5 Must Ask Questions For Prospective Hosting Providers

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  1. What Technologies Does The Host Offer/Support?
  2. What Types of SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) Are Offered?
  3. Are Web Developers Available To Assist In Case Of Emergency?
  4. Does The Host Offer Dedicated, Shared, or Hybrid Hosting Environments?
  5. Does The Host Offer A Content Management Solution?

1. This is the number 1 question for a good reason.  If the host does not support and/or offer the needed technologies for your website, then they will need to be immediately removed from the list of your potential providers.  Your developer may prefer you host your website on an Apache server (Linux) rather than an IIS (Internet Information Services) server (Windows) to allow for easier management.  It is also important that the site platform be supported.  Whether it be WordPress, PHP, HTML, ASP, or eCommerce platform you want to ensure that your potential host will be able to support and perform updates/upgrades as needed.

2. Service Level Agreements ,aka SLA’s, are guarantees from your host detailing the response and resolution time periods you can expect in the case of an emergency.  Most hosting providers offer multiple levels of SLA’s with those that guarantee a quicker response/resolution costing more than the basic SLA time guarantee provided with a basic hosting contract.  If your website is business critical you will want to ensure that whatever SLA level you select that it meets your businesses needs.  For example, if you are an online retailer (eCommerce) you will most likely want the highest level SLA as every second that your website is down is potential loss of sales and/or customers.

3. If you plan on performing the development of your site either through a 3rd party or yourself you most likely will want a developer available at your hosting provider that can assist if an issue arises that needs immediate assistance.  Many clients use 3rd party developers that setup the site and then are called on an as needed basis to make changes.  Lets say your normal developer goes on vacation and does not have a backup developer in place or your normal developer has an emergency with another client at the same time you need assistance.  At that point you would want to have a backup which is familiar with your site at a basic level to jump in and perform the needed change/fix.

4. Depending on the type of platform you are implementing and the amount of expected traffic will influence your choice of whether your site and database should be on a Dedicated, Shared, or Hybrid hosting environment.  A Dedicated environment is ideal for users that want to ensure that they have full access to all functions of their hosting environment, this is normally needed if direct SQL access is desired or your developer wants to manipulate the box in some way.  Dedicated does normally come at a higher cost, but can provide the most flexibility and access of the three hosting options.  The second option, Shared hosting, is ideal for those users who have basic needs and want to keep cost at a minimum.  This option puts many clients sites/databases on a single box and they share resources.  This is the great option for those users that do not direct access to their web and database boxes.  The last option, Hybrid hosting, can be a good balance between Dedicated and Shared.  Hybrid allows for the either web server or database server to be on a Shared host while the other resides on a Dedicated host.  This is a great option for those that only need direct access to one of the two servers, but also want to save a little money over the Dedicated option.

5. A content management solution (CMS) is an easy way to manage and maintain continuity when developing your website.  CMS will allow those with little to no development background to design and publish web pages with relative ease.  This is a great option if your company wants to have multiple users work on multiple sections of your site without having to employ a group of developers to perform the tasks.

All of these questions will help to ensure that your prospective host is right for you.  To find out if Beacon Technologies is the right host for you please feel free to contact us at the following link: