Selecting a website host, now that you have chosen and registered your domain name is the next step in starting a movie website.
I would suggest keeping your domain name provider and website hosting company separate as this will ameliorate changing hosts in the future (if that occurs and it probably will).
The biggest concern you should have when considering a website hosting company are: Test Run Results, Uptime, Reliability, Scalability, Customer Service, and a Money Back Guarantee.
Since starting my movie website, I have been through four website hosting companies: Bluefur, HostICan, MediaTemple, and Hostgator.
I detailed my deleterious experience with the first host here (oh, the rookie horror). Keep in mind also that if you use out-of-the-country website hosting, you will be charged extra by your bank.
When MediaTemple says they offer 24 customer service, they mean it. I called them at 3 A.M. and spoke to a live person (I could hear a cleaning person in the background). They were wide awake and ready to help. At the time they didn’t support cPanel, something I had gotten used.
HostICan gave me problems from the beginning. I kept receiving “over capacity” screens and “too much CPU being used” messages. Even with the Super Cache WP plugin installed the problem persisted. I switched from them to my current host, HostGator.
Test Run Results
One thing I have learned from my hosting experiences is to be prudent and to “always mind your surroundings” – Batman Begins. Never pay for hosting with a new website hosting company for more than a month in advance. This is your getting to know them period. If I had done that, I would have saved myself a few hundred dollars as I eventually switched from them to my current host, Hostgator. I have had no problems with Hostgator or their hosting of my websites since the switch. They have answered any questions I have, both on the phone and through live chats (more on this in Customer Service). Once I found that they could host my website properly, I signed up for longer website hosting services. Test first then commit. Do not let someone else’s opinion sway you. You should be the judge, a cautious judge.
Your website uptime is of paramount importance. If your website is not online, you do not exist. You have no online identity at all. There are companies that promise 99% to 100% up time and then there are those that deliver.
Is there good word of mouth for the website hosting company you are thinking about using? The first two website hosts I choose I knew nothing about. From the above, you know the result of that foolhardiness. Use CNet, pc magazines, whatever periodical or resource you can think of to gain information on reputable website hosts but make an informed, educated decision. Don’t just choose a host based on a referral as the referrer may be basing that reference on his affiliation with that company. Know your sources and know the website hosting company (especially their terms of service) before you choose them.
Your website host needs to be able to handle sudden influxes of traffic (from social networks like StumbleUpon) and the growth of your audience website i.e. repeat and unique website traffic efficiently and professionally. If it can not, you are considering the wrong host. Look carefully at what they offer for bandwidth and their storage capacity. Is it what you need? Is it what you could need in the future? Choose a host that lets you seamlessly upgrade and switch between their hosting plans as your website grows with no penalties. If you can, find a hosting plan with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage.
If your website hosting company is not there for you when you need them, you well have a problem eventually. I did. Make sure that you can get somebody on the phone to talk. If this is a problem during the day, there is a problem with the website hosting company’s customer service department. It isn’t set up properly or with customer foresight and customer care in mind.Your website hosting company should be there everyday of the week for you, which includes Sundays. Doesn’t your website operate on Sundays? Can’t a problem arise with your website on that day or on a holiday? With MediaTemple, I was ALWAYS able to get someone on the phone. Hostgator is second best in that regard followed by HostICan.
Do They Offer a Money Back Guarantee?
If the website host is good they will be confident in their product, so much so that they will offer to refund your money if you do not like their service.
In the web hosting arena, there are essentially two types of money back guarantees. The first is the “no questions asked” guarantee, which usually means that you can receive a refund for whatever reason without having to explain why to the hosting company. Although you may not be able to receive a full refund, you typically get a percentage that qualifies as minimal risk. The second is the type of guarantee that comes attached with special stipulations. For example, you may only be able to receive a refund if the service provider failed to meet something agreed upon in the contract. This guarantee is often enforced to help the host minimize their risks and losses.
If the host you are thinking of using does not offer money back before 30-60 days have elapsed, this should raise question marks in your mind, serious question marks.
Once you consider these six factors, you will be in a far better position to choose a website hosting company that will work and grow with your movie website and not hinder it.
Next week the fourth part of this series will be published.
In the mean time – a question for discussion
- Do you have any website hosting horror stories? Any tips?
Please feel free to share them below.