The final part of our 10-point guide to choosing a server provider continues with further considerations around the way in which the service is delivered. You can download the full guide here (pdf).
6. A long term partner
- Is your hosting partner in it for the long term? Check that the provider can demonstrate the stability and longevity to support your business as it grows. Find out how long they’ve been in business, and try and find out about their financial track record.
- How will your server be protected from physical damage (fire and theft) and digital threats?
7. A respectable neighbourhood
- Know who your neighbours will be. A responsible business host will prohibit certain content and activities from their hosting environment in order to protect the interests of their legitimate
customers. For example, if provider policy allows gambling websites or the hosting of potentially inflammatory material, their networks will be at greater risk of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that result in potential disruption for customers across their hosting environment. Are customers suitably vetted, or is it a case of “no questions asked”?
8. Reseller and partner friendly?
- Find out if the provider offers reseller and partner discounts. If you plan to establish a long term hosting partnership, the chances are you will be able to benefit from such deals.
9. Add-on services for your customers
- Does the provider offer services that would broaden your portfolio? Services such as Hosted Exchange, professional mail filtering and off-site office data backup are opportunities to improve the experience of your customers and gain additional revenue.
10. Price (and value and cost)
- Price will always be a factor: most of us have to work within a budget and naturally seek a good deal. This guide though, has illustrated that a good deal isn’t necessarily down to the cheapest like-for-like hardware on the market. A hosting provider that scores well in each of the previous nine selection criteria will not be a bargain basement operation.
- Consider the price of the service, but also consider the great value that a quality provider can bring to your business, and weigh up the cost to your success that would come from deficiencies in any of the areas outlined.
- Remember that you’re not simply paying for processors, RAM and bandwidth &mdash you’re investing in years of experience, advice, stability, qualified support staff, and peace of mind.