Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Web Host From the Beginning


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You’re about to launch your first website or blog. You need Web hosting. You compare several Web hosting packages from different companies. Which should you choose? And really, does it even matter? After all, they’ll all put your website up on the Internet for everyone to see. In a worst case scenario, you can just switch to another hosting company later anyway, right?

Well, technically yes. You can switch Web hosting companies. But are you prepared for the royal pain in the neck it might be? Are you tech-savvy enough to do a site transfer yourself? Do you have the extra money to have a new hosting company do the transfer for you (some charge and some don’t)? Do you really want to trust them to get your site moved for you without any quirks along the way?

Trust me on this. You can avoid a lot of headaches later by choosing the right Web hosting company from day one. Here are some of the problems you might soon face if you choose the wrong Web host when you launch your first site:

  1. No add-on domain support — If you’re only launching one site at first, you might not think about the need for expansion later. What if your site goes well, and you decide to launch another one? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to host them under the same account? If your Web hosting package doesn’t offer add-on domain support, you might have to switch packages completely or pay for a second package for the new site, even if you have plenty of resources available to host it on the original account.
  2. no email support

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    No email support — Many Web hosting packages allow you to setup, manage, and maintain your own email accounts on your domain names through their control panels. Some, however, treat email as a separate feature and you’ll have to pay more to host your own email accounts. Bummer, right? It’s just another reason you might opt to move your sites if you don’t pay attention to the terms of a package up front.

  3. Limited database support — This is a similar problem to the last one. It has to do with expansion. If your hosting account only gives you one or a couple of databases, it might make database management more difficult if you want to add database-driven features (like blogs or directories) to subdomains or folders within your main site (or if you want to launch multiple database-driven sites on unique domains).
  4. Lack of necessary features — There are any number of other features that a hosting company might not offer with your current package. For example, maybe you need dedicated IPs for some reason or you run an e-commerce site and need the option of private SSL to run a secured site. Not all packages with all hosting companies will offer all of the features you need.
  5. bad customer service

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    Poor customer service / too much down time — You want your site to be live on the Web for your visitors, and you have a right to expect the hosting company to fix problems (on their end) as they come up. Sure, a cheap host might seem great at first, but if you’re losing traffic or income because of their downtime and they’re never available to offer customer support and get issues fixed quickly, you’ll soon want to move to a more reliable host.

In the end, it isn’t difficult to choose the right Web host. You just have to outline your needs and budget and then compare the packages side by side. It might not be a quick process if you’re comparing a lot of hosts, but it’s worth doing right. While in some cases you might just be able to upgrade an existing account to get features you want, in other cases you can’t (such as being unhappy with a specific company’s support).

Moving your sites later can be a real time-waster, and might involve downtime for visitors. You have to backup your files and databases. Make sure your old statistics are backed up too so you have a record of them. Then you need to setup the new account, re-install any scripts you were using, upload the files you backed up, import the databases, and possibly redirect your domain names to a new server. The more sites you have, or the larger your single site is, the more difficult this process might be (especially if you’re still new to hosting your own sites).

Be smart about Web hosting. Spend the extra time up front to find the right host for your website’s needs — even if it costs a little bit more than cheaper options. Even more importantly, make sure your hosting account leaves you room to grow.

Do you have any horror stories to share about starting with the wrong hosting package? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments.

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