What to look for when buying web hosting

What to look for web hosting

Finding the correct web hosting is important. It will have an effect on the effectiveness of website and the joy you get from it. We will explain how to make a wise decision. We will look into the most import issues surrounding web hosting. Whether you are buying a new package or upgrading one, these points will guide you. To determine your requirements, you need to know some basics information regarding web hosting.

Web hosting requirements

What do you want the hosting for? What type of website are you creating? For example. A blog will need fewer features and resources than an e-commerce site. A site that has mainly text will require different storage then a site with many images. A video dominant site will require vast amounts of memory and resources. So you need a clear understanding of the type of website you will be hosting.

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Are you buying a shared hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated hosting.

What’s the difference you may be asking? As an analogy, hosting is like renting accommodation for your website. You can rent a shared room in a house, rent an apartment in a block of flats or rent a detached house with acres of land around you. Each has its pro and cons. Ask the hosting company if you are getting a shared hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server) or dedicated hosting.

All companies will try to claim that they have the service that is best suited for you, but that may not necessarily be the case. Choosing what’s right for you will either make your experience a walk in the garden or a marathon run that never ends!

The Consequences of bad hosting company.

Not well found in search engines.
Wasting your time
Wasting your money.
Slow and poor service.
Difficulty of improving your website worth.

Doing your homework is the most important step to getting the web hosting that’s just right for you.

Factors to assess before you take up the best option.

So here are the main ones..

#1 Hosting storage space

Storage is web space in MB, GB etc. So just how much do I need? This is the first concern. The web hosting must provide sufficient storage for your whole website. Not only that, you must have sufficient reserve storage for expansion. Most hosting companies give you a “reasonable” amount of storage. (as with the development of technology, memory is less expensive)

Watch out! The concept of “unlimited” memory is not as true as we imagine.

There is a limit. The companies understand that a small website will not be using so much memory and they share the memory with 1000’s. It is unlikely that all their customers use the memory the same time. Be sure to clarify this.

There are some companies that give unlimited memory, but then that slows down your page speed. (page speed load times is a very important factor to customer experience). It is always better to be up-front and ask. How much memory do I get? This memory space is like determining the size of our accommodation. So then what is Bandwidth?

#2 How much bandwidth do I need for my website?

A simple example would be the use of the shared staircase in the block of flats. Not everyone can use the staircase at the same time. So the host will have a very small bandwidth and allow less use of the website. Every visitor to your website is using a portion of your bandwidth. You need to determine what traffic you will be expecting and adjust that bandwidth accordingly.

Different hosting packages have different bandwidth. The import thing is to be seamlessly upgrade should your website experience high levels of traffic. Unlimited may not be the unlimited we understand. As the host to clarify. Many companies are now generous with both storage and bandwidth.

#3 How much Ram Do I need?

Ram is like the hall way in a block of flats. This is where the exchanges of information take place. The greater the ram, the “easier” the information can flow, hence the faster the website works! Hosting companies have to limit this, so plan for your present needs and more importantly future needs. Ask for how easily it is for your to upgrade/increase your ram.

So what is a domain?

It the unique “web address” for your site. You need to buy it separately from your hosting. The prices and availability vary greatly. The hosting company make it easy for you, that you may have a number of domains on a single hosting. (It would make it extremely difficult for each domain to have its own hosting! Exception would be-if you have a dedicated extremely busy website!) Most hosting allow you to manage these domains and add-on domains from a single hosting account. You will expect there to be a limit to the number of domain you may have.

Free domain as a bonus

You may buy your domain from the same hosting company or from any other domain company. Some hosting companies give free domains. You may take the bonus. However, do not let this free bonus compromise other important factors of you hosting.

#4 How many E-mails accounts am I allowed?

Did you know that the hosting company stores your e-mails too? Those e-mails that look like info@mywebsite.com are using there hosting server to keep your e-mails. Hence you need to check how many e-mail accounts your provider is willing to allow you to have. You will most certainly need to know the e-mail software your host is using. E-mails hosting is obviously for both receiving and forwarding. Some hosting companies will provide e-mail forwarding and auto-responders.

Types of data base

For the vast majority of websites, you will need MySQL, Oracle, SQL and PHPMyAdmin. However, these common database are the accepted norm for most host providers. The vast majority of website people create use the famous wordpress or joomla platforms. (Those using other platforms will most certainly not need to understand this section) Check to see if your host provides easy “one Click” installation of these and other common CMS platforms.

