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5 questions to ask before choosing a website hosting company

If you’re on the lookout for a website hosting company, chances are you’ve already asked the obvious questions: What support do they offer? What’s their security policy? How much will it cost?

Beneath the surface of these commonly-asked questions lie a few hidden ones you may not have considered yet. Here we map out the things you should contemplate before embarking for the hosting high seas...

1. Where are the host servers located?

Even the most well-meaning website host in the world might offer a service that breaks UK data laws. These companies are not being unscrupulous with data, it’s just that different countries are governed by different data protection laws (if they have them at all).  At the moment, anywhere in the EU complies with UK data protection laws, but it’s difficult to tell what might change in the coming months and years. If you’re a UK company, you can trust a UK host server to keep your own country’s laws.

2. What security precautions do you need to take?

It doesn’t matter how good the security lock is, if your chosen passcode is ‘qwerty’ then it probably isn’t keeping anything safe. Charities and churches must take security measures seriously when they choose a website host company. A unique, unguessable password is a good place to start.

At Worthers, we make sure everything is in a secure data centre that meets ISO standards and has good certification. We also use advanced firewalls, proactive anti-intrusion software and make sure services are monitored 24-7. To protect websites and data we use security hardened servers, which lock down everything that doesn’t need to be open to a user. It’s like confining a burglar in a bank to the bathroom!

3. How do you ensure high reliability and performance?

If a blackout happens in a city, you want the hospital to have its own electricity. In the same way, you want to make sure your data centre has good fail-over procedures. We check our own data centre has backup generators in case the power disappears and we have multiple connections to the internet in case one fails. On a basic level, data centres need high quality hardware and proactive maintenance. If they lack these safeguards, they won’t advertise the fact but a thorough check of online testimonials and feedback should show if something is amiss. Better to play safe with your data and leave the risk-taking to your efforts to impact the world.

4. Is there flexibility to upgrade?

If you expect a tree to grow, you want to leave enough space in the soil for the roots to grow with it. Even the simplest of server requirements increase over time as the number of visitors and emails begin to stack. Pay for what you need but make sure you can scale up or down as required. Starter accounts begin at a few pounds per month and can become full multi-server cluster setups that cost thousands, so make sure you’re only paying for what you need.

5. What makes them stand out?

Looking out over the sea of hosting companies can seem overwhelming. Many will repeat the same offerings but some will have a unique selling point that makes them the best choice for you. Here are a few things you might be after:

  • If country location of your data is important, you will need to ensure the hosting company can provide this.
  • If you prefer Windows to Linux hosting, you’re going to want a company that specialises in it.
  • If you’re already host-tech savvy, you’ll want to ensure you have the hands on access and control panel that you need.
  • If you value extra support such as setting up emails and answering any questions you’ll want a host that values the personal side of things.

At Worthers, we have always made personal support a priority, so we make sure a real person is at the end of the phone and not just anyone but someone who knows the client so our customers won’t have to speak to a different person each time.

Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions and get in touch if you would like to talk to us about your website hosting.

4 Feb 2019