Anyone who wants a web presence and if you are on business, that means you need to host their website somewhere. I explained why it is so in a new Web 101 article about hosting. So you know you need one, but how can you choose one? After all, youll see ads for web hosting across the Internet with prices ranging from a few dollars per month upwards and upwards. What is right for you?
First of all, there are only 3 main categories of web hosting: dedicated hosting, virtual dedicated hosting and shared hosting. Dedicated hosting means that your site and your site alone are the only ones on a single physical server. The benefits are that you often configure the server in a more customized way, and the only activity and traffic that affects your website is your own. Having said that, dedicated hosting is very expensive usually 80 month and UP and not something that the typical small business owner or solo company needs. Virtually dedicated web hosting gives you administrative power for dedicated hosting without being the only site on a particular server. Pricing for virtual dedicated servers is in the middle 30 mo and up. Shared hosting, on the other hand, is exactly what it says several sites host on a single physical server. This is the host most users use because it is very cost effective and can start as low as 4 month for a small, basic package. The only possible disadvantage of shared hosting is that any website on a server traffic, etc. can affect others. However, it has been my experience that for most small and medium sized websites is enough if you choose a good web host.
What makes a hosting company good? In my opinion, there are important services you need from your host to efficiently and reliably find your companys Internet presence.
Reliability and monitoring
If your site is not available and available, you are not active on the web. Therefore, your host should have very high availability time statistics like 99% or more. Any interruptions should be welcome, short and at holidays think in the middle of the night in the US. Unscheduled problems should be resolved quickly and efficiently. Make sure the hosting company monitors its servers 24X7. In this day and age of pagers, automatic performance monitoring and warning systems, you should not be the one who needs to call them and inform them about a problem. They should know the minute it happens or earlier and handle it ASAP. Lets meet whats possible and happening; you just want to make sure its a very rare exception and handled quickly and appropriately.
24X7 free support
You should have access to the hosts support team not only via email or instant messaging but also by phone 24X7. You should not have to wait for an eternity in the queue either. Personally, I think to wait more than 10 minutes to be a total joke and Im generous. When you get someone on the phone they should be knowledgeable, easy to understand as in plain English without technobabble or an accent so thick that a ginzukniv could not cut it and willing to do whatever it takes to help you. Before you start commenting that Im taking a plunge of diversity, I love all the exciting differences that fall into the big melting pump. I just do not think phone support is the best way to exploit the skills of someone who does not have strong communication skills.
Enough space and transfer
Most hosting plans say something like 20GB space and 500GB transfer. What these numbers represent is the amount of file storage space you get on the server and how much data transfer space used when someone visits your site you can use per month. File storage space is the sum of the size of all files that make up your site. For most websites, it is relatively small, especially if your website is properly designed with weboptimized graphics and images. The exceptions are audio and video files. These can be very large. So plan your space requirements accordingly based on how to use your site. As far as data transmission is concerned, the mathematics becomes confused and complicated. Your data transfer is the sum of all page sizes the actual HTML page plus any pictures, etc. that are delivered to visitors during the month. To get an estimate, you can multiply the size of your largest page with all graphics with the number of impressions your site receives or will receive. For example: 50 Kb X 10 000 = 500 000 Kb; In other words, you need 500 Meg if your site generates 10,000 pageviews each month. Rule of thumb; do not settle for less than 1GB. If you have to pay for less, do not worry that most hosts will let you seamlessly upgrade to a more deluxe hosting package if you find your requirements that exceed what you previously purchased.