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The Key To Web Hosting Success

The One Key Characteristic Your Webhost Must Have If You Want A Successful Website

There is one thing that you must have in a web host, no matter what level of hosting you need. This key component is not advertised on their websites and you won’t find it in their FAQs or knowledgebases. Some reviewers may even gloss over this critical element.

What is this cornerstone to a quality web host? Reliability.

Some may call this uptime, others may say it’s website load time and still others may say it’s control panel functionality. The truth is it’s all of these things.

When I say reliability, I mean that a good web host must:

  • Have an uptime guarantee of >99% and stand behind it (it’s one thing to make the claim, but it’s a whole other thing to live up to it!)
  • An average website must load quickly (but don’t blame the host for slow load times if you have a huge page with 50 full size photos, a bunch of video or tons of scripting!)
  • Your hosting control panel should be available >99% of the time and not break or be overly sluggish.
  • You should be able to upload files to your account via FTP quickly and easily. (A 25kb HTML page should upload in a few seconds or less over a broadband connection using an up-to-date computer. If it takes minutes, something is wrong.)

Downtime just plain hurts. Whenever your site is down, that’s time you won’t be making money or getting visitors. Now, we have to be realistic about uptime. A 31 day month has 44,640 minutes. If a host guarantees 99.9% uptime, on average and at worst, your site will be down 44 minutes and 39 seconds per month.

A more typical scenario, however, is that a [good] host will have 100% uptime most months and end up with about 2 hours or less of outages across a given year.

On the other hand, excessive downtime can kill your business. It’s not just that your site is unavailable for potential customers. Your site could start to gain a reputation for being unreliable. This can be especially damaging to an ecommerce site. Who wants to give their credit card number to a site that goes down at random? It would make you look unprofessional and drive away business. The same is true for consistently slow loading pages (always make sure nothing on the page itself is malfunctioning!).

So what can you do to prevent this? It’s all about reputation. Read reviews. Visit sites that are hosted by the host you are looking at and see how fast they load. Look at their terms of service to see if they stand behind their uptime guarantee.

All nine hosts that made the top web hosting quality list have independently measured 99.95% uptime or better – five of the nine have independently measured uptime of 99.99%.

Do you have any uptime horror stories to share? Have you used any webhosts who didn’t live up to their reliability guarantees?

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