Anybody who has spent any time looking into web hosting will have come across the issue of reliability.  Most expert advice and opinion states that this is the most important issue of all, above and beyond price and ease of use.  But why should this be?  Surely reliability is something that the web hosts themselves should be concerned with, not the consumer?  In this article, we’ll look at why you should be very concerned indeed about the reliability of your web host.

Although we tend to take the web for granted these days, assuming that it will always be there when we want it, the truth is, things can and do go wrong.  Servers fail and websites go down.  This can be so much more than a temporary annoyance.  Your website is like a shop that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Your customers can come from anywhere in the world at any time.  If they can’t get in because your website has gone down, then you lose money.  In fact, you lose money twice, because you’re still paying the host to keep your website running.

What should I look for in a reliable web hosting service?

You therefore need to be very sure that your host is reliable.  Reliability doesn’t just mean being permanently available.  Most hosting companies offer a 99% or even a 99.9% uptime guarantee – a 100% guarantee would be impossible.  What you should really be looking at is how quickly and efficiently the company will respond to fix problems should they occur.
Before signing up to a hosting package, look at the technical and customer support on offer.  What sort of support arrangements are in place, and how quickly will they respond to your requests?  Can issues be resolved in real time?  If you’re losing money, you don’t want to wait whilst your support ticket gets pushed around between departments.

As well as checking out what the company has to say about their customer support services, it pays to find out what other people have to say about it.  There are plenty of review sites and discussion forums where you can get an idea of how the company actually treats its customers.  Keep an open mind, as some of these sites can be very one-sided, but always look for a balance of opinions.  If the majority of current users and even former customers are happy, then you can be reasonably sure that the hosting company is reliable.
Remember, it’s not so much the fact that things go wrong which should concern you, as how quickly those things can be fixed.  Take a little time to investigate the reliability of any web host that you’re considering, and you’ll enjoy greater peace of mind in the long run.

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