Choosing your web hosting provider is the next logical step after you have registered your domain name. However, it is not easy to find the right web hosting deal. There are many companies that offer web hosting services. If you make a search on Google for the keyword web hosting you will get more than 100 million results!
If you want to have a successful online presence you need to have reliable web hosting. Your web site has to be always online and accessible. Otherwise, you will loose clients and prospects. Let’s compare this with a traditional business. If you have a shop in “offline” business name of the shop is your domain name and business space and infrastructure is your web hosting. Imagine a cafe that don’t have electricity once a day for one hour or a fast food service where there is only one employee instead of four!
WEB HOSTING TYPES
You have to choose your web hosting deal depending on type of your site. You won’t choose the same web hosting deal if you have a personal web site, web site for email newsletter subscription and archives, e-commerce site or web forum. There are 4 main web hosting: virtual (shared) hosting, dedicated server, collocation server and reseller hosting. The two most used are virtual (shared) hosting and dedicated server.
Virtual (shared) hosting is the situation where many web sites reside on one web server. This is the cheapest web hosting because many users split the cost for web server. You can find quality virtual hosting from $100 per year.
Dedicated server represents a hosting where company lease the whole web server from web hosting company. That web server is located in the web hosting company. Dedicated server is the right choice for company that doesn’t want to share there server with other users. Dedicated server can be managed and un-managed. In the first case web hosting company will take care about setting up and constant updates and upgrades of your web server while you will have to do that in the second case. Advantage of this type of web hosting is that you can completely accommodate your web hosting to your needs. Also, dedicated server is the only logical choice for web sites with lots of visitors. Because of costs for a dedicated server that start from $100 per month, usually this hosting is chosen only by companies which take their Internet business very seriously.
Collocation server is similar to dedicated server. Difference is that company doesn’t lease a web server. They place their own web server in the web hosting company. Also, company has physical access to their web server while it is not the case in using a dedicated server.
Reseller hosting is targeted to companies that want to start their own web hosting business.
Useful web site where you can find a web hosting that will fit your needs is http://www.webhost. thelist.com
FACTORS YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER
You have to take several factors in consideration in order to be satisfied with your web hosting.
Web space is determined by the type of your site. Certainly, if you want to have a web site with basic information about yourself and your work without using web applications that 50 MB of web space will be enough. On the other hand, if you want to have complex e-commerce site with several thousand products in your database or web site with members, you don’t have to take anything less than 1 GB.
Bandwidth represents data that has been transferred from your web site and that include graphic details, images, banners, files for download etc. Content is very important for planning your bandwidth. For most sites, 10 GB monthly bandwidth is more than enough while for some other sites like desktop wallpapers sites bandwidth can be often even several hundred GB per month.
Up-time or visibility
Up-time or visibility represents time expressed in percents that show how much is one site online. Don’t be fooled because someone guarantees for example 98% up-time because it is not enough. You don’t have to take anything les than 99.7%. Believe us, that difference is very big. Useful site checking your up-time is http://www.netmechanic.com
It is important to know what you will get in your web hosting package regarding email accounts. Will you get only a so called catch –all forwarding which means that all emails sent to email@example.com will arrive to your email address or you can set-up email accounts for several users? For how many? Is it for 5, 10, 100 or unlimited email accounts? Also, it doesn’t hurt to check do you get a so called POP3 email address (“real” email address), web mail or both? Having a POP3 email address you will be able to check your emails using your favourite email client and web mail enables you to check your emails at any place that has computer and Internet connection.
Server type, tools and control panel
The two most often used hosting are on Unix-based or Windows platform. That fact has for the result program languages, databases and scripts that you will be able to use. On Unix-based platform, usual choice is PHP language in combination with MySQL while on Windows platform ASP or ASP. NET language in combination with SQL Server. You have to check do you get a database in your package and how many. Today, modern web site has to be database-driven.
Also, it is recommended to be informed about tools that you get in your web hosting package, no matter if they are applications for web statistics, file manager and things like that. Best solution is if you get a cPanel along with Fantastico. Using Fantastico, marketers without technical knowledge can install most popular web applications within 2-3 clicks.
Technical support is one of the most important things in choosing your web hosting, especially if you are a marketer without technical knowledge. You have to be sure that your technical support will answer your emails within 24 hours. This is not only important for choosing your web hosting company, it is important to literally any company that sells products and services, for example software company.
Some companies are so well organized that you will receive response from them within 1 hour! You can get an image about your future technical support about the way they can be contacted. Is it only via email or they have a support phone, too? Do they have a toll-free number? Do they have trouble-ticket system? Also, very important thing is their working hours. Do they provide technical support only during their working hours from 9 to 17 or they offer 24x7 technical support? The best way to see how professional they are is to make a list of questions, contact them and – wait to get the answer.
It is a common practice that web hosting and software companies have Testimonials section where you can read recommendations from their happy customers. Don’t rely only on that section. Many web hosting companies offer you to see their portfolio of web sites that they host. Contact several webmasters and ask them about what they think about their web hosting provider. Very useful thing in finding best web hosting deals and recommendations is to visit popular web forums like http://www.webhostingtalk.com and http://www.sitepointforums.com
You see that there are several factors that influence in choosing your web hosting package. You have to be aware that like with everything else, when we come to web hosting you usually get what you pay for.
Dejan Bizinger is a Contributing Editor for Infacta. Infacta is email messaging services company providing powerful, yet easy-to-use award-winning Group Mail, software for sending highly-personalized email messages and Group Metrics, software for email tracking. For more information visit: http://www.infacta.com