Author: Woody Longacre
The astronomical popularity of the internet and the development of millions of websites have created a huge demand for web hosting services. This demand for hosting services has led to thousands of web hosting companies being created to meet the demand. These companies offer a wide range of options in terms of price, features, disk space, customer support, and other aspects of web hosting. With so many options available, it is a major effort to determine which web hosting company offers the best hosting plan for your website. In order to choose a web hosting provider, there are a number of things to consider.
The first thing to consider is the feature set being offered. However before you spend any time feature shopping you need to have an idea of how much disk space you need for now and the future and how much traffic you expect to receive. You should also know if you need databases, how many and whether or not you will be building more websites in the future. These are difficult questions to answer especially if you are new to website development. To help make selecting a web hosting service plan easier the following is a rule of thumb guide that can lend some direction for making an educated choice.
Small websites (1 – 5 pages) with low traffic volume, no need for a database and limited future expansion can use free and the cheapest hosting service.
Sites that have 6 – 50 pages, use graphics/videos, a database or two, a few forms, with a moderate level of traffic should opt for the next higher level of hosting services. This generally ranges from $3.49 to $8.99 per month and is typically the most appropriate hosting plan for most sites. If you are planning on adding more websites in the future make sure the hosting plan will allow multiple domains.
Sites that have 6 – 50 pages or more use lots of graphics/videos, lots of content, high level of user interaction, maybe offering lots of downloaded information with a high level of traffic, and plans to add more sites in the future, need to select a higher level of hosting. You will find this level of hosting will be in the range of $6.99 to $17.99 per month.
For sites on the upper level of capabilities which include perhaps 100’s of pages with heavy use of graphics/videos, content, interactivity, high level of security, extreme level of traffic (lucky you), plans for future growth, need to select the highest level of hosting services. For sites like this, generally you need dedicated services. Pricing ranges from $14.99 to $99.00 per month.
Once you figure out what level of hosting service you’ll need you can begin your shopping. The things that are of most importance are the amount disk space, bandwidth, databases, and domains you can get for current and future needs. In general you want to get the largest set of features you can. There is a broad range of features offered by the various hosting companies but you’ll find that individual hosting plans are similar from company to company. So what is the difference maker from one company to another?
Perhaps the most important factor and the difference maker for selecting a hosting provider is customer support. There are many things that you have to know when managing a website, such as the uploading of files, domain management, DNS setup, Email setup and other misc. web operations. A good hosting provider will be able to give you customer phone support anytime of the day or night, and can reply to emails in 1 or 4 hours. The customer support team should be knowledgeable and supportive enough to help solve any problem that you may encounter. A good thing to do is call customer support of a few hosting companies and ask a few questions. See what kind of response you get. Were they readily available? Could they answer your basic questions? Here’s a good question to ask: Will there be any penalties for either upgrading or downgrading hosting features?
Some web hosting providers offer a wide selection of free add-on applications to allow additional functionality to be quickly and easily added to your site. This is a distinct advantage as this factor alone can make a significant difference in your success. The question here is will the customer support staff help you install new applications?
One more consideration before selecting a hosting provider is to evaluate whether or not the hosting provider can offer everything you might need to run a website. Besides the basic hosting plan, does the company offer Dedicated Servers, Dedicated IP’s, SSL’s, eMail Accounts, Domain Registration, Website Marketing Tools, Traffic Analysis Tools, eCommerce Support, Shopping Carts, Web Design Tools and Website Management Tools? You may never need these things but if you do it is far easier to integrate and manage these features if they are provided by one hosting provider.
Once you have carefully considered the above mentioned factors, you will be ready to select a web hosting provider for your website. A good place to end your web hosting shopping is at the Web Hosting Goods Store.
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