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Drupal Web Hosting Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Host for Your Drupal Site

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In order to get the most out of your Drupal site, you’ll need to make sure you have the right web hosting in place. Choosing the wrong host can mean your site takes too long to load, or it won’t be secure enough for visitors, or any number of other issues. This buying guide will walk you through how to choose the right Drupal hosting provider and keep your site up and running smoothly.

What Is Drupal?

The easiest way to explain what Drupal is, is to say that it’s a type of website. Like anything, though, there’s more than meets the eye and there are many ways you can use it. At its core, Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS). This means that if you’re a skilled developer, you can build your own unique website using one of its many themes and free modules and you won’t have to worry about pesky charges for software maintenance or web hosting as your site will run on a server developed by your host.

What Else Do I Need For My Website?

Choosing a web host is only one part of your plan. You also need a domain name, website design and ecommerce services, to name just a few of your web-related needs. To save time, you can buy all of these as part of an ecommerce package from some hosting providers. Or you can purchase them individually from several different places.

Does The Company Know Drupal?

Many companies advertise that they offer Drupal web hosting, when they actually don’t. Without knowing a thing about Drupal, you should be careful. Ask your potential host detailed questions about how it handles Drupal and what level of support it offers. Look for a company that offers 24/7 phone or live chat support, regular updates and is willing to help you customize your site and install any third-party modules or software you may need.

Who Will Be Looking After My Site?

Making sure your host is reputable is important. Search online reviews, read customer comments, and ask colleagues if they’ve ever used a specific provider. Also look into how long a company has been in business and what sort of services they offer. If you’re looking to save time and money, you can also opt for managed hosting solutions like Acquia Cloud Site Factory that are specifically designed with Drupal in mind. Since those platforms are optimized by developers, they can handle updates automatically while keeping your site secure and running smoothly.

Can I Have Unlimited Websites/Domains On One Plan?

Every hosting plan should have unlimited websites and/or domains available. The number of sites you’ll actually need is highly dependent on your specific website and needs, but just because you’re paying for it doesn’t mean you should limit yourself in any way. Plus, a quality host will be able to accommodate different types of sites, allowing you to test out new platforms or use an entirely separate platform. If a host doesn’t explicitly offer unlimited domains with your package (or if they simply don’t list it at all), then be sure to ask before signing up. Of course, unlimited sites/domains are only useful if they come with sufficient bandwidth.

Is There A Money Back Guarantee?

Most reputable web hosts offer a money back guarantee. This gives you confidence that they are confident in their service, and if you decide their hosting isn’t right for you within a given time period, you can cancel your account and get your money back. Typically these guarantees last 30 days, but they may be less depending on how long they think it takes most customers to decide if a host is right for them. Make sure that any host you’re considering has a money back guarantee so that when you finally do switch from shared hosting over to VPS hosting or dedicated server hosting, if you don’t like it, you can still get your money back.

Can I Upgrade/Downgrade my Plan Later On?

It’s best to get your plan right from day one, so that you don’t end up paying more than you need or getting less than what you expect. If you can, look for plans with discounted early bird rates as they will only last a certain amount of time. Most companies also have a grace period where they won’t charge you extra if your account usage falls below a certain level (this is usually somewhere around 10% or 25% of your original plan). Make sure these points are listed in your contract and that there aren’t any hidden fees before signing on.

Will I Get Daily/Weekly Reports About My Account And Server Activity?

If you’re running a business website, it’s critical that you know what is happening with your server at all times. Many hosts will send daily/weekly reports with detailed account and server activity and statistics; these reports can help you figure out why your site may be having problems if something goes wrong. It can also help ensure that your website stays up and running smoothly. So, yes you want a host that offers at least some type of reporting whether on a daily or weekly basis.

Who Do I Call If Something Goes Wrong With My Website Or Account?

That’s why you need to know if customer service is available at all hours of day. 24/7 support is a must-have; after all, you never know when you might have an emergency or a question and not having access to customer service can be disastrous. When in doubt, choose a host that offers phone support outside of normal business hours as well—that way you’ll always have someone on hand should something go wrong.

Do They Provide Phone Support 24/7 Or Just During Business Hours?

If you experience an emergency and need support, having someone available outside of normal business hours is critical. If a host doesn’t offer 24/7 phone support, it could mean that your server is offline during some crucial time when you really need it up and running. Additionally, live phone support will let you get help more quickly than waiting for email responses. A lot can go wrong with a web hosting service, so make sure you have access to help at all times.

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