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What to Look for In a Website Host

There are a lot of decisions to make when launching a new website. You have to choose a domain name, brand colors, a logo, a web developer, and more. One of the most important things on that list is choosing who will host your website.

When searching for a website hosting provider choose someone who is not only a “web host,” but a “hosting partner.” There are three primary things a good hosting partner provides: a secure platform, good uptime, and fast load times.

A Secure Platform:

Website security is a primary concern for both you and your hosting company. While you are responsible for the security of the website itself, your hosting partner is responsible for the security of your infrastructure. Securing your infrastructure means preventing hackers from using your website to either attack other websites, or attack your website’s users.

Security Measures for Your Hosting Company:

To ensure the security of your website infrastructure your hosting partner must:

  • Be equipped with powerful firewalls. A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic to block potentially malicious traffic from the network. A reliable hosting partner will monitor their firewalls and actively create new security rules to guard against network vulnerabilities.
  • Provide and SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. This is a small data file on the server that enables an encrypted connection between the server and the user’s browser. An SSL certificate is required for websites with an epayment or ecommerce functionality.

Security Measures for Your Website:

  • Limit the number of people with login access to the backend of the website.
  • Maintain regular software updates.
  • Enable two-factor authentication.

Good Uptime:

The amount of time that your website is online is known as uptime. The primary purpose of a website host is to make sure that your website is accessible online. However, with any hosting provider there will be times when they need to perform maintenance on their servers. Meaning that there is always a possibility of some downtime. So, when searching for a hosting partner, you want someone who promises an uptime of at least 99%.

Fast Load Times:

According to Google’s Core Web Vitals, the average load time of the main content on a web page should be 2.5 seconds or less. Slow load times can both hurt your search engine ranking, and drive users away. From a hosting perspective, there are three parts to load speed:

  • Resource Utilization: This involves balancing memory on the web server.
  • Caching: This involves storing information locally so that it can be accessed faster.
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network): This is a group of strategically located data centers that can more quickly provide content to users based on geographical location.

Another important part of load speed is website optimization. This is your responsibility and involves making sure that graphics and files on the website are appropriately sized.

Let’s Talk Cost:

The cost of website hosting varies from company to company. It can cost as little as a few dollars a month, to thousands of dollars a month. What you need to consider is the value of what you are getting. Cheaper options often have limited plan options, no resources, and performance issues. While more expensive options may be way more than what you need. Know what you need from your hosting partner, so you can get great service, at a great price!

GovUnity Hosting:

GovUnity provides fast and reliable website hosting through a trusted third-party partner. Notable hosting features include:

  • Uptime & Speed: Our hosting solution offers a secure data center with a historical uptime of 99.9%. Use of a Solid-State Drive and NGINX web server technology increase speed and input/output operations.
  • Disaster Recovery: Daily website backups are provided and up to 30 copies are kept on your account. In an emergency clients who have the Backup Service enabled can restore all files/folders, MySQL databases, and emails.
  • Security: Potential vulnerabilities related to the CMS are monitored. Constant updates are made to prevent security-breaches. Daily Malware scans are performed and alerts are sent if malicious files are discovered. An Artificial Intelligence solution stops between 500,000 and 2,000,000,000 brute-force attempts per hour before they have reach customers’ sites. And, automatic software, application, and plugin updates are performed along with patches against exploits using web application firewall rules. An SSL certificate is also provided.

GovUnity is an experienced website design and development firm. We work with public sector organizations to create affordable, custom website solutions that enable you to better serve your residents. Get started with a free website assessment or request a quote today.