Web hosting is something that has gone so mainstream, it's easy to take for granted that there is professional grade technology, service, and support behind. But, unfortunately, that's not always the case. Indeed, oftentimes, big brand name hosting providers deliver less than professional service and support.
So does that mean that professional hosting is dead? Well, not exactly. But in many cases, it is endangered.
Why Bigger Is Not Always Better
It's a bit of a paradox as to why professional web hosting has become endangered. On the one hand, web hosting has become a mainstream industry (one that nearly every business relies on in some way), and some very reputable and trusted brand names have grown out of it.
On the other hand, as hosting companies have become larger, there have been two negative side-effects. First, many big web hosting providers have ceased to give many of their (smaller) clients the service and support they deserve.
Secondly, as these web hosts have grown extremely large, some of them going public, they are now ruled by the logic of a profits and margins. And while this does well for the books, it doesn't always translate into highest standards of support or the latest technology.
So What is Professional Web Hosting?
Of course, when it comes down to choosing a web hosting provider, the big names have their allure. After all, you can be sure that they're not fly-by-night operations that will disappear one day.
But how do you choose one that can offer you professionalism in all aspects of is infrastructure, support, and customer service? Well, there are three things you should look for.
First, you want some guarantee of 99.99% uptime. After all, at this stage in the game, cloud computing is the rule rather than exception, so your hosting providers should give you enough back-up that you site never really goes down.
Second, you want 24 hour support -- and that's for both tech support and customer service. A hosting provider that can give you 24 hour tech support that can actually help you trouble shoot a problem is one that is likely to support its clients business needs.
Finally, you want dynamic scalability. This is where a hosting provider can really support your business needs by allowing you to scale your services up or down on an as needed basis. In other words, they're not there to gouge you by making you commit to something that doesn't make sense in the long-term. Rather, they are there to give your business the resourced it actually needs, and built a long-term relationship with you.
Choosing a Professional Web Host
Once you know what to look for, you have to actually make a choice. And how do you go about that?
Well, first, identify your needs. Figure out what caliber of infrastructure and support you actually need. If you have an IT department or web design agency, you might want to consult with them.
Second, short list a number of potential web hosts based on your needs. You know what you need, not find about 5 web hosts that can offer you that at a competitive rate.
Third, check web hosting forums and blogs for reviews. You might find that some of your potential web hosts have a bad reputation in some regard.
Finally, call them. Put their customer service and tech support to the test. Ask them questions about their services, and what they think is right for you. And if they can't answer your questions, move on.
After all, you take you busines very serious. So so should your web hosting provider. And in the process, they should provide nothing by professionalism in both their technology and support.