How to find best web hosting for small business? - Hosting criteria list
If you are not satisfied with the current website hosting of your Small Business it's important to do at least a brief research before you pick another provider. The first question to ask is this: what are the main criteria for finding the best web hosting for your IT needs? Before you finalize your selection it's also important to find an answer for the second question which is: how to transfer website hosting to another host?
Main criteria for finding top website hostingLAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) hosting platform which covers vast majority of web-hosting for Small Business and non-profit organizations:
1. Website hosting securityIt's crucially important to know what types of website protection are provided: passive firewall, active firewall, content-aware filters, protection against DDoS Attack. If your webmaster neglects to apply a security update for your CMS or update a 3rd party script incorporated into the site then your only hope is that the hosting platform itself would block a daily attack by bots seeking all kinds of vulnerabilities. Note that overly aggressive defense might cripple some of the features of the website and there would be a need for setting up exceptions and creating workarounds.
2. CompatibilityAll four pillars - PHP, MySQL, Apache and Linux - are very dynamic entities due to their Open Source nature. If your website was composed six years ago using PHP 4 there might be insurmountable obstacles on the way of switching to PHP5 website simply because most of the code would require to be re-written. (actually we do keep a legacy web-server at Allora specifically to maintain websites designed a while ago). MySQL carries another set of flavors: MySQL 4 vs MySQL 5, MyISAM vs Innodb database structure.
3. PerformancePerformance can leave much to be desired with nation-wide providers. Their most affordable plans offer website hosting delivered by over-loaded virtualized servers sharing a few CPU's over hundreds of websites which have files / database stored by NAS resulting in a rather low Input/Output performance. It's best to analyze a similar site hosted by a candidate and run it against Speed Tests: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights or http://www.webpagetest.org/
4. Website backup and restoreThe questions to ask here are pretty simple:
- how often a backup is done? Webmasters are humans, they can make a mistake and daily backups can serve as the simplest UNDO button.
- How far does it stretch back in time? If security layers fail and several months down the road you discover that there's a back-door injected into your website it's important to have a "healthy" copy of your site even though it's vulnerable. Undoing harm done by an intrusion is often much more difficult then reverting to a healthy version of the website and patching vulnerabilities.
- How easy is it to restore files, database(s)? It's also important to know if there are options for selective restoring jobs (for example - just image directory).