There are thousands of web hosting services online today; this makes it harder for novices and even veteran webmasters to choose a good hosting service. How do you pick one service in the sea of web host services? Do bandwidth and storage space matter?
To choose the best hosting service, you need to consider your hosting needs. Consider what kind of a website you are building; is it a content management system, an eCommerce site or any other type of a website? Will you need something common like a WordPress blog that may drive you to choose a specific host, one which offers WordPress blog hosting? Does your website need Windows applications or special software such as PHP? Lastly, how big is your website and how much traffic will it generate? How much space will you need for your blog?
By answering all these questions, you have known specifically what kind of host you are looking for. If you are new, it is always advisable to start small. Use the checklist below to get the one that suits your needs.
You will need your website to be accessible all the time without any errors. Therefore, you will need to choose a website whose servers are powerful and their network connections powerful. A good web host should be up 99 to 100 percent of the time. In fact, only choose a server whose uptime is above 99.5 percent.
There are two main ways to tell the uptime of a server; through web host review services and server monitoring tools. The latter offers better results. Some of the monitoring tools used by webmasters include Nagios Core, Ganglia, and Monitor.Us among others. You can also check for web host reviews; though getting information first hand is more reliable.
Upgrading Options and Multiple Domain Add-ons
When you are new to online businesses, it is always advisable to start with shared hosting. Most shared hosting is powerful and can accommodate up to 40,000 unique visitors each month.
A shared hosting will take you just fine if your database connections stay below 20.
However, if you plan on growing your business in the next couple of years, you should consider choosing a web host that is upgradable. If for instance, you were using WordPress shared host, you should be able to upgrade to WordPress managed host for more space, better processing power, and better security features.
As your website is expanding, you may need more domain names; domain names are cheap, and there are lots of webmasters having more than five domain names. You will need extra space to accommodate extra domain names. There are shared hosting accounts that allow up to 25 domain names, but with shared hosting, you can never be sure. Before hitting the buy button, check domain capacity.
Pricing and Refund Policy
Pricing is important especially when you are starting with shared hosting. In most cased, shared hosting plans are cheap but you may end up paying a lot when you are renewing. It is normal in the hosting industry, and you may not have an option but to pay for the pricey renewal costs. When signing up, be sure to check the terms of service for renewal costs.
A quick way to access renewal prices is; push the ToS button, usually at the bottom of the page, hit Ctrl + F and type renewal or renew on the search bar.
Besides ensuring that the hosting plans are relatively affordable, ensure that their refund policy is friendly. If you decide to cancel the services during the trial period, will you get your money back? Does the company charge anything after cancellation?
Basic Hosting Features
There are basic hosting features that you will need almost every day on your website. Cron, for instance, will be needed for every day website operations. You will need Auto Script Installer, such as Simple Scripts, Fantastico, Softaculous, Quick Installer and Installation among others, for easy web app installation and update. You will also need .htaccess for website security and page redirects and Server Side Include (SSI) to enhance site maintenance. Lastly, you will need FTP access to ease file transfer. Unless you join a specialty host service such as WP Engine, these features are a must-have.
Most web host services will promise unlimited storage and unlimited data transfer even on shared hosting. While you need these features, the statements are nothing more than marketing terms.
Even on shared hosting, you will have enough space and you can easily transfer your files, with the above mentioned basic features. Average website owners should not be worried about disk space and bandwidth so much as images are always easy to store on Flickr and documents and other files stored on Google Doc, videos can be stored on YouTube and Vimeo, and you can use cloud-based storage for large files.
Control Panel Ease of Use and Account Suspension
The control panel of a web host service should be easy to use and functional. It does not matter if it is Plesk, cPanel or any other third party control panel if it is easy to use. Ensure that the control panel has all the basic functions; without all necessary features, you will always need to reach out to the tech support staff even when you need simple server tweaks.
What you are not told outright is that your account may be suspended when you break any rules set by the hosting service or when you use too much CPU power, this is where unlimited hosting becomes limited. Therefore, you will need a web host service with bearable restrictions, and you will need to check the restrictions before hitting the buy button. You can see all restrictions on the companies Terms of Service; but most of us do not read those terms, no?
The five factors above are a must-consider when shopping for a web host service. Other factors that you can consider include subscription period, email features, site backup, 24-hour live support, e-commerce features and environmental friendliness. One man’s treasured possession is another one’s trash, what may work for others may fail to work for you as such, look deeper.