Just recently, our team entered into a vehement discussion of the pros and cons of various hosting providers. I had no idea our tech experts felt so passionate about such a seemingly simple decision. The discussion was spurred by a recent ZDNet posting spied by Harry, our content strategist and web production expert.
So once again, we discussed—at fascinating length—whom should we use as our partner to host our clients’ sites?
Turns out there are many factors to consider when choosing a provider and so far, there is no single provider that offers all these in one package. To summarize the thought process of Harry, Lisa, our tech diva and Dave, our social media and internet marketing guru, I offer them up here for you to guide you in your own decision-making process:
- Great performance—This is a given but there are some providers that simply perform terribly with specific applications, including php/mySQL, form-processing and WordPress. In addition, some providers over-subscribe their shared servers, impacting overall server performance.
- Competitive pricing—Let’s face it, domain registration and hosting is pretty much a commodity. We need good prices for the basics so we can recommend strongly to our clients.
- A comprehensive and feature-rich Control Panel—Providing easy access to functionality most often needed. Our favorite bonus: the one-click installation for frequently used add-on applications such as WordPress.
- Exceptional customer service—We are really picky about this one. We require 24/7 access and it has to be to a live person. And one who doesn’t provide first-level support off a script. When we call in, the problem is usually pretty hairy.
- Great email options —That work well via browser, dedicated applications, phones and other mobile devices—our clients need an email system that can robustly support their whole team in the office and on the road.
- Marketing practices—Unfortunately, one of our preferred providers, for the reasons above, engages in marketing practices that we don’t agree with. But in this case, considerations of performance for our clients and service when we need it outweigh our personal preferences.
- Politics—Unfortunately this is also an issue in terms of the personal choices of the owner of our preferred company. But again, for the sake of clients, we choose providers based on #1-5 first.
As Lisa so aptly said, “The person/company who someday has all of this in one place will be very popular.”
So, did we miss anything? What criteria do YOU use?