The hosting industry is constantly evolving and continuing to expand. As a matter of fact, it has grown at exponential rates over the last couple of years, meaning that a lot of new players have entered the game. While some would say that it is not that difficult to enter this business, offering quality services is the key to retaining your existing users and drawing in new customers.
In order to do this, the hosting provider needs to offer their clients a plethora of features that they will find useful not only for their services but also for their privacy, security, and overall ease of use and management.
What exactly do you need to look out for when searching for a hosting provider? The simple answer is many different features. Here is a basic rundown of some of the most important aspects that your hosting provider needs to be able to cover.
Before we begin, however, it is important to mention that these are just our suggestions that will be useful to you and your security and privacy, meaning that if the hosting provider does not support or implement them, you should not be disregarding their services – they can still be offering high-quality servers without having all of the features.
Starting off our list, we have DDoS Protection. DDoS, short for denial-of-service, attacks are quite common in today’s digital society. A DDoS attack is an essentially fake traffic that is purposefully generated in order to overwhelm your website or web application, resulting in it crashing due to being unable to cope with all of the fake requests. These attacks can even bring down the entire server, resulting in a substantially longer downtime for all of the websites or apps hosted on that particular instance.
This is why having a hosting provider that can offer you strong and reliable DDoS protection is quite important. Website downtime can result in unhappy customers, and fewer sales, and can even impact your search engine rankings.
While most providers do offer basic DDoS protection with every server plan, the advanced option is usually included as an additional purchase. However, do not hesitate to add it to your services, as it can save you a lot of problems in the long run.
Server Backups & Snapshots
Next on our list are server backups and snapshots. Due to the major amount of hacker attacks that happen regularly, it is important to be able to restore your website or application should you or your server fall victim to one of them.
A server snapshot is a momentary capture of your server’s state including the website or application, its content, and its database at the moment of capturing. Backups, on the other hand, save all of your website or application’s data, content, additional software, and database, allowing you to completely restore your site or app in the case of a complete server malfunction or hacker attack.
Backups are undoubtedly the much better choice of the two (and they can also be taken automatically), but snapshots are also a tool that should not be undermined. For example, snapshots are excellent for testing changes on your website due to their ability to quickly revert any changes that you make, which can be quite beneficial for small tweaks.
Additionally, snapshots take substantially less time to generate in comparison to full server backups. Because of this, most providers also allow you to store more snapshots than backups due to the difference in their size.
However, what is important to look for here is a hosting provider that can offer you either or both of these options as an included or additional feature for your hosting plan. Remember that having a reliable fallback option is quite essential as it can protect your website from any deliberate attacks as well as mitigate the negative impact of any unwanted changes that you might inadvertently make.
Staying on the topic of downtime, floating IPs are also quite a useful feature when it comes to maintaining your website or web application online. The floating IP allows your provider to quickly switch your IP between multiple similarly-configured servers.
This is important as it can guarantee that even if your server happens to malfunction or be targeted by a given hacker attack, your website’s incoming traffic can be redirected to another server, allowing you to continue to operate everything as it is, ultimately resulting in almost no downtime.
Additional Software Licenses
If you want to utilize some additional software for your website or application, chances are that the original license, which you can purchase from the original vendor, will be much more expensive than any licenses that your hosting provider can offer you.
Moreover, buying a license from your provider can save you considerable time and effort, not to mention the fact that your provider will in most cases automatically configure and install the software for you.
One example of such additional software is related to Windows’ server licenses. Windows hosting has been on the rise recently, with more and more users starting to use it. However, in order to have a Windows server, you need to get a special server license, then present it to your provider and afterward you would need to configure your server.
Some providers offer you the option to buy the license directly from them for much cheaper, in addition to setting up the server for you automatically without you having to spend time dealing with any other hassles.
Hardware – CPUs, Storage & Active Memory
Hardware is one of the most important things that you need to consider when choosing a hosting provider. High-quality hardware is usually the reason why a given hosting plan is more expensive than another one.
Processing power (CPU), active memory (RAM) and storage (HDD or SSD) are usually the three hardware elements that need to be taken into consideration. While hardware might not always resemble the price, you need to keep this in mind in order to evaluate your hosting options correctly so that you can avoid paying more for something that is not as efficient as it is being presented.
Our recommendations would be to look for a hosting provider that definitely utilizes SSDs for storage, as they are substantially faster than hard-disk drives. Additionally, try looking for a provider offering you NVMe SSDs as they have lightning-fast read-write speeds, allowing for swift information exchange rates. This is quite important if you are considering going for a VPS server.
Moreover, in terms of CPUs, we would also recommend providers that have servers with AMD EPYC cores as again, they are quite fast and can keep up with large traffic influxes and user requests.
As for active memory, the more you get, the better, just make sure to check if it is up-to-par with your other server components in order to avoid bottlenecks, if you choose one that cannot keep up with your SSD and CPU’s speed, and to save money if you go for RAM that is way too much for what you actually need.
Ultimately, you should aim to strike a balance between your website or application’s requirements and expected traffic in order to make sure that you can look for a provider that can offer you a server, which will satisfy your requirements.
Alternative Payment Methods
Finally, being able to pay for your service in an alternative way is quite beneficial for multiple reasons. If you want to purchase a server from an international provider, then the transaction fees will be quite high, which is something that you can avoid if you pay alternatively.
On the other hand, you might not have the option to use any traditional payment methods at all, such as bank transfers or PayPal. This is why having a provider that can accept other payment types is quite crucial and is something that you should definitely look out for.
That is it from us for now. There are many other features that you can search for in a provider, but always remember to do your research prior to making your final hosting provider choice and be sure to take our suggestions into consideration as well.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.