Location, Location, Location
When it comes to the physical location of the web server, the very computer which is serving your website, its physical location and that of the hosting company itself is something which is given very little thought. This is a mistake. Where the company is based and where your server is based are two extremely important factors to take into account. Firstly, the server. If you’re a UK based operation, you need a UK server and vice versa for those based in the US. Server location (and IP address) plays a huge role in how and where your website appears in the search engines. UK websites fair better on Google.co.uk and likewise in the US. You should also consider transfer speeds and latency. Having your UK audience connect to a UK web server is going to be a lot quicker than routing them half way across the world to a US data center. This is obvious. Finally, we come to the company itself. One word, timezones. If you’ve ever tried getting support from a US hosting company at 9am on a Monday morning (UK time), you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’re going to need support, you really want someone on your timezone.
Smaller is Sometimes Better
When it comes to support, you’re really better off finding a smaller company to deal with. Let’s be honest, you’ll find little difference in terms of service between a large hosting company and a small one. They’re both going to be using similar hardware and will no doubt serve your website in exactly the same way. The difference though is in the support. Large hosting companies farm out their support, often to third world countries and having someone manage your affairs on the other side of the world can often be a challenge. Not only that, they’re paid workers on an hourly rate who lets be honest won’t really care about your business in the slightest. With smaller companies though, you get a much more dedicated service. Small companies cannot afford to lose clients and will bend over backwards to assist you. You also have the advantage of dealing with the owners directly, not a third party support tech!
Reviews Do Not Tell The Full Story
When taking out web hosting, you’ll no doubt search high and low for reviews of the providers you’re considering. This is fine, so long as you’re reading reviews from the right places. The right places are not personal review sites which have a top 10 packed with companies who offer the highest referral commissions for your business. If you want real hosting reviews, be sure to use an independent service like TrustPilot. This is the only way you’ll know for sure how good the hosting company you’re considering using really is.