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3 critical criteria for picking a web host

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choosing a webhost
I'll be the first to admit that picking a web host is one of the less glamorous aspects of blogging. But at the same time it is of critical importance for your blog's future. With poor web hosting your blog will suffer from downtime and poor support. With good hosting you won't have to worry about the technical end and can focus on what matters to you.

If you're a new blogger, picking a web host is the most important pre-launch task you'll undertake. If you're an established blogger, finding a good web host should still be a priority. After all, if you're on a shoddy host it's only a matter of time before you run into complications.

Thankfully, we can break down the choices pretty easily. There are three critical criteria when choosing a new web host.

1. Customer service

Customer service agents are the gatekeepers at any web host. They're the ones who connect you to the people who can help. So while the technicians themselves are quite important, there is someone standing between you and them. That makes customer service agents the most important people you'll deal with at a web host.

If you find good customer service agents, they'll take a quick description of your issue and connect you directly with the appropriate party. If you get a lazy customer service agent, you'll be talked down to and oftentimes will get the runaround. It's easy to see how greatly customer service agents can affect a blog.

How do you know if a host provides good customer service? Online reviews are one way. But, since people are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, they can be misleading. The best test is to simply call the host and ask questions. If you get an automated system when calling, chances are you won't get great customer service. If it's a human that's a good sign. A human who gets to the heart of the matter and connects you to the right party? That's a keeper.

2. Upgrade costs

Your blog will not blow up overnight. Perhaps that was possible in the past, when blogs were still a new phenomenon. But in today's saturated market it takes time and hard work to build an audience. The good news is that means you can afford cheap hosting at first. Most starter packages cost less than $100 per year. But beware the future.

If you plan for your blog to grow, you'll have to be prepared to upgrade hosting packages. That means going from shared hosting to a VPN, and eventually to dedicated hosting. You do plan for your blog to grow, right? Then you'd better be prepared to pay the price. And trust me, higher levels of hosting can get quite expensive. We went from paying $250 per month to paying $800 per month without much warning.

When you're seeking out a hosting package, then, look at their prices for VPN and dedicated hosting. If they don't have prices on the site, call and ask a customer service rep (and that will give you an idea of the quality of their customer service). Again, introductory packages are basically the same industry wide. It's the higher tier plans that will make the difference. Find the best deal there, and plan to grow with the host.

3. Data center operations

This is one aspect of hosting that few people ever explore. My company neglected to do this for years, and it led us to use many unreliable hosts. That's because their data center operations were not as high quality as their competitors. Of course, without intensive research we couldn't know that, and as far as we knew that type of thing didn't matter. I'm here to tell you that it does.

Swiss power company ABB has been in the news a lot lately due to their data center initiatives. Specifically, they're setting up DC-powered data centers that are more efficient than their AC counterparts. My company is now on the look for hosts that use ABB data centers, because we know that they'll be more efficient and reliable. They aren't the only company doing this, of course, nor is DC power the only factor to examine.

The point is to do your research into the data center operations of a company. If they're using innovative tactics to reduce power usage, then they're probably on the right track. Data centers that aren't focused on efficiency are more prone to crashing when traffic spikes occur. That's not just for your site, but any site hosted in the data center. It's best, then, to find a company with advanced data center solutions. They might cost a few dollars more, but the payoff is immeasurable.

Yes, it will take a little work to identify the optimal web host for your business. It will mean conducting some research and picking up the phone. But those efforts will pay off in the end. They'll result in smooth back-end operations, allowing you to focus on your blog and business. And that's why you're doing this in the first place, right?

About The Author
Joe Pawlikowski has written and edited blogs for seven years, including sports and technology blogs. He writes about his experiences with small business at A New Level.


  1. hello!
    in present time everyone wants to have a site to promote their business and for that purpose they search for a best web host and your presented blog is very nice, seems very helpful in choosing a best web host.thanks for sharing
    web hosting company in india

  2. thanks for this useful article, but I'd say we should also look out for reviews and reputation of web host. I am sure you must have heard about hostgator and dreamhost and that is probably because of their reputation they have built over years.

  3. of course before choosing some provired we should know aboit it as much as we can if don't want to make a mistake. Anyway, thanks for your information, it's very helpful.

  4. Thanks for this great article....!!

  5. Really, a great blog.....your information is so informative.


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