plan-for-disaster

10 Hosting Questions You Must Ask – To Sleep Well At Night

It’s Too Late To Ask Hosting Questions – If Disaster Hits Your Website


One reason you become an online marketer is to control your own future. You are responsible for every element of your business and your life. And an important element of your business is making sure you have the best hosting plan you can get.

know how your hosting plan prepares for problems

It can be a rewarding experience. But what if you don’t have control over the most important aspect of your business – your website?

Your website is your lifeline. It is the way you earn money. You may be using an all-inclusive website builder software program that includes hosting or an application like WordPress.org where you have to provide your own hosting. Most likely your website is hosted by company in the cloud (called Software as a Service and known as SaaS).

Beware not all hosting companies are created equally. There is nothing wrong with using a cloud-based software service, if you understand what the company is responsible for and what is your responsibility.

 

This post identifies questions you should ask your hosting company so that you can provide visitors to your website with services that are better than they expect.

  • bandwidth
  • storage capacity
  • data backup
  • disaster recovery
  • portability
  • price

 

 

 

10 Questions You Must Ask – To Sleep Well At Nightsleep-well

1. Will My Website Be Available 24/7/365?


You should expect that your website will always be online. Things do happen but the web host uptime you should expect is 99.5%.

You can use server monitor tools to help you track your web hosting provider’s uptime if you’re not sure what level of service you are getting.

The questions you should ask are:

  1. What uptime can I expect for my website?
  2. How is uptime calculated?
  3. How am I notified if my website goes offline and when it goes back online?
  4. What is the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for restoring my website?

 

2. What Is My Website Bandwidth?


Bandwidth capacity affects how visitors access website. As your online store grows and you get more visitors to your website you need more bandwidth so people accessing your website get a quick response – under 6 seconds on a mobile device – or you could be losing potential sales.

Some all-inclusive website builder software providers provide bandwidth based on the program you select. In these cases the higher the price you pay the more bandwidth you get.

bandwidth-needs

The questions you should ask are:

 

  1. How much bandwidth do I get?
  2. Can I increase my bandwidth?
  3. What do I do if I need more bandwidth?

 

3. Can I Customize and Change My Website Theme?


The number of themes available from blog, all-inclusive website builder software programs, and content management systems varies greatly. Your ability to customize themes also varies from theme to theme and company to company.

One important consideration is, can I change my theme? With some providers this is not possible and should be one of your purchase considerations.

The questions you should ask are:

  1. How many themes can I choose from for my website?
  2. Can I customize themes?
  3. If I have a problem with a theme, who responds to my support request?
  4. Can I change my theme?

 

4. Are You Backing Up My Data?


Are you aware of how your website and data backup are being backup? You need to know the following information.

  1. How often is data backed up?
  2. How many copies of the backup are stored?
  3. Is there an offsite backup strategy in place?
  4. Will I be notified if the backup strategy changes?
  5. How long will it take to complete a restore from backup?
  6. Will I be able to back up my website and data on one of my devices?

 

backup-recovery5. What Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan?


Question: What if the worst happens?

Answer: You put your disaster recovery plan into action.

Every provider should have a disaster recovery plan and you should have your own disaster recovery plan as well. It’s just best practice to do so.

A disaster recovery plan is a series of control measures classified into the following three types:

  1. Preventive measures – stopping an event from occurring using hardware (firewalls) and software (virus protection).
  2. Detective measures – discovering unwanted events using intrusion detection systems.
  3. Corrective measures – restoring the system after a disaster or an event takes place.

The hosting company should give you detailed information about their disaster recovery plan. Maybe they have redundant systems so that if something happens to the online system they can switch to a backup system in a matter of minutes.

The questions you should ask are:

  1. Are your facilities, hardware and applications protected?
  2. Against which types of disasters do you protect your (and my) business?
  3. What happens to my website and data in the event of a disaster?
  4. When was the last time you completed a full system and data recovery test?
  5. What was the scope of your last recovery test process?

 

6. What Is My Data Security Risk?


You should ask your provider to describe the layers of defense in-depth they use to protect the data center, the applications, and your data. Think of this like a castle in Renaissance times with rings of protection where attackers first encountered the moat, then the drawbridge, next ramparts on the walls with archers, and so on.

