If you’ve every struggled with running your church website on a terrible web host, you’re not alone. Frustrations with down time or sites crashing whenever the web host does software updates can be debilitating to say the least. A web host is where your website “lives” online, so it’s critical to rely on a company that delivers good service and great uptime.

Facts:

In 2012:
– 52m websites were created for a total of 634m by the end of the year
– Most expensive domain name sold: Investing.com ($2.45m)
– Largest domain name registrar: GoDaddy.com (32.44% market share)
– The average web page became 4% slower to load

What should you expect in a good, reliable web host?

– Excellent tech/customer support
– A proper web host will have tech and support staff who not only speak English and are willing to help, but actually know how to fix your problems
– Tech support is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
– Stuff goes wrong all the time, so your web host should always be available to help
– A near-perfect uptime (time is money)
– A web host’s uptime is a percentage that shows how reliable the site is in terms of server availability
– when your web host experiences technical errors, such as a server crash, your site, and everyone else’s hosted on that server, goes down
– The lower the uptime, the less people can get to your site in any stretch of time
– Even a 99.5% uptime means that, for 50 minutes every week, your site is inaccessible
– Most web hosts have an uptime guarantee between 99-100%
– These uptime guarantees do not include scheduled maintenance downtime
– All the design features you want for the price you’re paying
– Useful software and configuration options
– A control panel with numerous features
– Room for expansion
– E-mail configuration
– Beware promises of “unlimited” bandwidth, disk storage, etc.
– There’s always a limit, but you might have to read the fine print to find it.
– Know what you’re getting yourself into and read reviews before you decide on a host
– Make sure to shop around and compare prices.
– Be suspicious of prices that seem too good to be true.

A terrible web host has:

– Useless Technical/Customer Support
– They simply don’t answer the phone or respond to messages
– They’d “like to help you but just can’t access that information”, or they “just don’t have the ability to change that at this time”
– They use robotic and automatic responses that make getting anything done a nightmare
– Inexplicable Charges
– They increase your subscription fee with no warning or force you to purchase premium accounts
– They make payment cancellations near-impossible and won’t refund
– They continue to charge you after you cancel
– Overpacked servers
– This can cause your site’s pages to load unbearably slowly
– A study in 2009 reported that 40% of internet users will abandon a web page that takes more than 3 seconds to load

anatomy of a webhost