If you have a website or would like to have a website, you will need a website hosting company. The good news is that there are many options to choose from. The bad news is that you will have to learn a bit about web hosting in order to choose the one that is right for you. That is what we are going to discuss in this article, to help you choose the right web server for your business / personal website.
What is a web hosting company?
A web host provides the service that allows you to store the information that makes up your website. A web server stores your website information on a web server. Every time you type a web address in your browser, the browser requests your website information from the web host server and then the browser displays it on your screen. Basically if you don’t have a web server or your own server, you don’t have a website. Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) provide web space, but this is not the type of web hosting we will talk about.
Types of hosting plans
The next thing you will need to know is that there are different types of accommodation available to you. There is virtual / shared hosting. What that means is that the web hosting company hosts more than one account on that server. It’s dedicated too, which basically means you’d get your own server. Another type (which is not as common as the first two) is VPS (Virtual Private Server) and what it is, they are “virtual” servers on the real server and the user can add different modules within their server. The user can also assign the amount of CPU or memory usage the easy module gets. Most users will generally only need shared hosting unless you have a large website with 5,000+ visitors per day and large scripts. If that’s the case, you will need a dedicated hosting.
Types of operating systems
There are three different types of server operating systems. There is Linux, Unix, and of course Windows. Just because your computer is a PC doesn’t mean you should go for Windows web hosting. The operating system you use on your desktop has little to do with your choice of web servers. As long as you know how to use your FTP or web publishing software, you can use either operating system.
When it comes to web hosting, Linux has for some time been considered the best operating system for web servers. It is generally considered to be the most reliable, stable, and efficient system. If your website, like most websites, is what might be called “brochure software,” Linux servers are ideal. A website hosted on a Linux operating system will have very high uptime and very low downtime.
If you intend to create your website using ASP, FrontPage, the .NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MSSQL, or any of Microsoft’s other proprietary technologies, you probably need to use a Windows host. All other languages can be hosted on any of the platforms. Basically, unless you are specifically using features that are unique to one platform or another, your time will be much better spent looking for a very good quality host than a very good quality server.
If you have your own site, you are probably interested in having email addresses on your own domain, such as [email protected] Does the host provide this with the package? Does it allow you to have a general email account that allows [email protected] to end up being routed to you? Will you have the option to send automatic replies for your email accounts? Can you retrieve your mail with your email software? Can it be automatically forwarded to your current email address? Can you check your email on the web? These are questions to ask yourself when looking for the right web host.
This is very important. A website that is down frequently will lose many visitors. If someone finds your site in the search engine and clicks on it to find that it is not available, they will simply buy elsewhere. Slow access is also very frustrating for visitors. How do you know if a web host is reliable or fast? The best way to find information on a web hosting company is to search the net. Once you’ve decided on a web host to verify, type their name into Google. As you examine the results, you will see that some of the pages that appear are actually reviews for that company. Now look at the review websites to see what everyone else is saying about potential web hosting companies. Remember to take reviews with caution. As reviews can generally be posted by anyone anonymously and you can’t please everyone all the time!
Transfer of traffic or data
Data transfer is the number of bytes transferred from your website to visitors when they browse your website. Always look for details on how much traffic the package allows. To give you a rough idea of typical website traffic requirements, most new websites are likely to use less than 3GB of bandwidth per month. Your traffic requirements will grow over time, as your website becomes bigger and more popular. You will need to check if you will be automatically charged for exceeding your bandwidth limit or if you are expected to pay it upfront. Personally, with my web server I have 30 GB of data transfer and I host 7 domains and a subdomain. I currently only use 750MB per month. My websites have a total of 30,000 visits per month and have about 2 million visits per month.
Unfortunately, price is always a factor. You must realize that you often get what you pay for, although it is not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best. Your best bet would be to go for a web host that is neither cheap nor expensive, but falls in the middle.
Does the web hosting company’s technical support work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round? Make sure you get an answer for the web hosting company quickly, not just the next day. Another thing to check is that the phone number they provide is actually answered by a real person. This I know from personal experience. Make sure it’s not an automated system that eventually ends up with an answering machine asking you to leave your name and number. In addition to the speed of responses, check to see if they are technically competent. You don’t want to sign up for a kid-run host. Would you do it?