Let’s say you signed up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) when you were still fairly new to all this internet stuff. As time moved on, you started to realize that they aren’t delivering on all of the promises they made in the beginning. For whatever reason, their service isn’t what you want. Or worse, what if your ISP just closes suddenly leaving you without a host at all.
I know how stressful it can be on the surface, but relax and know that you aren’t the first customer to be put in this sort of predicament. It happens every day to hundreds, even thousands of end users. They survived it, and with the right contingency plan, so can you. Switching to a new ISP / web hosting provider isn’t nearly as scary or involved as you might think.
Probably the single most important thing that you need to understand and implement RIGHT NOW is the backup. Backing up your data ensures that no matter what happens to your website or the data on your web server space, you always have a current up-to-date copy of your files available to you in the event of an emergency and believe me when I say that emergencies happen. Servers go down and lose information, ISPs close leaving you stranded. ALWAYS have a backup plan!
With your backup in hand and your recent bad experience with your current ISP, start researching with your newfound knowledge in the forefront of your mind. Now you know the right questions to ask.
What are your bandwidth needs and what package does the ISP offer to fit them? Depending on where you are, DSL, Cable modems and Digital Broadband are all possibilies. The major benefit to these options is that they can generally use existing phone lines or cable lines. A word of caution on DSL though; Your connection speed can vary depending on your distance from the local source, so be sure to ask where the nearest source is to you and how it might affect your connectivity and speed.
The two major parts of an ISP service are the phyical network connection (the parts) and the network connection (the part that gives you the ability to surf the internet or send and receive email). Your ISP probably uses a Wide Area Network (WAN) to provide connectivity services to its clients. The largest WAN is the internet itself. You want to look for an ISP with a reliable WAN and high uptime percentage.
Finally, talk to your potential ISP to get concrete answers about their customer service capabilities. Ask for client references and make sure – before you have a problem – that your Internet Service Provider is going to respond to issues quickly and to your satisfaction.