Updated: May 14th 2021

Just as a house is only as strong as its foundation, a website is only as strong as its web hosting and internet service provider (ISP). 

Web hosting serves as your “house” where you store the website content, such as web pages, images, and videos. Meanwhile, an internet service provider allows your site to connect to the internet. 

Often companies may bundle web hosting and ISP services together, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice.

While it’s tempting to opt for the least expensive option, you’ll want to research the various web hosting services and ISPs to ensure that you get the best service possible. Even a slight delay can send visitors running for the exits, so you’ll want service that’s quick and dependable.

Before committing to a web hosting or ISP service, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • How reliable are the servers? 
    • Good web hosts typically deliver 99.5% or higher uptime scores, while anything below 99% should be avoided.
  • What is customer service like?
    • Most web hosting and ISP services provide 24/7 support, enabling you to reach them anytime. It’s worth it to insist on this level of access since you never know when something will go wrong.
  • Does the service perform regular backups?
    • With cybercrimes on the rise, there’s  no telling when disaster will strike. Your web hosting service should perform regular backups to insulate you against any unexpected issues, such as hard disk failures.
  • How much does the service really cost?
    • Many businesses offer an attractive introductory rate, only to jack up prices once your business needs grow. Become clear with the costs associated with your hosting and ISP service and be aware of any additional costs included in the fine print.
  • What are the load times?
    • Visitors are liable to leave a site that loads too slow, so you’ll want to ensure that your hosting service can load your site in 3 seconds or less.

Check out CNET’s comparisons of various web hosting companies to find the web host that suits your site’s needs. There’s also this updated guide to the best internet service providers, which breaks them down by region and uses 3 million speed tests to find the best service available.