In answer to your website hosting needs , here are a few guidelines that will help you in arriving at a decision.
Website hosting market is practically saturated and you can find many hosting service providers offering their services. It is not easy to determine which one is best as per your website hosting needs. So first it is important to know what your requirements are.
There are service providers who throw everything at you including the kitchen sink, all the extraordinary cheaper cost. Bear in mind that you will be inviting for trouble after falling into their trap. So think rationally over your requirements and then go for the plan most suitable for your needs from a reputable and reliable host.
The top most requirement in your website hosting search is uptime. Access to website should be trouble free and your website must remain up always. Professional hosts provide certain uptime guarantees. Ideal uptime lies between 99.5% and 99.9%. Important thing to note is that practically speaking it can’t be 100%, so if someone is claiming this, it is indeed misleading. Usually paid website hosting options give you good uptime guarantee, free website don’t make such claims. So if your website is up there on internet for professional purposes then your choice must be paid option.
2. Bandwidth or Data Transder
Data transfer is the data it needs to be transferred to and from your website during visitors activities like uploading or downloading a document or even viewing the page. Choose carefully here, because if your visitor base makes you cross this threshold your account can be suspended or you have to pay extra at the end of month to your host for the added bandwidth used. So if you are expecting or experiencing frequent going over the limit scenario then you must choose the plan accordingly or upgrade to other plan offered by the website hosting company. Free website claims made by certain website hosting companies are not true at all. As the hosting companies themselves have to pay for the bandwidth so how can they make such a generous offer to you? Aren’t they here to do business and make money? Of course they are here to make money, they make their based on two considerations. First they know an average website cannot possibly consume their offered bandwidth so by overselling they make the entire website share the same resources. Secondly these website hosting companies add certain clauses in their service policy or usage policy which initiates the suspension action on your account before you hit limit more than their expectations. So don’t decide just after watching someone making huge bandwidth claims, mostly the requirement of a website cannot go a single byte beyond 2 GB per month. If the site is intended for a lot of download upload activity specially of multimedia content then you may need extra space otherwise 2 GB is more than enough for you always.
3. Disk Space
Just like bandwidth you will hear huge claims about practically infinite or infinite website hosting space schemes. For average websites the space requirement is not more than 5 MB, that’s it. So you don’t actually need disk space in Giga bytes. So again don’t fall for the website hosting impostors claiming 100, 500, 1 GB, 2 GB web space as you hardly need 5 MB on a normal website. Even if the pages are many still as the average page size is small the amount of data cannot go beyond say 20 MB. So don’t base your decision on the web space offered by the website hosting company. Again if your website has a lot of multimedia data and has a lot of uploading downloading activity then space may be a major factor otherwise normal space offered by hosts is good enough for you. We wish your website grows to in vertical direction and becomes a top website, but the ground reality remains that you are not running Amazon, yahoo or hotmail.
4. Technical Support
See what kind of support plan is offered by the website hosting company. Check if they can provide multiple support options and 24 x 7 support. See how good the support technically is. If your website is for commercial purposes and not a personal just for fun kind of site then support is a serious issue. Otherwise you can live without it too.
5. Email Accounts
Purpose of having a website for some people is also to have their own email addresses. For instance firstname.lastname@example.org. Determine how many such accounts do you need for your company? Usually 10 is a good figure for a normal magnitude website. Normally the website hosting company provides about a thousand distinct email addresses which most certainly are enough. Still you need more then check with the host for additional plans.
6. CGI-BIN, Perl, PHP and MySQL DB
If you do not possess technical expertise yourself then consult your technical team if they are using php or Perl as programming language for coding. If they say yes, then you must chose the host supporting these language and DB.
7. Shopping Cart, Secure Service Layer
If your plan is to open a website with e-commerce facility to sale your products or services online then you have to consider a shopping cart application. See if your chosen cart is supported by your website hosting company, or see if host’s own provided cart is good enough to be used. SSL is needed to provide secure pages for your buyers to provided Credit card and personal information.
8. Servers & Operating System
There are several servers options available but they can be roughly categorized as Microsoft based windows solutions or open source like Linux or UNIX solutions. If your website has a lot of dependency on Microsoft products then you must chose Microsoft server like Windows 2000. Otherwise and more often than not your choice should be Linux or Unix based website hosting servers. It is also to be noted that if you are using Microsoft products like MS SQL server, MS ASP and choose Windows server environment, the licensing cost would be way too high as compare to open source website hosting solutions. That is why Microsoft monopoly over desktops environment is not replicated on server world, they are more into Unix, Linux system.
9. Sub-domains/ Multi Domain
If you have multiple websites of relatively small size and features and you are hosting them on different servers paying separate charges for each then sub domain or multiple domain is something that may interest you. You can have all your websites at single place meaning single payment per month by using sub or multi domains. There are many website hosting companies offering this kind of service such as Dot5hosting, StartLogic, GoDaddy etc, allowing you to host 5 to 10 websites under a single plan.
Cost is inarguably the most significant factor in people’s list. Remember that not all expensive website hosting companies are good neither the cheaper ones are bad. Otherwise there is no point of searching for good host. Mostly the website’s hosting cost proves cheaper in annual or longer plan as compare to the monthly plans. So if you want to save cost by opting for an annual to 2 year long plan then see what kind of money back guarantee the host is providing. Otherwise you’ll have to either stay with the website hosting company, or lose out on already paid money if you decide to switch host, if are not satisfied with the performance. Some major companies that are providing money back guarantee within their mentioned time are StartLogic, Dot5hosting.
11. Domain Name
See if the domain name is provided along with the host offered package or not? Mostly the domain name is made part of the plan for some additional payment each month in the plan. You can also purchase domain name separately and then redirect it to your host’s provided location. It is more appropriate if you purchase domain name yourself, because if you decide to change the websites hosting company, you have very less dependency on the current host. All you will be required is to update the domain name provider’s DB with the new location to point to new location after switching.
12. Website Hosting country
If you are a resident of some country other than United States then you may opt for selecting your own county’s local website hosting service provider. Being in the same country, you can interact with them easily, like making a call or paying a visit yourself to their office). Furthermore laws, rules & regulations applied are also same for both of the parties. You may also consider the local option if your service or product is limited to your country. However website hosting services of a host of USA carries certain pros of its on It opens the door for you on the biggest buying nation in the world, US citizens. This factor is even more important if your website is in English. Also in US market competition is so high that you get real value for our money. You can get cheaper prices not necessarily compromising on good support and other features.
So now all the factors are mentioned hopefully you are closer to reaching the conclusion with solid points now, than you ever had before. Remember you can never get all from one website hosting company. So try to identify the factors most important to you, you can’t live without them. Then identify good to have. Then eventually the ones you don’t need at all. Try to make best compromise, if compromise is what required for the job. You may compromise on certain factors like uptime if budget is your constraint, or reliability if your work is not of serious nature. You may not require any email addresses or providing SSL based pages is unnecessary as you are not selling anything online neither you are taking customer information otherwise. Similarly you can afford light websites hosting company support if your website is not doing business rather it is there just to express your hobbies online. So you can do the maths yourself as every person’s situation is different. However whatever your decision is, in the end we repeat you should never go for an extraordinarily cheap website hosting company as such hosts are nothing but fraud, you will lose your money and will not get enough visitor base due to constant pathetic performance of the server.