Choose a Web Host
How to Choose a Web Host
Web hosting is a big business on the internet nowadays...so big, in fact, that it can be difficult to choose from amongst the myriad of options.
How do you know you're going to get reliable service and customer support at reasonable prices? And how do you compare what one company offers versus another?
A web hosting review site can help you sift through the multiple options by showing you the good, the bad and the ugly of web hosts. A good review site like Hosting-Review basically does the homework for you - you can compare prices and packages easily in one place, as well as read detailed information about various web hosts, as written by webmasters who have both user experience and customer feedback on the different hosting companies.
Still not sure what to do? Let's go through some of the different criteria you should consider when evaluating the best web host for your needs:
Space & Bandwidth
Your needs for space and bandwidth will depend on how large and/or graphics-heavy your site is, as well as your expected volume of traffic. Most plans typically offer at least 50 MB. However, make sure that you are not going to get charged extra for features such as mail, system programs, and other elements of your web site as these may or may not be included in disk space limit provided. The same goes for bandwidth - 500 MB is typical for many average-sized sites, but you may need more or substantially less.
How much does the hosting package cost? (remember, the lowest price is not necessarily the way to go here). Is payment monthly or annual? Is a contract required? Some hosting companies offer substantial discounts when you sign up for a multi-year contract. What price implications are there if you go over your bandwidth limit? Read the fine print!
If you run out of space or use up all your bandwidth and need to upgrade to a more robust package, what are the implications? Are you able to upgrade packages easily if required?
What types of help are offered, what are support hours, and is support free? You'd be surprised - web hosts range from offering virtually no support all the way up to free phone, fax, email and chat support 24 hours, 7 days a week. Also, beware that some hosts charge for certain types of support. This is more info you'll get from those hosting reviews.
Does the web host supply domain registration services or must you register your domain yourself? How portable is your domain name? You will want to be able to take it with you if you ever change hosting providers.
What additional services are offered with your package? This can include free scripts, web traffic statistics tools, shopping carts, design help, and many other features and functions. Many of these can be very useful and are worth checking out. On the flip side, try not to pay for what you won't use.
Speed & Uptime
Above all, you want a reliable site that does not bog down or go down. It is a nightmare to have visitors leave your site because it is not working or it is so slow that they lose interest. A good web host will have an uptime guarantee and will notify you of any scheduled downtime.
Ensure that your chosen web host package gives you enough email addresses for your needs. Remember, too, that if you're a one-man show, it can't hurt to have multiple email addresses (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc) - even if they all go to your inbox, you look like a bigger company, which can add to your credibility.
Choosing that hosting company can be time-consuming and complicated, so use hosting reviews to your advantage - after all, these are webmasters who have used different hosts themselves!