But our handy check list below should help you come to your own conclusions on which web host to choose and why. We’ve written impartially and you can use it to navigate the murky world of web hosting. Our checklist is UK-orientated (we’re a UK company) but should work further afield too.
Research the Company
Web hosts have a reputation for disappearing overnight, often leaving clients in the lurch as website data goes amiss. The low barriers to entry for hosting mean its very easy for someone to rent a server and become a “web host” overnight – without being a real company, or more. Some simple background checks will quickly put your mind at ease.
- Are they a real company? Do they list an address? Do they appear at Companies House and is the company active?
- How long has the company been around? Are they established?
- VAT Registered?
- Sensible “Legal Stuff” covering important topics like GDPR and Privacy
Dig into the technology
It’s very easy to rent a server and the likes of OVH and others will sell you a server for £15 per month. This is risky as the “host” might decide its not for them, cancel the server and disappear. Ideally, you want a provider that owns and operates their own infrastructure and hardware as well as being an established company. Some will own and operate their own datacentre although this is increasingly rare; most, including us, lease space in a larger datacentre and deploy our own infrastructure leaving the building management to the experts.
The following points will help you research the technology
- Are they a reseller? It might be difficult to tell so its fine to ask them
- Do they own and operate their own hardware?
- If yes, where are the servers? If you’re looking for a UK host, you probably want UK servers.
- What specification and how recent are the servers? No one wants clapped out old bangers for servers, nor do you want a cheap desktop PC pretending to be a server. It will fail, cause you downtime and does not deliver that best hosting experience
- SSD drives are the norm in this day and age
- Solid network with DDoS protection? Do they have an IP or a download link you can test performance?
- What uptime guarantee do they provide, and do they have a track record of uptime? Can you see their status area to see how well they handle incidents, and how often incidents happen?
As a further note to number 7, servers can and will go wrong – even when meshed into a cloud. So you should expect to see infrequent, minor incidents in the status area. Look at how quickly they are resolved, look at how the host communicated throughout the incident.
Do they have the right services on offer?
Most hosts will offer a range of different services. The standard these days are Web Hosting, Reseller, Cloud VM/VPS and Dedicated. Which service do you need and, importantly, does it come with the right options? For example, if you have a busy website that might require its own server, or cloud, do you really want all the technical hassle of managing the server? Do you have the right technical skills to do so? Or does the provider have a different service that will let you focus on the website while they figure out the hosting?
- What services does the hosting company offer?
- Do these cater to your website today and will they support it as it grows?
- How easily can you upgrade or change service if your website skyrockets overnight?
- What support is available to you and how good/quick/knowledgeable is it?