The keystone of any digital marketing campaign is a healthy website and choosing the proper hosting service is vital to maintaining a usable and engaging online presence that will convert visitors into patients. When preparing to select a hosting service, it is a good idea to take a step back and consider all the features you may need to achieve your end goal. The following are six key features that we consider vital to an excellent hosting service.

1. Customization

Hosting solutions can differ depending upon the specific requirements of the website. Keep in mind the following points when considering the available features of a hosting service.

Quality: Your hosting service will hold all of the data and files for your website, and a proper hosting service is invaluable for its stability, security, and effectiveness. Opting for a hosting service that is high-quality and robust will put you in a position to avoid unexpected costs caused by hosting limitations or security breaches.

Capacity: Websites with many files may require more storage space, and content that changes regularly will need a database that has the space and proper optimization to handle such growth. Large or high-traffic sites will perform better with hard drives optimized for this type of traffic and with applications and servers with more RAM and CPUs.

Optimization: Some website building tools, such as WordPress, require servers that are specifically optimized for that type of tool. Changing settings for web caching, DNS, database caching, CDNs, etc., can dramatically affect your overall website performance. A good hosting service will work to meet best practices and keep your website running smoothly.

Hosting through Firm Media is tailored to each environment, optimized to your site, and set to handle content requirements as necessary.

2. Scalability

A growing medical or dental practice will receive more traffic to their website as time goes on. An strong hosting environment should handle increasing traffic and content without errors or slowdowns, ensuring maximum possible customer conversion. Ask the following questions of any hosting service to determine their scalability:

Can I Add Resources?: Good scaling requires the ability to add hard drive space and higher processing power to a server whenever necessary to meet the demands of growing content and website traffic.

Are There Limitations?: The hosting service may place limitations on many things (domain names, available hardware resources, traffic limits, etc.), and these limits should not conflict with your ultimate goals.

Can it Dynamically Scale?: A website server needs to handle surges in traffic just as well as it handles regular traffic volumes, and it should be able to do this without delays or problems. In addition, the website should be able to scale down resources when traffic slows.

Firm Media maintains a hosting service that is dynamically scalable in both resources and storage with limits for a truly scalable environment.

3. Security

Website security is critical to not only protect your business, but also to protect your customers. A secure hosting service will have most or all the following features:

SSL Certificates: Any secure service will provide SSL certification capability, and not having SSL certificates will impact SEO significantly. SSL certificates are preferred by Google and have been considered best practice for several years. All good hosting options will provide a means of utilizing both free SSL and premium SSL certificates.

Automated Monitoring: A hosting service should have some capability to monitor traffic to and from a website automatically. A webmaster alone cannot track all traffic on a web server (especially as they scale). More importantly, this feature can alert your webmaster if there are any issues with your site.

Web Application Firewall: Firewalls serve as a hard line of defense against unauthorized access and malicious actions such as DDOS attacks. A good hosting service will provide firewalls to protect your site against traffic surges from bots and scripts that can slow your service, take down your server, or lead to unexpected hosting expenses.

Firm Media uses these tools and many more to maintain security for all our websites. Our goal is to offer a safe space for your digital assets and campaign.

4. Automated and Manual Backups

A decent hosting service will provide automatic backups as well as the capability for manual backups. Backups of servers are necessary for both the long-term health of the website and security. In addition, a good hosting service will maintain backups of a server in multiple locations to ensure that, no matter the circumstances, data is never permanently lost. The more distributed your backups are, the lower your chances are of losing data.

Firm Media offers manual and automatic backups in multiple secure environments to ensure a copy of the site is available if needed.

5. Resiliency and Stability

Resiliency is the key to having a stable hosting setup that can remain operational despite hardware failures, malicious attacks, and surges in traffic. The following are some simple requirements of an ideal hosting setup:

Multiple Points of Failure: A well-designed hosting environment should not have any single point of failure. If a service goes down, you want to ensure it can be restored. Your hosting environment should allow for some amount of hardware failure, credential losses, and even attacks without completely losing all capabilities.

Good Security: The internet is full of bots and bad actors looking for insecure websites to exploit. Your hosting should be able to take these attacks on and bounce back without affecting your customers or reputation.

Automatic Recovery: Should a website lose some functionality or go down completely, it should automatically recover without the need for human interaction. An ideal hosting setup will have tools to recover automatically and minimize downtime.

Firm Media hosted servers are exceptionally resilient with multiple points of failure. We offer a tailored and monitored security environment and automatic recovery to minimize downtime should problems occur.

6. Expert Support

No hosting solution is completely automatic and will eventually require the attention of support personnel to solve issues as they arise. Hosting services should provide some or all the following options:

Managed Hosting: Managed hosting service providers will monitor and maintain your website server as an ongoing service.

Personalized Support: When changing settings for your server and diagnosing problems, a hosting service should be able to provide you with real-time tech support from experts who understand their server environments and your hosted application/website.

Guidance: Firm Media provides excellent support from knowledgeable professionals that understand both the hosting environment and your specific website and is willing to offer this personalized support in real-time.

Choose a Secure and Robust Hosting Service

Firm Media offers managed hosting in a highly scalable environment utilizing a combination of automation and expert moderation. Our servers are monitored 24/7, secure from end to end, and tailored to the industries we serve. Contact us to learn more about our hosting services.

By Joshua James Wayne
Joshua James has been designing and fine-tuning technical solutions for digital marketing agencies for over a decade. He has a passion for technology and is on the endless pursuit to ensure that Firm Media's clients are secure and ahead of their competition in the digital marketing ecosphere.

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