If you visit any web hosting provider on line they will tell you how good they really are. Some are correct and some are not. Let’s get down to the basics.
(i) Back End/Network Operations Centers
This is where your accounts are actually housed. Sometimes a hosting provider will lease a part of a larger network and sometimes a hosting provider will develop their own. It is important to find out what kinds and how many fiber optic connections the NOC has. Make sure there is plenty of redundancy built in. Make sure the NOC is managed 24/7, even on holidays. Make sure there are fire suppression systems in place. Last but not least, ask about security. Make sure there are plenty of security measures in place.
(ii) Customer Service
Are they friendly? Do they answer their telephones? Are you put on hold and if so, for how long? If you have to leave a message, do they respond quickly? Does the rep on the other end know what they are talking about? Look at their network page and see if they have reports of down time or issue statements about problems.
(iii) Technical Support
How long does it take to get questions answered and tasks performed. Send a test support message and gauge the response times.
(iv) Ticketing Systems
Do they have a ticketing system that tracks performance times. This is key. If a hosting company has this, they are serious about improving internally.
(v) Domain Names
Do they offer domain name sales? This can help to consolidate your vendor costs. See about getting a discount on domains if you are buying in bulk on a monthly basis.
(vi) Branding You
Does the hosting provider offer branded support? As you grow, you will need to expand and see if the hosting provider will set you up with your own technician in your company name. Do they offer branded control panels and name servers? You need these tools to grow. Find out how easy it is to set these features up for your own account.
(vii) Scalable Discounts
If you are growing at a rapid rate, ask for better pricing and discounts. It is ok to ask. It’s even better when you get it and will reduce your overhead.
(viii) Financial Overview
Is that particular company in the red of black? Do they have a good cash flow? How fast is the host growing and can they handle the growth? What are they doing to grow and maintain the customer service level you expect? Are they near a buy out or planning ?
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