If you already have or you consider buying a domain name, maybe you already know that you will need a web hosting service for your domain name to be accessible online. This web hosting is in fact renting a computer or a part of it, which is always on and with a non-stop internet connection, where the pages of your website will rest, and this way, visitors from around the world can access them online. Choosing a proper web hosting package is crucial when it comes to online activities that a website will provide. From a direct approach, in general, the options you have when you must choose a web hosting service are: shared hosting and private server.
The second option address directly to advanced users which holds and run websites that needs a large amount of hardware and software resources, and a dedicated high speed internet connection. This option is not so cheap and is not accessible for everyone. However, the shared hosting options are available through many offers at very accessible prices, and many of these offers can successfully meet the requirements of a large amount of website types.
It’s good to know that there are also a lot of shared hosting offers, which, if you apply with before a little reading and research, they can easily hold back your future ascension and prosperity of your online activities, because, you may discover either that you have some limitations which can hold down your expansion, or, the hosting package can miss some features and options which you will highly need.
I will not write a classification about the various types of websites, online applications, and the suitable web hosting packages for each, but I will highlight some of the advantages you should follow and disadvantages you can avoid when you must choose a web hosting package.
Many of the offers today scream louder about providing “Unlimited” server space, in fact, this is just a selling technique used to drive in more customers to the hosting company. In reality, there is no unlimited space that you can use (it’s just a phrase well covered by a few sentences in the company’s Terms and Conditions) and you will not need such an amount.
If you can estimate how much space you need and you find that this is around a few hundreds Megabytes or a few Gigabytes, then surely you will not have any problems choosing one of these “unlimited space” offers, but, if you consider that you will need a few hundred Gigabytes or a few Terabytes (unlikely), then read carefully the Terms of the hosting package or try to contact the company and ask about what will be the real allocated space for you. You must understand that a shared hosting is exactly what it says, shared, and if one or a few individuals from the hosted customers will take over all of the system space and its resources, the other users will be left outside, and the hosting company will not allow that.
On the other side, even a hosting package with only 1 or 10 Gigabytes space can be enough if you consider that is all you will need for your website content, and you will not overpass that value (of course there is the upgrade option also).
Same as the “Web space” from above, the same thing apply with the hosting monthly traffic, meaning that someone may offer you unlimited monthly traffic, but remember that in reality there is a limit, a limit which anyway, the majority of website types may not reach. More exactly, if we talk about a few dozen gigabytes per month, everything can go well, but if your website traffic will highly increase, then you may receive a warning e-mail related with the traffic. In general, if you start with some medium sized websites, which at least at the moment will not create traffic related problems, then don’t worry.
The hosting companies which offer a specific amount of monthly traffic, 10 Gigabytes for example, at least they indicate from the start exactly what amount of traffic you have available, and if you estimate that your website / s will not reach this limit then you should be OK. And if you ever get closer to that limit, you can always choose a hosting plan with a higher amount of traffic by making an upgrade.
Number of external domains that you can host:
Usually, people who conduct online activities choose to evolve on many areas, and thus, they might have more than one domain. The hosting packages which offer the possibility to host more than one domain in the same account are very advantageous in this case. All the hosting resources will be divided between these extra hosted domains, and the user will save money and time. If you consider that you want to host more than one domain and you think that these will fit with the hosting limits, then you can choose a hosting package with the external domains add-on option, and the available number of add-on domains you will need.
In general, all the hosting packages have one or more available Mysql databases. The databases will be useful when instead of a simple plain HTML website you will install and run scripts and applications of various kinds. Three things that you must know about databases are: how many they are available, what is the maximum size they can have and how easy you can make a backup and a restoration. Usually, the bigger the database size the better, and also, if the hosting package has the PHPMyAdmin utility, you will be able to make backups, and restore them without problems.
Control panel / management interface:
Every hosting company has a control panel area for its customers, where some hosting settings can be changed, like e-mail, databases, redirections, scripts and other things, viewing the used traffic and space, and also monitoring of the website visitors number and their behavior. The control panels vary from company to company, some are easier to use than others, and is much better if, before buying a hosting package, you will preview the control panel to see if you can easily accommodate with it, and if will meet your requirements. Some hosting companies has this control panel preview option. My personal recommendation is cPanel interfaces, I had and I sill have a great user experience with this interface, but of course this is just my personal opinion.
Available scripts and applications:
With the majority of hosting packages comes a list of scripts and applications, which with a few clicks can be very easily installed on your domain. These scripts can be very useful for some users. These can be: blogging platforms, photo galleries, classifieds, guestbook, e-commerce platforms, discussion boards, mailing lists, site builders, chatting rooms and other PHP applications. Usually, in the hosting package details the available scripts are listed within the hosting features.
One important factor of the hosting packages is the server ability to maintain a viable and interruptible internet connection. If the server on which you are hosted with, happens to lose the internet connection, your website will be inaccessible, and your visitors will see an error page. Of course that these connection breaks are not wanted, these can bring customer loss, unsafe image, and can eat your search engine ranking points if the offline time is long enough. It’s good to know from the start if the company you wish to choose, has a positive and real reputation about the server uptime.
Every type of shared hosting package consist of one server which host many other customers that share the same system resources. This means that every customer has its own maximum piece of processor power that can use, in this way, the company is maintaining a balanced use for everybody, without lags or errors. And if you will use online applications that can use consistent and large system resources, it will be better to know from the beginning if a particularly hosting package can suit your needs and your website functionality, and if the hosting limitations are enough for you. Usually, a shared hosting company allow a processor power for every user of about 0,1% to 1%.
Even if you think that you can manage alone to set up and maintain every aspect of your hosting package, an unexpected problem my arise at anytime, and then you may really need the help of a technical support agent. That’s why is very important that a hosting company to offer a quality technical support service for its customers, fast and efficient. Make sure that the technical support personnel are available on time, and they show respect and interest to its members in help, by addressing a few testing questions.