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Five Questions To Ask Your Web Host

There are tens of thousands of web hosts out there. Choosing between them can be daunting, to say the least. Even if you’re not looking for a new host right now, it pays — literally — to make sure you’re getting the best deal from the best web host. After all, your website says everything about you, so why not make a good first impression? So to help make things easier, we’ve put together five simple questions you can ask any web host. No host should balk at answering any of these:

Will you help me migrate?

Why it matters: Switching web hosts can feel overwhelming. It’s not just a matter of copying files over; if you run a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, you’ve also got to move your databases over. And depending on the hosts you’re moving to and from, you might have to make some configuration changes as well.

Our answer: We’ll always help migrate you from any other cPanel-equipped host, including cPanel-powered VPSes. If you’re coming from a host that uses an alternate control panel (or no control panel at all), let us know your specifics and we’ll do our best to help!

Is your support available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year?

Why it matters: Things will only go wrong at the worst possible time. So whether your site is down or you need a hand with something less severe, it’s important to know that your host will be there to support you. Also, some hosts advertise “24 hour support”, only to mean “you can email us 24 hours a day and we’ll get back to you tomorrow”. That’s a major downer when your site stops working.

Our answer:  Yes. Whether you need us at 3am or 3pm, our professional technicians are always here — even on holidays.

What type of servers do you use?

Why it matters: Many “discount” web hosts use old, outdated servers. Some don’t even use servers at all, opting instead for cheaper consumer-grade hardware. And some use reseller accounts, meaning that they’re really just reselling another host’s service. A five-year-old server can feel severely underpowered compared to a modern server. Consumer-grade equipment isn’t built to stand up to the rigorous abuse that web hosting dishes out. And while reseller accounts are fine (we offer them ourselves), it means the host doesn’t have total control over their server.

Our answer:  All of our servers use server-grade hardware like Intel Xeon processors, ECC memory, and enterprise-class hard drives. Our oldest server is from 2012, and it’s due for recycling in 2015. And we own or lease all of our own servers.

 What happens if I get a sudden surge of traffic?

Why it matters: In the bad old days, if you found yourself on the front page of Facebook or Slashdot, your site went down. Sometimes it seemed to happen for no reason at all (remember those “your website has been temporarily suspended for too much CPU usage” errors?). Not all web hosts are equipped to handle a big change in traffic. That’s important as your site grows.

Our answer: Not much. Our servers are fast and powerful to begin with, so it takes a LOT to bring them down. But just in case a site hits the big leagues, we use CloudLinux to protect the rest of the server from having problems.

Can I grow or shrink my service?

Why it matters: As your needs change, it’s important for your web host to grow with you. Some hosts will try to sell you an overpriced “cloud hosting” solution, while others will tell you you’re out of luck. Finding a host that’s willing to listen to your needs and offer custom packages means you’ll never need to search for another web host again.

Our answer: Yes! You can always upgrade or downgrade your hosting package. That’s true whether you’re on our shared hosting, VPS, or dedicated servers. And if you don’t see a plan that exactly fits your needs, all you have to do is ask. We love creating custom packages!

 The conclusion:

If your host can’t or won’t answer all of those questions thoroughly (that means something other than “no” or “refer to our knowledgebase”), then maybe you should find a host who will. We pride ourselves in taking care of our customers. We don’t have a multi-million-dollar ad budget and we don’t have a flashy spokesperson. What we do have is hundreds of happy customers who trust us with their online presence.

Take a look or drop us a line and let us know what we can do to get you to a better host!

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