The most important question while setting up a website is “How to choose a web hosting?” It is very critical to choose appropriate web hosting services for best performance of your website. My previous blog was a complete guide about choosing a domain name for your website and now I will cover all major factors you should keep in mind while choosing a web hosting.
Let us begin with a deep analysis of your website by asking some questions to yourself like, what your website is about? Is your website for a company or brand? Is your website for a corporate business? Is your website a blog or for a local business? Are you planning to earn from your website or eCommerce site? Is your website heavy-content centric or just have textual content? How much traffic are you expecting or need? These are some most important questions one should answer before selecting a web host.
Major types of web hosting:
There are four major types of web hosting:
- Free Hosting
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Dedicated Server
- Dedicated Server Hosting
Free Hosting Services:
There are many free hosting providers who offer free hosting with bunch of tools to set up your very basic website. The most common and annoying thing with these hosting providers is that they place advertisements on your website and you don’t even have any authority upon these adverts. If you want to set up a blog or just a website for your family and friends then no problem, go for it.
But if you want to set up a website or blog for a bit broader perspectives than I will suggest you don’t waste your time on it. Another disadvantage of free web hosting services is that most of them will not let you migrate to any paid hosting or have extremely sophisticated way to migrate from them. Stat shows that almost 80 percent of people prefer creating a new website than transferring their website from free hosting and that is because of their lengthy and difficult procedures.
The most common and most widely used is shared hosting. There are many advantages and disadvantages of shared web hosting. The first advantage is its cost. If you are much cautious about cost and have limited budget (mostly in case of blogs) then go for it. Shared hosting means your website will host among thousands of other website on a single machine. If you have very limited visitors and very small content than opt for it otherwise go for virtual dedicated servers or dedicated servers.
See also: Web Design and Development Process
Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting:
This type of hosting is also a kind of shared hosting but with a very limited number of websites on a single server. Virtual dedicated server hosting provide much more resources than shared. It means your website and web applications can use much more RAM, CPU and Hard Disk space on server. If you are expecting heavy traffic and have more content than go for it. Usually blogs, small businesses, regional and local websites with limited visitors and content opt for it.
Dedicated Server Hosting:
Dedicated Server Hosting is the most expensive type of hosting. Here you have a single server to host your single website. Using this type of web hosting you can utilize as much RAM, CPU and Hard Disk as available on the server. The Dedicated Server Hosting is much more costly than any of the above and usually corporate businesses, regional and local websites, educational websites and organizations opt for it. The websites with heavy content, mostly media like photos, videos and other downloadable content use dedicated server hosting.
See also: Corporate Identity and Logo
Some major factors to take care while selecting a web host:
Above are only types of hosting services available all over the internet. I didn’t mention anything else first, but one of the most important aspect is customer support and I will recommend you to check the customer support and read as many reviews as possible for the web hosting provider you are opting to. Here are a few factors you should keep in mind while selecting a web host:
Bandwidth and Storage Space for Hosting:
Usually people don’t care about bandwidth of their hosting. Most of the web hosting service provider offers shared hosting with unlimited bandwidth. As on shared hosting there could be thousands of websites hosted on the same server, so how a company could offers unlimited bandwidth and storage? I mean, it is not possible on a shared server and also on any other hosting either, but it is the worst on shared servers than any of other hosting type.
Usually a website doesn’t exceed 100 MB and hosting companies know that very well, so to make their offer more fancy and appealing, they told you that you will get unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage but in fact that is not the case. When your bandwidth and/or storage exceed a certain limited they will simply down your website to encourage you to opt for higher packages.
Limited Vs Unlimited
I will suggest you to opt for limited bandwidth and storage plans. As for unlimited storage and bandwidth there would be enormous amount of websites on a single server and the resource management would not be efficient enough to treat all websites equally. There could be a chance that your neighbors will use the precious resources due to programming advantages or something and causing poor performance for your website. In case of limited bandwidth and storage, the resource management is very efficient and resources are been equally divided among all websites so, that will increase your website’s performance.
99 % Uptime Guaranteed:
The most common term used in hosting adverts is “99 % uptime guaranteed”. It is as fake as any other glitter you may think is gold. Let me tell you a hidden truth, if you ever calculate the difference between 99 to 99.9 % of a year it would be three days. Yes, three days. If they are saying 99 % uptime guaranteed then that means your website could be down for any of three days in a year. So, be careful don’t let them fool of you with their fancy claims.
See also: Mobile Game and Software Development
How to choose a payment plan for hosting:
Mostly people will suggest you for yearly plan, but if you are setting up a website for first time and don’t have any previous experience I will recommend you to opt for monthly plan. In case of monthly plan you can easily change your web host without losing much, but in case of yearly plan you will have to give up the whole fee you paid if you got issues with your hosting in first months. Web hosting providers usually make people fool by offering bundles of their services and add-ons, always look twice on what they are offering you and uncheck all unwanted add-ons. So, be careful while making payments for your web hosting plan.
Does geographical location of a server matters?
Well, the simplest answer is yes, the geological location of a server matters in terms of website’s performance and SEO. The geological location of a server matters a lot more when it comes in Regional SEO and localized websites. Google mostly use geological location to assess the location of the business itself. Here, if you want a cheap hosting service, you can choose from American based web hosting providers, most of the major and top leading hosting providers have their server located in America.
See also: Search Engine Optimization
But what, if your lives in Australia and want to start a local business website? Then I will suggest you to get hosting from an Australian based web hosting provider company. As if server located far distant from the location of your audience, it will increase load time which is highly considered in terms of SEO and not only by Google, but all other major search engines monitor your load time to assess the quality and authority of your website. So, for regional and localized websites I will suggest you to opt for local companies, who really have their servers in your area (country).
Web Hosting Features and Technicalities:
Here are some of the must have features and technical functionalities your web hosting service must provide.
- Hosting must have a handsome amount of storage space and bandwidth (if not for unlimited) + easy future expansion plans
- Are they providing PHP, MySQL, Cron Jobs, Dreamviewer, Control Panel, GoLive and Flash options?
- Is your hosting offers auto-responder, mail-forwarding, POP3, IMAP, SMTP and other functionalities for Emails?
- What website tools are they offering for websites, blogs, CMS and forums?
- Are they offering SSL? The secure socket layer (SSL) is critical for eCommerce websites, it usually used when credit card transactions and secure data transmission involves.
- The most important factor is backup and recovery. Are they offering you an auto-backup and recovery facility in case of emergency?
See also: Content Management System
Hosting Server Operating System:
There are two major server end operating systems in web hosting, Linux and Windows. Linux based servers are the best for almost all types of websites and considered to be more secure than Windows based servers. But if your website have applications that require .Net or are in Microsoft Programming Languages (completely or partially) than it is highly recommended to use Microsoft Windows based server for optimum performance and smooth functionality.
If you can easily done above analysis than you don’t need to read this portion, but if you are still confused than I will suggest you to go for a free hosting only and only if you have very limited audience for your blog otherwise opt for shared hosting for your blog or small website. For corporate websites, eCommerce, classified websites, educational and organizational portals only dedicated servers are recommended.
For small and local businesses and blogs use shared hosting in case of limited audience, but if you have high traffic and heavy content than go for virtual dedicated server hosting. Still confused? Okay, don’t worry just use the below comment box and I will analyze your website and will suggest you hosting that fits best according to your requirements. Feel free to ask anything. Connect with us on Google +, Facebook or Twitter.
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