With the internet dominating many aspects of modern life, it’s become more important than ever for startups to have an online presence. Customers these days expect to find everything they need and more via a quick Google search, so if you want your company to flourish it’s essential to set up your website – and that usually involves contacting a web designer (for a professional look) and finding a suitable web host.
What is web hosting?
Essentially, a web hosting service makes it possible for individuals and companies to publish their site to the outside world via the net – and there are many options available. Your website will be hosted on a web servers, and you may be sharing resources with other websites. With that said, there are three general types of web hosting services:
- Shared hosting: Resources are shared among different users.
- Dedicated hosting: Resources are dedicated to you only.
- VPS hosting: Resources are provisioned for you as if you are in a dedicated hosting plan, but you still share them with other users.
While some web hosting companies offer the basics at an extremely cheap rate, others provide more sophisticating hosting options with 100TB Bare Metal Servers offering everything from dedicated network ports and a wide selection of global locations to easy management and all the network bandwidth you could dream of.
How to choose the right web host
When it comes to choosing the right web host, there are several key things to consider. Firstly, you must know your own basic needs, which you can find out by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What kind of website are you building?
Choosing a web hosting provider follows a common logic: You don’t need a ultra-powerful web servers to host your 5-page company profile website. On the other hand, running a full-fledge website that uses plenty of resources, like an eCommerce site, online forum, multi-user training site, video hosting site, etc. on a basic shared hosting account will render your site inaccessible due to excessive resource usage.
Choose wisely, depending on your type of website.
2. Do you need a specific programming language like Ruby on Rail?
A basic web hosting provider can accommodate simple pages built in HTML and PHP. But if you are developing an application based on a specific web app development framework, like Ruby on Rail, you need to choose a web servers that can accommodate Ruby language programming.
You also need to consider the operating systems of your web hosting services. Windows web hosting, for example, can run web pages written in ASP programming language; Linux web hosting, for example, can host pages created in PHP.
3. Do you need a specific applications to run like Microsoft SQL server?
Related to #1, you may need to run specific applications to power your website. As mentioned in #2, only specific web server operating system that can handle a particular set of apps. Windows hosting offers Parallels Plesk Panel, IIS, Microsoft SQL Server and a variety of other features. Linux hosting offers MySQL, PHP, Perl and other features.
4. How much traffic do you want to attract?
More traffics mean more resources needed to display the pages of your website. With that said, you should decide whether your site will be well-trafficked or not. Using the example in #1, if you run a 5-page company profile website, you don’t need much resources, thus shared hosting plans should suit you well. However, if you run a multi-page website, such as online magazine, you may want to attract more visitors, thus a VPS or dedicated hosting should be more appropriate for you.
Of course, you should consider a web hosting provider that is flexible enough to accommodate your growth. Some web hosting providers are not as flexible as others, so make sure that your hosting provider can accommodate upgrade/downgrade easily.
Once you’ve answered these few basic questions, you can look for web hosts that offer the services you desire. Next – the all-important question: What’s your budget?
For newbies, or those on a budget, a shared hosting account might be an option as it’s cheap and easy to maintain, but if you have cash to splash or are looking for an advanced service it’s worth checking out dedicated services, or upgrading as your site gets bigger. But here’s one thing to consider: Cheap doesn’t always mean a good thing; always choose affordable hosting over cheap hosting.
You should also make sure that the web host you opt for is operating on a powerful server and offers stable internet connections 24 hours a day. The internet doesn’t sleep so in this modern era there’s absolutely no need for your website to be disconnected at certain times or for you to keep being booted offline due to poor connections. This could lose you money, so it’s worth monitoring server uptime using these tools, to ensure you get what you’re paying for.
Please note that there is no such thing as 100% uptime guarantee – even if some hosting providers do offer such claim, be sure you check the small prints. 99.99% uptime guarantee is sufficient, as there will be some rare downtime, such as server outages, server upgrades, and force majeure. Please manage your expectations accordingly.
There’s plenty to think about when choosing a web host, but find the right company and your site should run without any glitches. Ask around, read reviews and try the services whenever possible. Remember, moving web hosting providers is a real hassle and often costly – choose wisely.