I get asked the same techie questions a lot so I have decided to turn them into a blog series. Question no 1 is:

“What website hosting do you recommend?”

Often when I respond to questions about tech I have a few options available. This question is one of the few where I only have one recommendation and my chosen provider is Siteground. There are lots of reasons, all outlined below, which make me think they are great. Their satisfaction surveys support this too and I hardly ever hear anyone say bad things about them.

Whether you are looking to move to Siteground or not, there are some key features you want to be looking for in a web host. You can print out the checklist at the bottom if you want to compare providers.

Good ‘Up time’ statistics

This is the amount of time your site is available. In an ideal world it should be 100% but even the experts can hit issues. Make sure that your host is happy to share their stats which should be in the high 99.9%! (Siteground has a 99.99% uptime rate)

Support

If something goes wrong on your website it’s good to know that you can access helpful support when you need it. Websites tend to break at the most inconvenient time so 24/7 support is something I really value. You also want to have a live conversation if possible, either by phone or chat and Siteground offer both these, 24 hours a day. They also fix stuff that other people would charge for. I could write a whole blog on how much I love them but I’m going to stop now.

Free security certificate

A security certificate is the thing you need to give the little green padlock at the top of the page, next to the website address and changes your address to https://www.yourwebsite.com. If your site doesn’t have a green padlock you run the risk of seeing the message ‘Not secure’ and on further investigation the site you are told the “Your connection is not secure” You should not enter any sensitive information on this page… it may be used by hackers.

This is not the impression you want to be giving! Google are also using secuirity in their SEO algorithm so your site is less likely to be seen in an organic search if you don’t have a certificate. Siteground offer a free certificate with every site. (Full disclosure, this is a ‘self-signed’ certificate so not suitable for ecommerce sites but fine for most small biz sites)

Hosting in the EU (this makes it easier to comply with GDPR)

With GDPR coming along (and under the current regulations too) you need to know where all your data is. Siteground have servers all over the world but you can choose which one you use and, if necessary, change at the click of a button. (I think there’s more to it than that but from our perspective, click and you’re done). One thing you can tick off your GDPR checklist!

Regular backups

Siteground keep 30 days of backups for all their websites. On the basic service (which is fine for most single site owners) you do need to pay £15.99 to restore a backup. However, this means you don’t pay upfront for the backups being available, only if you need them. With good security and a backup plugin too you probably won’t need this but it’s good to know it’s there.

Website caching

The ability to ‘cache’ your website sounds a bit techie but it is a way of making it load quicker. The key thing here is that Siteground make it easy to do this. Super easy. And their support are happy to talk you through it if necessary.

Free, Unlimited email accounts

This one really bugs me. You pay for web hosting (usually at a bargain price) and then a couple of days later you find you need to pay extra if you want an email address. Seriously? Who has a website that doesn’t have an email address? Be upfront about it and include it in the price.

Free transfer of existing site

This is a bit of an extra but if you are moving from one host to another you want it to be as simple as possible. Siteground include migration of an existing site from your current host to their servers in their fee. You will need to set up your emails again if you are using your web host to manage them (some people use Microsoft exchange or G Suite to manage their email and that wouldn’t need to be altered).

Free domain registration

This is a nice to have but it’s good to have a your domain cost included in your annual fee for your site. Some people prefer to have their domain separately to their web hosting and that’s fine too but get a free domain anyway to get your money’s worth! (Register the one for your next dream project so someone else doesn’t buy it in the meantime.)

So that’s it. My list of things I want from a website host. I’ve made them into a downloadable checklist you can get your hands on by clicking below. No email required!