The questions you should ask are:

  1. What security risks does my website face?
  2. What is my level of risk?
  3. How can I reduce my risk?
  4. Have you ever had a security breach? (If yes, please describe the breach and your response.)
  5. What is the notification protocol in the event of a breach?
  6. What is the restore and recovery plan if there is a breach?

 

7. Do I Have Access To Search Tools?


The ability for you to search and recover information from your website can be essential especially when your provider is also hosting your email.

The questions you should ask are:data-search

  1. What website search tools are available?
  2. What email archiving and search tools are provided?
  3. Who has the authority to search my email?
  4. Are brick-level and key word email searches available?
  5. Do I have access to any enhanced search tools?

 

8. Are There Any Additional Costs?


It will be important to understand what tools and capabilities are part of the agreement and which are provided at an additional cost.

The questions you should ask are:

  1. Are their tools and capabilities that are not available from this level of service?
  2. Is there a tiered Service Level Agreement (SLA) program for disaster recovery and security breaches?
  3. If enhanced email archive search tools are required, will there be an additional charge for these capabilities?
  4. Are there other additional cost options?

 

9. Does My Contract Have Renewal and Exit Clause?


Hopefully you will want to renew your contract.

But what if you’re not happy?

What if you outgrow the products and services your hosting company provides?

Maybe you’ve found a service that provides more for less. Then, you need to exercise your exit clause.

The questions you should ask:

  1. Are there any early termination costs?
  2. Do you have to give 30 or 60 days notice of cancellation?
  3. Does the contract have an “evergreen” renewal clause? An evergreen automatically renews your term, usually 30 days prior to expiration. If your contract has one, ask to have it removed.
  4. What are their reasons by which the provider can cancel services?
  5. Is there a no-harm-no-foul exit strategy?

 

10. If I Leave, Can I Take My Content With Me?


Seems like a silly question. After all it is your content.

However, websites and associated data are often stored in proprietary formats. If you decide to move to another provider, a transportable data file or website export file will be needed. The time and effort required to convert data from one format to another can be considerable. The process and timeline for receiving a complete and transferable data file as well as the data format expectations need to be defined in the contract.leaving-with-comtent

The questions you should ask:

  1. Is there a wind-down period or transition services in the contract including a potential obligation of the provider to port the data for you?
  2. Will you be provided with a website export file?
  3. What is the format of the website and associated data?
  4. Do I own the content on my website?
  5. In what formats can I get a copy of my content?

 

Conclusion


Because not all hosting agreements are created equally you should consider the flexibility, scale-ability, and risk management implications of any agreement you are considering. Make sure to read all the fine print because your business might depend on it.

Contract law rights and remedies vary by state, it is important to understand the limitations in any of the states in which you operate your business. There are 47 different state data breach notification laws and, in some cases, federal requirements.

With thorough consideration of all the factors, a strong hosting provider and client relationship can be established. This will make sure that and your online website deployment can be successful and you are prepared to deal with any problems that might arise. Remember, the more downtime your online presence experiences the more money your business loses.

 

 

What Do I Recommend?


I recommended an all-inclusive website builder software and hosting solution. For me the right answer was Wealthy What Do I RecommendAffiliate. They simply provide more than any other product.

The Wealthy Affiliate service provides a redundant backup system as well as best practice anti-virus and hacking protection.

How to create an export backup of your website that you can maintain on our computer or server is included in the training.

 

 

 

Do you think understanding the hosting company’s agreement and how you and your website are protected is important?

Leave any comments, questions, or concerns in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you soon!

 

 

The opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and are based on a combination of personal experience, published product reviews and users’ ratings.

2 thoughts on “10 Hosting Questions You Must Ask – To Sleep Well At Night

  1. Thank you for writing a blog post on the top 10 hosting questions you must ask to sleep well at night. The #1 question for me is will my website be available 24 /7? And my number 2 question is “are you backing up my website”? I ask this because I have been a little bit lazy and I must admit that I don’t always back up my website as often as I should. I have recently installed a child theme on my site, but I could be more proactive in the backing up space. I was just wondering where you saw website loading times in your list of priorities? thanks

    1. Good question, GBIG. You are correct, I did not mention website loading times. I will add it to the discussion on bandwidth as additional bandwidth can improve loading times. I am writing a separate blog on backup and disaster recovery plans that will go more in depth on those topics. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

      Steve

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