Things To Consider When Choosing A Website Host

Introduction.

If you’re currently looking for a web hosting company, then picking out the best one from all the hundreds that are available can be quite confusing; so hopefully you’ll find the following hints and tips useful in narrowing down your search. Choosing a website hosting company isn’t quite as simple as just selecting the one that comes out at the top of a search engines ranking. Whilst any company that can get itself to the top of a search engines ranking is undoubtedly doing well in one way or another - you need to research what exactly they will offer you and compare it to at least two or three others, before making your final decision.

Go for value for money not cheapness.

The first thing you need to do is forget the idea of getting a cheap web hosting package and concentrate on getting one that’s the best possible value for your money. That’s not to say it has to be expensive, but think of it more in terms of being great value for the money you spend. Whatever you do, please ignore any banner headlines offering web hosting for some ridiculously low price. If it looks too good to be true - it almost certainly is.  You might well be able to find somewhere offering to host your website for just a few dollars a year, but what features and levels of service will you get for it? We’ll consider some of the features and levels of service in a moment, but meanwhile: paying $10 a month will be quite OK for someone just wanting to have their personal website hosted and only needing 2GB of space. A business website with SSL certificates and unlimited space will typically push the price beyond $30 a month; whereas a full blown Enterprise dedicated hosting server may well cost $300 a month.

Features to look for.

When considering the features you need from your web hosting company - don’t fall into the trap of just considering what you use/need now. If you know you’ll be developing your website in the future then you should plan ahead and choose a web hosting package that will make those features immediately available when you want them. Nothing can be more frustrating than missing out on development opportunities because you’ve got to wait for your web hosting package to be reconfigured. The list of these features could in itself run to a couple of pages, but the key ones to consider are: Disk space and bandwidth, which server-side scripting languages can you use, how many email accounts will you get, how secure are their web servers, do they guarantee refunds if downtime occurs through their fault, how many and what type of databases are available, do they offer traffic monitoring and what are their backup routines and procedures. Don’t forget of course, some features will be dependant on you choosing either an Apache or IIS server in the first place!

Support and Customer services.

Of course in an ideal world your web hosting company would provide a cast iron 100% guarantee that your website will constantly be available. Life in the real world, however, means that even if it’s just to re-boot after installing a security update all servers will be down occasionally, albeit for very short periods of time. Benefits of paying more for your web hosting should include receiving a superior level of support and customer service; keeping you informed/warned about down-times and any likely compensation for it. Another point here, often also relevant to the price you pay, is in the event of discovering a problem what will the web hosting company do to help you resolve it? Referring you to their knowledgebase might not provide a speedy response, 24/7 email support is one thing - but being able to actually talk to someone over the phone might be what you really need. Support levels are, of course, mission critical. So, if your website is a simple basic one, it being off-line for a few hours probably won’t be catastrophic. However, a sales or promotional website down for a few hours could quickly lose you money!

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