#5 Getting the best customer support web hosting is important

This would be the number one consideration. There is no point having fast, excessive memory if when things go wrong, which happens more often than you think, the host provider replies days later!! Some hosting providers respond in 15 minutes!!

Whether you’re just starting out or a more experienced webmaster/owner, you most certainly want a reliable customer support team behind your website. They must be available twenty-four hours a day seven days a week,. No exception. Even on public holidays, they should provide support. Things go wrong so often. Viruses, bugs, hacking and incompatible software, etc. All these need immediate or very quick responses.

This quick customer support will give you the best reassurance of your site operating correctly. Minimizing any potential lose to your business. Never compromise on customer support! Find out the type of support they provide, is it in-house or our sourced. Do the staff understand you? Though price is an important consideration, support should be given priority. There is no point having a low price when you need to wait 24 hours for an answer as to why your website is down!

#6 Types of customer support communication

This support could be by telephone, e-mail, ticket system, live chat. They may provide wiki style information and videos. Never buy hosting without getting the correct support. If your present hosting is not up to scratch, change the hosting company. There is just no room to be tolerant on this issue!

Site back-up and frequency

With the ever rising hacking techniques, every website is prone to become unstable. You need a hosting company that automatically creates back-up for you. Some top-notch ones back-up every 15 minutes! Though for most, this level is unnecessary or impractical. Usually a single back-up once a day would be acceptable and ideal. (Assuming your website is not very busy or large). However, the more often the back-up, the safer your website! The back-up must be for both, the files and the database. If they don’t provide it, then find another hosting company.

#7 Uptime and why it is so important

The website is a wonderful place to be. It is open for entailment and business twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. How disappointing it would be that people try to access your site and they cannot? The host provider must assure you that the website is accessible more than 99.9% of the time at least. They need that 0.1% of the time to upgrade their servers and software! They will usually do that when there is the least amount of traffic. (1am?)

How down time is calculated?

Down time is calculated over a 30 day period..

We calculate total seconds:- that is thirty times twenty-four times sixty times sixty. (30 d X24 hrs X 60 min X 60 seconds) Total 2 592 000 seconds per month.

At 99% that equates to 25920 seconds down being 432 minutes or 7 hours 12 minutes down per month.

At 99.9% that is 43 minutes down per month.

At 99.99% that is 4 minutes per month.

#8 What is the cPanel? The corner-stone of website management

Websites are becoming easier to manage by novices. This mainly due to the user friendly interface of cPanel. It has a well laid out interface, simple navigation and is very well documented. Their tutorials have awesome videos with simple-to-follow instructions. Another unique feature of cPanel is providing warning for anything risky. This reduces the need to contact support and customer service for every simple task and amendment.

WordPress and joomla and the like are easy to install

WordPress and joomla and the like are easy to install, setting up e-mails is simple and so is updating your website. The use of FTP (File Transfer Pool) is common. The stress has been removed by the awesome use of cPanel. A must have for any great hosting. The cPanel should be as the image shows and not what some devious hosting says. This makes make updating, redirecting and modifying your website easy. It has a built in file manager. You can control the DNS. (Domain Name System)

The CPanel has many other applications like Awstats etc to view traffic and visitors. A great free tool to understand your visitors. Manual back-ups and a whole list of many features and applications. They include a search engine optimization tool. Awesome.

#9 The most difficult question. How can I move my website?

This is the hardest topic for any website hosting company. They make it difficult for you to leave them! But then there are many that will make things so easy for you to move to another hosting company. Therefore, the maximum you should sign up for is a years hosting. Many companies will sign you up for longer and put you to their mercy with service. You must be able to transfer your domain name with ease. The cPanel control helps you to do just that! This is a uniform platform across all quality hosting companies. Don’t be afraid to switch! It’s not as difficult as some providers may make you believe. Not switching could cost you lots of time and money.

Finally now you know so much

Now you know the important features to consider when buying hosting. You have your list of your main issues.

You need to decide what makes one provider stand out from the others. The choices are many. You may look into promotions and bonuses they give. What extras do they offer? How helpful are they towards beginners? Is your domain privacy free so no-one can trace your private details? You have the basic knowledge now to make a wise decision.

At the end, you must just follow your instincts. Best of luck with whomever you join.

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