What to Look For in a Web Hosting Company Hosting Top Reviews

What to Look For in a Web Hosting Company

What to Look For in a Web Hosting CompanyCompanies and individuals can by themselves create impressive web sites, but need web hosting services to launch their site on the Internet. Web hosting services offer adequate space, speed, and security measures required to keep your site running smoothly. For extra fee, web hosts even accommodate a growing site so business owners never run out of space as might happen if the site is launched on a personal computer. Web masters and designers should therefore select a web host very carefully only after studying their plans and services.Web hosting plans range from being totally free of cost to expensive dedicated subscriptions: Free Servers. As the name suggests, free servers do not cost a dime, but they also do not offer a lot providing limited space, software, bandwidth, and support. Quite often, they do not even ensure database usage or 24X7 availability. Generally, free servers do not allow you to use custom domain names thereby making your site sub-standard. Some free servers impose a size limitation on the files you upload forcing you to create smaller sized web pages and restricting you from uploading heavier web elements. Other free servers might restrict you from uploading files other than those saved as HTML, JPG, or GIF. Free servers generate their revenue by asking you to use their banners or a pop-up window with your web site. Banners of another company on your web site project a shabby unprofessional look and several people find pop-ups extremely annoying. Free servers are therefore, not a good option if you are into selling goods through your web site.One of the biggest disadvantages with using free servers is that some search engines do not index sites that lack proper custom domain names. Free servers are apt for personal homepages, charity organizations, or online business that are really in their infancy though eventually it would be profitable to move to a paid service that at least allows the usage of custom domain names. Shared Servers. For a small amount, shared servers provide better services than free servers. They offer more software, technical support, almost continuous uptime, and a better bandwidth. They are a better option for new businesses with limited monetary funds. Site owners get a better search engine ranking because shared servers allow subscribers to use custom domain names. Relatively slower speed and lack of the most extensive security measures attributed to hosting several sites are their only disadvantages. Dedicated Servers. All disadvantages of free and shared servers are taken care of by using dedicated servers, which make the corresponding plans quite expensive. Dedicated servers are ideal for established businesses, financially sound individuals, or organizations with tight security requirement. Aside from the financial background, server choice also depends on the objectives that one wants to achieve. Greater the success aspired, more dedicated are the servers required to ensure a smooth running web site and availability of extra features to support it.Other important factors to be considered when selecting a web host are: Web Site Size. An average web page is conventionally 2-50 Kb in size. Use this range to calculate the actual space required to host your site. Add to it the collective size of the images used in the site and the associated mailboxes. You need more space if the site uses a database to store customer information or process online transactions. Opt for a web host that provides ample server space to contain your site and support its growth. At the same time, do not fall for companies offering unlimited disk space or up to 500 MB space. Web hosts know that sites typically do not require this much space but try to cash in on your ignorance. Bandwidth. Calculate the required bandwidth by multiplying the number of pages and images used in the site with the number of visitors coming to your site every month. Bandwidth usage increases whenever a user goes through your site. A regular web hosting service providing a bandwidth of 1-5 GB every month should be enough for a small to mid-sized setup, which does not have too many transactions or other complicated operations.Be cautious of services that promise “unlimited bandwidth”. There is nothing called unlimited bandwidth and the services that promote this feature usually allow a lot of traffic to your web site but definitely not “unlimited”. It is therefore better to find out the maximum bandwidth allowed. Security Measures. All web hosting services offer the minimal security measures required to keep a site safe from viruses and hackers. However, if you have an online mall supporting online transactions and collection of credit card numbers along with shoppers’ other personal data, then increased security is imperative for your web site. You must then invest in a web hosting plan that employs the most advanced tools and technology to keep your site secure.In addition to the key factors discussed above, issues that can help you in selecting a suitable web host are: Web Host Reputation. Ask for references and look at some web sites that the company already hosts on its servers. If possible, find the number and type of clients they serve and talk to some of these clients to know their opinion about the hosting company. Ensure the hosting service you decide on is reliable, supportive and does what it says. Duration of Customer Service Availability. A company offering round the clock customer support will be more useful than a service promising support only during the regular working hours. Go through their web site and the accompanying help pages to check if they are detailed. See if they provide a toll-free telephone number to save their clients the additional cost of making a long distance phone call. Sometimes, web hosts advertise continuous support but fail to practice it. Check if somebody is actually available by contacting them at odd hours and on off days. Email them some queries to judge their responsiveness. Server Type Used. Usually, the type of server the web host uses is presumed to be not so important, but it can affect the cost of hosting plan. Web hosts that use UNIX-based Apache servers generally offer more options at an economical rate. With these servers, you exercise an increased control over your site being able to do activities such as blocking irrelevant IP addresses, customizing error messages, and protecting graphic images used in the web pages. However, if you use ASP in your web site there is no option but to use a Windows-based server, which are costlier and require you to contact the web host for everything. Access to FTP. Select a web host that allows you constant FTP service so you can upload your web files whenever you want to. Do not fall for cheaper plans with FTP usage restrictions. Availability of Performance Tracking Software. Once your site is on the Internet, you would also want to track its performance for which you require appropriate software that captures all the necessary data. Good web hosting companies usually offer a decent program to help you measure the success of your web site. Using your web host’s performance tracking program will also save you the trouble of dealing with several organizations in case you need troubleshooting assistance. Duration of Service Plan. Web hosting services offer monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and yearly plans. Typically, they offer attractive discounts or additional services on buying a longer duration plan. See if the additional services will be useful and purchase a plan only after assessing your requirement. Email Management. Opt for a web hosting plan that offers several email ids so you can generate common ids such as [email protected] or [email protected] adding to the professional image of a site. See if the web host will automatically forward your email to your personal or current mail account. Availability of Auto-responders – Along with sufficient numbers of email ids, a quality plan supports the facility of auto-responders, which allows web site owners to send pre-formatted emails in response to their clients’ mails. This helps webmasters acknowledge receipt of customer email and at the same time lets the customer know that somebody is working on their query/complaint. Services Reselling Web Host. Several web hosting companies are actually resellers of another parent company. The downside of working with resellers is that quite often they are unaware of business details and their working. Consequently, people using the services suffer. However, all resellers are not ignorant. When opting for a reseller web hosting service explore both the reselling agent as well as the parent company.Eventually, understand that no company can offer everything you need, even if there are no financial constraints. Besides, expensive web hosting plans do not necessarily equate to excellent services or features. However, it is for sure that little money will fetch you only limited options. Before deciding, check out multiple web hosting services and their plans. Study the market with respect to your needs and see which companies offer the best deals suitable to your web site requirement.Reader commentsComment on this article


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