June 17, 2015

5 Questions to Ask A Managed Hosting Provider

5 Questions To Ask Your Hosting Provider

Do you realize that every 30 seconds, more than $1.2 million changes hands online, thanks to e-commerce sites? Even if you don’t sell tangibles or services online, chances are high that your company has an established web presence for marketing.

As you grow your business, your need for more complex and personalized web features also grows. Perhaps you’ve not given much thought to your managed hosting provider’s capabilities until now, but as the demand for your company’s services increases, you need to pose some critical questions to your existing provider.

If the answers you receive result in the need to switch providers, these questions can help you prequalify a new provider before you sign on that dotted line.

1) Do You Guarantee Uptime?

Even reputable hosting providers occasionally experience network outages or hardware failures that render your hosting service unavailable. What recourse will you have in this scenario? It’s crucial to ensure that your managed host offers built-in, contractual guarantees for how unavailability is handled in the form of a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. This legally binding document defines a failure of service, or unplanned downtime, and clearly outlines the provisions for financial compensation in the event your site does go down for a period of time. Look for a company that is 100 percent upfront and transparent about the details of their SLA policy.

2) What Kind of Backup Will I Have if Something Fails?

Nothing is more important than a reliable hosting provider. Ask questions about the backup resources in place to cover utility malfunctions and infrastructure failures. How does your provider handle the recovery of data lost in a disaster, ensure continued traffic for your business, and seamless transactions for your customers? Do they offer managed cloud hosting that provides redundancy across all areas and scales to meet demand?

3) How Do You Keep My Data Secure?

In a 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, the National Small Business Association reported that 94 percent of small business owners admitted that they were concerned about cyber security. Almost 50 percent of these businesses had been victims of a cyber-attack. How does your hosting provider protect your site’s customers? Is their personal payment information transmitted securely? How will your site and your critical data be protected from hackers and theft? What about viruses and malware?

4) Who Will Help Me When I Need Help?

What if you’re a night owl and you typically need help around 2:11am? Can you find live, advanced tech support that can field your questions regardless of subject area? Can you get help on the phone, via email, and online chat at any hour of the day? You want a provider that promises: “Premium support is standard!” If an experienced engineer answers your call on the first ring, 24/7, 365 days a year – including holidays – your peace of mind is safe.

In addition to availability, look for continuity and personalization of service. Ideally, you should have a designated team of support engineers who know your needs and equipment as if they were their own, acting as an extension of your company.

5) Can I Talk to Some of Your Other Clients to See How They Feel About You?

Sometimes it seems as if managed hosting providers really are a dime a dozen, thanks to the massive increase in businesses and individuals establishing web presences each year. If you do decide to change providers, do some due diligence on the company, its founders, its mission statement, and its track record in the industry and community. How long have they been in business? Do they have a strong reputation online? Find customer and employee reviews to peer behind the curtain and get an authentic feel for whom you are about to align yourself.

Lastly, seek out referrals and testimonials from the hosting provider’s existing client base. Nothing will tell you as much about a company as the satisfaction of the people who have put them to the test and have nothing but glowing praise! Visit Edge Hosting today to see what we can offer you as a managed services provider.

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