There are a few things to consider when choosing the host for your new website. Cheap web hosting companies can be found world wide, but do they offer the right package that suits your needs, both current and future? What is their customer service like? How often do they have black outs? Below are some things to consider when arranging your web host.
Consider the availability of customer service
Many companies provide both web hosting and domain name registration and you could quite literally register your domain name and have your website hosted in any part of the world.
However, bear in mind that if your website is hosted in any other country than Canada or the US, you may have difficulty with customer service issues.*
Preferably choose a web host in the country in which you're doing business. If you run into any technical difficulties or need advice, you are more likely to receive the customer support you need.
You can point your domain name to a different web host
If you choose .ca URL, you will need to register your domain name with a Canadian registrar. This does not mean your website has to be hosted by the same company though. You may find a cheaper option elsewhere.
If you decide to use a different web host provider from the company you registered your domain name with, you will need to arrange for your domain name registrar to point your domain name to your web host provider. Your web host provider will be able to give you the name server information needed if you cannot find the information in your admin panel.
No need to pay for hosting till close to the launch date
Even if you plan to host your website with the same company that you registered your domain name with, you don't have to pay for your hosting package immediately. If you don't plan to launch your site for another six months, why pay for those extra months?
Compare different packages
Most web host providers offer a number of different hosting plans. Before you purchase your hosting, compare the basic plan offered by different hosting companies and their prices.
How much storage space and band width is included? Does it include email and MySQL? Does the basic package include eCommerce, content management or blog software?
If you need any of these options then your plan should include them or be enabled to allow you to upload your own. If you don't need them right now, but may need them later, how much extra will it cost to upgrade?
Does the basic package come with FTP or do you have to pay more?
FTP is useful as it enables you or your website designer to upload multiple files at once. It is particularly time-saving if you plan to install your own CMS, blog or eCommerce software. Reducing the time your website designer spends on uploading your web files should ultimately save you money.
Consider a trial period before locking into long term package
Most web host providers also offer a number of payment terms. Often, the longer the term the cheaper the monthly hosting rate but you will have to pay in advance. If you're on a tight budget, you may prefer to pay for for one year at a time.
Even if you can afford a longer term and the savings seem tempting, consider the additional costs you will incur if the hosting company does not meet your expectations. Use the first year as a trial period, and, if you're happy with their service, opt for a longer term the following year.
*Note: This information is primarily provided with Canadian business owners in mind.