Over the past 15 years in business I’ve managed websites both for myself and for clients of KaizenPrint.co.uk. In that time I’ve controlled hundreds of domains and used scores of servers all across the world to provide stable websites that are up as close to 100% of the time as possible.

For the majority of small business owners we work with, web hosting and server experience is limited. Thankfully, if we’re designing your website we take care of all this, but if you’re just browsing the internet for the best web host in Belfast, here’s how we decided on Big Wet Fish Web Hosting as our web host partner.

How to choose the right web hosting service?

  1. Know your hosting requirements
  2. Focus on reliability, not price
  3. Back up
  4. Additional costs
  5. Check support options

Know your hosting requirements

If you’re in the process of creating your first website, space isn’t likely to be a major factor in deciding which web host to choose. The problem would be over specifying your requirements and paying for more than you need to. Thankfully upgrading web services is relatively easy at any time and a good host monitors this to inform you when you reach limits set. Chat with the sales team to get their advice on the best service to suit your requirements.

Focus on reliability, not price

The biggest mistake I have ever made when choosing a web host, is picking the cheapest option I could find. Not always, but almost always this presented problems due to service and reliability. Reliability and “up-time” are the most critical things you can look for when choosing a web host. An unreliable or frequently down website isn’t working to it’s full potential and will cost you business, readers and followers over time. The unreliability will also hurt your google rankings, which will affect your ability to grow your website traffic.

Back up

While not an essential criteria for some, I firmly believe this is a top priority in choosing a web host. Sometimes a site gets hacked, sometimes it just crashes and a remote back up service will save your bacon. I back up everything and have back ups of my back ups. In fact, I’m backing up the back ups now as a precaution. You may think this is overkill, but when something fails and it will indeed fail, the time will be the most awkward or unsuitable and a back up with your web host will be a life saver.

Additional costs

It’s always a good idea to check if the service you are paying for covers all your needs? If you’re operating an online store or indeed as Google now suggests, any site should have an SSL certificate. Is this included and if not, what’s the cost for this in comparison to other hosts?

Check support options

A must for me before deciding on a web host is finding out how easy it is to contact support. Think of an issue – “my website is down” and follow the path to fixing it through your web host. Is their support 24/7, are they friendly and patient? If not, move on.

We’ve worked with hosts right around the world and nothing beats local. For us Big Wet Fish is our chosen web host and all our client sites are managed on their servers. In the rare occasion we have issues, their team are prompt and knowledgeable in reply. For the most part, it’s our increased service requirements causing us to have regular conversation with them and from that we highly recommend their services.