If you are planning to get a new website and wondering what kind of web hosting to choose, we will guide you through the basic web hosting checklist that can save you time and money.
While choosing a web hosting company, it is very important to consider whether you are looking for a free hosting or you are willing to spend a little money and get the best deal for your dollar.
In the event of free web hosting, you need to be prepared to sacrifice some important web server features and web server space and/or be willing to host web ads on your website. If you are starting a simple informational website with just a couple of web pages and no dynamic content, you may be able to either host your website on one of the blogging sites like Blogger or WordPress (without having your domain name www.yoursite.com; rather having a unique subdomain similar to yoursite.wordpress.com or yoursite.blogger.com) or take advantage of free web hosting from GoDaddy or some other web hosting company and allow for free banner ads appear on top of your website content.
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In the event of paid web hosting, there is a number of web hosting features that need to be considered. The first item that needs to be decided is whether you need a shared web hosting or (virtual) dedicated server. In this article we will only cover shared web hosting option, as this is the most common type of web hosting for small businesses.
Here is a checklist of items to decide on while choosing your web hosting company:
1. Web hosting cost
The market price for web hosting these days is about $6/month. If you do some shopping online, you can find some great bargains or specials that run as low as $3-4/month. ArtDriver recommends www.FatCow.com web hosting company because of their low price (current special goes for $3.57/month), business philosophy and variety of features that they offer - $50 Google Ads credit, $25 Yahoo Search credit and a bunch of scripting add-ons. Plus almost everything is UNLIMITED!
2. Amount of web space
Most of simple websites (5-10 web pages) can run effectively by having 15Mb of web server space. If you are not planning to host a large number of images or media files on your server, 15Mb of space will do as a minimum. However, most of the web hosting companies are offering at least 1Gb of web server space, so you can be sure that you are not going to have a problem with that.
3. Type of web hosting (Linux or Windows) and databases
Depending on the programming language of your website (PHP or .Net or anything else), it is important to double check with your web hosting company whether their web server supports your website scripting language. Another important thing to consider is whether (and what kind) you need a database(s) setup. All content management websites require a database setup so please look into this before buying your web hosting space.
4. Server speed, bandwidth allotment and server location
These three characteristics are important for usability and search engine optimization. It is self-explanatory that the higher the server speed is (check out the hardware of your web hosting server that you are buying to make sure it has enough RAM and good processor) the better off you and your users are while visiting your site. You can run a quick speed test of your web hosting network by going to START > RUN > TYPE IN COMMAND and PRESS "ENTER" > THEN TYPE IN "PING webhostdomainname.com" . Wait until the command is executed and then check the number of the average ping. A number averaging around 80 is fine. Anything over 100 is not good. In terms of the server location, it is recommended to use a web server located in the area where you plan to market your products or services (Google tends to pay attention to the geographic location of your website). In addition, you always sleep better knowing that your web hosting company is located nearby (or at least in the same time zone) and you can give them a call or even stop by their office.
5. Customer support and web hosting control panel
Being able to get good technical support is very important! Try contacting a web hosting company by phone (instead of using email or chat support) to make sure your call is getting answered in the manner you expect. Only after that, make your final decision and commit. Another very important item is to make sure that your web hosting company provides you with a control panel to manage your website. Check out web hosting companies sites and look for the demo menu link, which normally shows how the control panel looks like, and you can decide whether it works for you.
6. Email capability and other web applications / scripts
Some other relevant things to consider while choosing your web hosting company are email options and script add-ons that you can easily install on your website (blog, forum, shopping cart, guest book, etc.). For the email option, ask if the email is included in the price and how many email boxes you can use as well as whether you can connect your email to your Outlook or iPhone via POP3 or IMAP servers.
Oleksiy is the Founder of ArtDriver. He oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert on selected projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends. In his spare time, Oleksiy enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family.