If you are looking into getting the services of a web hosting company, there are a lot of things that you should consider. There are hundreds of companies available out there and you might pick the wrong one if you don’t consider your options carefully. Actually, there is no wrong company just unsuitable ones. Every company offers different specialties, so you should pick one that will suit your needs.
It might be difficult to choose especially if it is your first time making a website and getting a web host. There are things you should look into. There is the price, the type of server they offer, the user interface, technical aspects and features.
In this article, we will talk about the top features that should be present from a hosting company. You will learn how to compare the bandwidth, speed and storage features of different web hosting firms. And you will also learn the importance of being able to upgrade your web host at a later date.
Speed is the amount of time it takes for your website to load. To have a quality website, your web host speed should be fast. Additionally, a slow loading page will discourage your possible viewers from staying on your site.
The speed, though, do not rely solely on your web hosting service. There are other factors that can contribute to a slow loading speed. They include browser compatibility, application and software compatibility, file size and types.
But the best web hosting services will play an important role in speeding up your website speed. So here are some things that you should consider when looking into the advertised speed of a hosting company.
- Detailed statistics of their server hardware. If you could get your hands on the statistics of the company’s hardware, the better. But if not the important thing to know is that the company owns their own equipment and not just borrowing or using somebody else’s things. If they have their own hardware, chances are their speed would be better.
- Solid State Drives or SSD. This is an improvement over the old hard disk because the speed of this is much faster. It is also nonvolatile, so it can retain the data even if power outages occur.
- Web hosting agencies have data centers where they store their server. The closer the data center is to your visitors, the faster the speed will be. If your target audience is located in one place only, then pick a host that has their data center in that place. If your visitors are located in different places, then pick a hosting company with data centers in scattered places.
- Content Delivery Network or CDN. A CDN is a system of servers or networks that delivers web contents to users based on their location. If a hosting company is partnered with a CDN, it will have a very positive effect on the speed. Read reviews of web hosting companies to know which companies have partnered up with CDNs.
Bandwidth is the number of data that is being transferred from the site to the visitor. For example, if you watch a video in a site, there is a corresponding bandwidth size for that. If you view pictures and images, there is also bandwidth. The bandwidth is measured in a period of time, most common is monthly.
There are website hosting companies that offer unlimited bandwidth but there is no such thing. Sooner or later your bandwidth allowance will run out. Companies offer this feature because they do not really think that a site can consume unlimited bandwidth.
If you are just starting out and do not have a loyal following yet, you can use the unlimited bandwidth companies offer. But be sure to ask them what the limit is. If your site receives a lot of views and interaction, then you should be more specific about the amount of bandwidth that you will need. Don’t settle for those offering unlimited bandwidth, it’s better to stick to companies offering a specific number of bandwidth.
Storage is what you need to store your files for your website. There are also hosting companies that offer unlimited storage because they are under the assumption that you won’t be able to consume all that unlimited storage. So it would be better to just go for a web hosting service that offers a specific size of storage.
If your site is a simple one with mostly texts and a few images and media, then a small amount of storage will do. A hosting company that offers 2-4 GB of space will be enough. If you need to upload a lot of space consuming files, then you need to do more research on companies that offer a large storage. You can read reviews of web hosting services to know how much real storage some companies offer.
If you will upload a lot of videos, it is better to use the YouTube platform for it. Spending a lot of money on storage is kind of a waste. There are platforms that are better suited if you plan to upload a lot of media.
When you start a website, it has the possibility to grow into big proportions. You could start from 10 viewers a month and grown into a hundred thousand viewers a month. That is very possible especially if you market your website. You could use social media marketing to boost views on your website. There is also email marketing to get more viewers and increase web traffic.
The possibility for growth is why upgrade and scalability of your web host is a needed feature. In the event that your client base grows, you would need more speed, more bandwidth and more storage space. It would be easier if you could just upgrade your current plan rather than transferring the whole website to another web host.
You can ask the hosting company how easy it is to upgrade with their system. Another question would be how much more will you pay and will there be cancellation or upgrade fees.
Technology is how you website is run. Is it running on PHP applications? Sites on WordPress are an example of a PHP application website. Other examples include Joomla, Drupal, Zen Cart, MediaWiki and Magento. If you are using these sites then choosing a web host based on technology will be no problem. These sites are compatible with most web hosts.
On the other hand if you are using applications run on more unique platforms like Ruby on Rails and MondoDB, choosing a web host might be harder. Not all web hosts are compatible with these two applications.
If you will only need a simple website then WordPress will already be suitable for you. No need to go for more sophisticated applications. The simpler the application, the simpler it is to look for a web host. The price also probably won’t be too steep. Unless you are experienced in web development, it would be recommended to stick with the simple and easy stuff.
Access refers to the control panel of the web host. What you would like to look at here is the ease of use. Again, if you are just starting out, it would be best to go for the best web hosting services that offer easy to use control panels. It would be difficult and time consuming if you have to learn how to use a control panel.
Another way you should check access is how easy to access your web host account. Some hosting companies make it hard to have your admin account accessed. How will you know about ease of access? You could ask the company through their support system or you could read reviews of web hosting services.
File Transfer Protocol of FTP access should also be present. This is what you will use to upload files to your site. Secure Shell Access or SSH is another thing that would be nice if present. This is for controlling the server. Although not necessary it would be better if you still have this option and control.
Lastly, a top feature that web hosting companies should have is a top notch customer care system. If you have no idea how a web host works, you will have a lot of questions and troubleshooting. Who better to ask than the company themselves?
If you plan to only use a web host for your blog or a personal website, then you don’t need to invest in a company with the best customer support. However if it is for business, it would be better that this area is covered.
A web hosting company with a 24/7 call line is the better option than those that only offer customer support during business hours. There might be outages at midnight and if they only offer 8-5 support, how will they help you during those times.
Looking for a web hosting company to host your new website? Check out reviews and rankings at CrowdReviews.com to know the most suitable companies.
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