Choosing a Web Hosting Company
What is web hosting? It’s a server or set of servers where the files and software for your website are uploaded to so that visitors can view your website from the Internet. A server is a computer, but if you hosted your own files on your own computer and even allowed access to it from the Internet, your computer would not have the speed or capabilities the server has. Even if you set up your own server or servers from home, you wouldn’t have the right type of cable or lines to transmit data to visitors. That means you have to have web hosting.
But not all website hosting is created equal. There is good hosting and bad hosting just like anything else and you need to know the difference and be able to make an informed decision about which hosting company is best for your website and your business model.
Tips for choosing web hosting company for your website or blog
- Choose a well-known company. Unfortunately smaller hosting companies go out of business or sell their business frequently and that can leave you in a bind.
- Well-known doesn’t always mean good web hosting company. Make sure they are primarily a web hosting company and not a company that “also” does web hosting in addition to something else or other things. Like GoDaddy.com is a domain registration service that “also” does hosting. Hostgator.com is a company that does web hosting and “also” does domain registration. For the advanced peopel out there, I get my domains from Godaddy.com and my web hosting from Hostgator. For those not so advanced, it would be best to get your domain and hosting from the same company, especially if we are only dealing with one domain, if you are working on getting more thant 10 domains then it would be recommended to split the domain company and web hosting company.
- Price is not the first thing to consider. if you had a store offline, wouldn’t you pay a little more to have your store where there is foot traffic rather than save a little on rent and be located in the warehouse district? You get what you pay for with hosting, so don’t make price the only consideration.
- Unless you are having your website built in dot net, which I do not recommend, you do not want a Windows Server. You want Apache/Linux. Almost any type of code or software works on Apache/Linux, while only proprietary stuff works on a Windows Server without extra effort and workarounds. You want versatility. You may want to install WordPress, Forum Software or something else later and you don’t want the extra expense of making it work on a Windows Server.
- Bandwidth is the amount of transfer from your website to visitor’s computers. If an image is 29 kilobytes and it’s on your web page, when the visitor goes to that page that image is downloaded to their computer and that’s 29 kilobytes of bandwidth. Everything on any page is downloaded to their computer and everything adds to the amount of transfer or bandwidth you use.
- Don’t believe the hype. There really isn’t anything that is unlimited and that includes bandwidth, but most hosting companies will offer unlimited bandwidth, but if you really do use way too much and it slows down the server, they will want to move you to different hosting. The Cloud is changing the way bandwidth affects hosting, so it may not matter as much as it used to, but you should be aware of the amount of bandwidth you use and how much you think you’ll need as your traffic increases.
- Storage space is not something you should worry too much about. Most hosting companies give you way more storage space than you need. Unless you’re offering full-length movie downloads or song downloads, you aren’t likely to run into problems with the amount of storage space. One or two gigs of space is the norm.
- Choosing a well-known hosting company usually takes care of making sure you have good 24-7 tech support. I know with Hostgator, I get a very good response whenever I submit a support ticket or call them and sometimes I do both if I have a problem. 🙂
There are other technical considerations not included in this guide. These are the basics. Ask to make sure you are going onto an Apache/Linux Server, Make sure you have enough bandwidth for the amount of traffic you expect and choose a hosting plan that is affordable, yet always a little more than you think you’ll actually need. Also make sure it’s easy to upgrade to a better plan later if you need to. A good hosting company will move your website to a better server for free when it’s time for that.
Each website is unique and you may have specific things you need to make it work well for your visitors. Ask about everything. tell them what you plan to do and let them recommend the right type of hosting for your particular situation. Of course, don’t let them sell you on a dedicated server or anything until you’re ready for it. If you need help with choosing the right hosting company for your particular needs, contact us and we’ll be happy to make some recommendations.