How to Choose a Website Hosting Company
There are plenty of different website hosting companies to choose from, which can sometimes make it a bit of a difficult decision. You, as a business owner or private individual need to decide which is the best to furnish your needs, after all, your business may very well depend on the success of your website and though we all like a little good old VFM, value for money, it’s also true that the cheapest is not necessarily the best option.
What is Web Hosting?
That’s a good question. How can you decide who will do the best job if you don’t know what the job is in the first place. OK, well, basically it’s the space you rent on a server where you store the files of your website, making them accessible to the rest of the world via the World Wide Web, they’re not just in cyber-space you know, well, they are kind of, but anyway . . .You can choose to either rent or purchase space on different types of web servers, a Windows Server, or a Linux Server for example, depending really on the type of website you are going to store on their server.
Features To Look For in a Web Hosting Company
The world can be so confusing when you first start out, particularly the world of web hosting companies, so it’s important that you know which features to look out for when choosing a web hosting company.
- Space – this is important for starters, you need to know how much web space you’ll be able to have. The amount of space you need really depends on what sort of website you have, or are planning on having. You might find it worth paying a bit more for extra space if necessary. Some web hosting companies offer unlimited space but do read the small print – does this mean that they have a fair usage policy or can you really have unlimited space?
- Bandwidth – kind of goes hand in hand with space, but bandwidth is something which, interestingly, many web hosting companies are a little vague about even when you ask. This regulates the amount of data which visitors to your website will be able to upload or download from the site. Every time your website gets a visitor it nibbles a little bit of your bandwidth, so if your website is really busy (which of course you want it to be) and has loads of traffic, you could run out of bandwidth in no time at all. This means that the web hosting company might start to charge you extra (sneaky devils) or, even worse, disable your website. If your website has images and video streaming that will take up lots of your bandwidth, but a more static “brochure” type with just a couple of pages doesn’t need half as much. Check out how much bandwidth the web hosting company is offering.
- Support – everybody needs a little help from time to time, especially in the beginning. Does the website hosting company offer free support, is it available 24/7, do they have a freephone number? Make sure that if you do have a problem, you’re happy that they’ll sort it out for you satisfactorily.
- Email – email services are a vitally important part of your business, how else do you expect your potential clients to contact you from your website? Check out the email features which are on offer from each web hosting company, how much space you’ll have in your “in-box” etc or whether you’ll be charged extra per email. Some web hosting companies offer email packages (a bit like cell phone texts and minutes). Check out the details, it’s an important one.
- Reliability – what do you do if you’re searching for something and the first website you click onto is down? You go to another one don’t you? Aaaaahh, once a client, or potential client has found another supplier you could have lost them forever. It’s important that you choose a reliable web hosting company for your website. It’s a good idea to read feedbacks and reviews from previous customers to see whether there have been problems with reliability, if the server keeps on going down your business could well follow.
- Security – this is a big concern for any online business, especially if you have an e-commerce site with a “buy it now” button. People are becoming twitchy about buying online and you need to make sure that the hosting company has adequate security measures in place to protect the servers from being corrupted or hacked into. They should also do regular backups and give you the option of backing up your files from your own control panel.