Many website owners make the mistake of choosing the wrong hosting provider because of its technical nature. If your site is on WordPress, more so, because it’s perfect for non-technical people. As of 2016, 26.4% of websites are run on WordPress.
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How long have you been in the business?
After all your research on hosting providers, sometimes it boils down to their reputation and their experience in the business. Don’t get us wrong, there are new players doing things right, but experience in the business has merit at least.
What is the company’s background?
Has the company always been in the hosting business? Or is the hosting business a bracket of the entire company’s offering? Your hosting provider will be a business partner, someone who will help you achieve your goals when the time comes. Won’t you rather have a partner that you know of than someone you don’t know? The same principle applies in this instance. It won’t hurt to know who you’re dealing business with, and that extends to their leaders as well.
What is the policy on upgrades?
There will be instances when you’re off your forecast, so you end up needing an upgrade in order to scale your online business. These sorts of things happen especially when you’re new to the business. Find out what their policies are for upgrades. Are their policies flexible on upgrades considering you are already a customer? Gathering as much information as you can help buffer whatever costs you might incur.
Are there any setup fees?
Better safe than sorry. Because while we expect setup fees to be included in packages, there are those who use this as an opportunity to be creative in their pricing scheme. Ensure that there are no hidden web hosting package fees. Clear it with the hosting provider so you’ll know how much to set aside in the budget.
What are the SLAs for hosting packages?
Costs, package features are just the beginning of what you need to find out. Think end to end solution, where you plan until after signing up with them. There are different kinds of service level agreements or SLAs. These correspond to the type of hosting package you want to subscribe to. If you want technical support to respond to you anytime, even in the wee hours of the morning, there is a corresponding package for that. If you want dedicated customer service support, there is a solution package for that as well. These are just some of the features of their customer support that you can consider.
How many customers per server?
If you’re eyeing a public hosting package, it’s important to find out how many other customers will you share a server with. Less is better, of course.
What is your edge over other hosting providers?
This is a cliché question, but one that you must always ask. This explains how they can be the best solution to your requirements. Ask this question in the end to wrap up the interview.
There are certainly more questions that are technical in nature that you need to ask, of which you can just tick off from your requirements list. But there are underlying questions that need to be asked in order to decide whether they are a good business fit as opposed to just being your technical partner.
Hosting is more than just the technical aspect of your business. It is technical in nature, but its functions are essential to the growth of your business. If it’s as important as that, you need to be exhaustive in asking the questions. Ask as many as until you are satisfied and comfortable before finally committing to a contract.