Websites are, without doubt, the bread and butter for online business owners, and although a lot of factors go into creating one, hosting is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle.
Before you can build any site (a traditional website, a dynamic portal, or even a simple blog), you must know where it will be stored on the web. You can, obviously, house the website on your own personal computer during development, but it will have to be uploaded to a hosting service eventually.
These hosting services have host computers that have 24-hour access to the Internet.
Now, while a wide variety of options exist when it comes to choosing a web hosting service, there are some simple considerations that must always be kept in mind. We’ll look at some more advanced pointers in another article, but think of these as a fundamental guideline.
Here are 5 basic tips for choosing a web hosting service:
Know Your Requirements
What kind of web hosting you will need almost always comes down to understanding your requirements. You will need to have an idea of how much bandwidth or storage space you will require to comfortably support your website. Or websites, for that matter.
A small blog is not going to need terabytes of bandwidth every month, or hundreds of gigabytes of storage. And although most web hosts will happily upgrade you to a bigger plan, as and when needed, it is best to sort this out beforehand, and choose the right plan when starting out.
This is a factor that actually ties into the tip above. The features of your chosen plan should match the type of website you are developing. If it is made up of simple, static HTML pages, then you can get away without the fancy bells and whistles.
But dynamics websites, ecommerce sites, and blogs will require support for PHP, databases — the latest technologies. Make sure your web host also supports backend interfaces like cPanel, which make management a fair bit easier.
With the above two factors decided, now you can move onto the more interesting phase of your research. Seek out reviews and see what other customers have to say about their hosting companies. In this age of social media, Facebook and Twitter provide tons of insight and user experiences.
And then there are dedicated websites and forums that also make available customer reviews that you can read. If the hosting companies you have shortlisted have dedicated support sections, then these too, are a source for positive and negative ratings. Go with the ones that seem best to you.
The last thing you want is to be stuck with a broken website, and no one there to help you. And this is without even mentioning any unforeseen downtimes your host may experience. In any case, the quality of customer support a web host provides should be a heavy factor in determining which one to choose.
The best companies provide you access to an actual person you can talk to about an issue, offer 24/7 access to their support center, have an active social media presence in case of any problems, and provide the ability to get in touch with the support staff via multiple means, including phone and email.
For some this may rank higher, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. A few extra bucks are nothing if you are serious about your online business — after all, time is just as precious as money. Opting for a cheaper, less reliable service could just as well end up costing you more.
That is not to say that the most expensive ones are always the best. But fact is, you should not really make price a factor for the tips above, and when researching a web host. Also take care not to be swooned in with every deal that comes your way. Choose a hosting company on your own terms.