How to Choose the Right Web Hosting Company

You have made up your mind that you will buy a domain name (or several) and take out web hosting from a website hosting provider.

First some considerations about the domain name(s)

Domain names do not really have anything to do with web hosting and can be registered independently from the hosting package. There are advantages if you have domain name and hosting separate. For example, if the hosting company you selected fails to provide a good service, all you need to do is find a better website hosting company and change the domain name settings. If you have domain name and hosting with the same company and the company ceases trading, the last thing they think about is your hosting or domain name. By having them separate, you are lowering the risk.

Disadvantages of registering the domain name with your hosting company

Many website hosting companies offer to register domain names on your behalf. You think that your domain name is with your hosting company, when, in fact, they register it through some third party registrar for you. You then receive an invoice in 2 years time from a company you never heard of, ignore it, and in the worst case lose your domain name.

Furthermore, in many cases, you will not get access to your domain name details nor will you be given a domain name control panel. Why do you need a domain name control panel? You need to be able to update the contact information for your domain name(s). If you move house for example and do not update you domain name details and for some reason you need to change registrar etc. (or because your web hosting company ceased trading), you are in danger of losing your domain name because you cannot prove any longer that you are the owner of a certain domain name.

Also, a domain name control panel allows you to change email forwarding, web forwarding, and most importantly, the domain name servers, as well as some other settings. Check out 123-Reg if you want to find out more about that.

Larger hosting providers

Have a good look around online and check out different providers. There are many large hosting companies out there such as 1and1. The advantage of registering with a large hosting company is that they have hardly any downtime and their servers will be fast and up-to-date with the latest spam protection etc. Website hosting can be costly though if you register with a large web hosting company and if you want any additional services, you will have to pay for them. Support can be an issue too – you usually have to fight through hundreds of “Frequently Asked Questions” before you are allowed to send an email to their support team. You might also have to call a Premium Rate phone number if you need to speak to someone urgently. These rates can rate from £0.50 to £2 per minute (!) or even more. In most cases, you will receive good support, but in some cases you might be put through to an unexperienced person who has to speak to their supervisor to double-check things frequently – and all that at a premium rate!

The biggest problem with large web hosting providers is that if you miss the annual payment and do not react to their payment reminders – they will remove your website, your account, without further notice. In some cases, there will not be any chance to recover your website. With a large web hosting company, your website is just a number in a very large pool of websites. If they lose your custom, so what!

Web hosting with a smaller web hosting provider

If you find a reliable smaller web hosting provider, chances are that you will receive a personal service, and support questions are answered with a lot more detail and a lot quicker. Most likely, you can call a UK landline or an 0845 or 0870 number which is a lot cheaper than £2 per minute. In some cases, you might be able to receive a reply to your support question – which you sent on a Saturday evening – that same night.

If you miss your payment with a smaller web hosting company, they will most likely call you personally and remind you on your late payment. They are keen to keep you as a customer and will probably not remove your account and your website immediately.

Web Statistics

Ask the web hosting company if they provide extensive website statistics. You want to know how many visitors have accessed your website, what search terms they used to find your website in Google and other search engines, how many visitors you have per day, on a certain day of the week, and so on. Please also ask if you can have access to the website log files. You might think that adding a website hit counter will provide enough information, but that is actually the most inaccurate method of counting your website visitors – and apart from that they look tacky and unprofessional. Your web hosting company should provide statistics that are at least as comprehensive as Webalizer and if statistics are important for you, you need to have access to your log files which can then be analyzed with statistics analysing software (such as Surfstats).

E-Mail issues to watch out for

Before you take out sign up with a hosting company, ask them if they provide SMTP/POP3 which you need to set up email accounts. If you want one or several e-mail addresses with your website – such as [email protected] – the web hosting company needs to provide SMTP/POP3 setup. Some web hosting companies only allow you to receive emails sent to [email protected], but they will not allow you to use these e-mail addresses to send e-mails from. They will simply argue that you can use your Internet Service Provider E-Mail address – such as [email protected] This does not look professional at all, and you should avoid web hosting companies that do not provide SMTP/POP3 service.

Backups

Check with your web hosting company how often backups are made. Usually, backups are made on a daily basis. If you have a large online store on your website and the server room at the web hosting premises is on fire, you will lose all your work if they do not back up their web server files. So please check if they have a backup routine in place.

Free Webhosting with your internet service provider

Please do not use this! Your internet service provider company provide an internet connection. That is what they specialise in. They sometimes “throw in” free web hosting for up to 100 MB or even more. They normally do not provide SMTP / POP3 setup for the sending / receiving of emails related to your website (such as [email protected] ), nor will they provide databases, server scripting language support and such like. Usually, you can only upload websites developed in pure HTML, and in some cases you will not be able to use FTP software for uploading your files and managing your files on the web server. Your business website will probably use some sort of server-side scripting language – such as ASP, PHP etc. and maybe use a database such as MySQL. If your website is with your Internet Service Provider, the support for this service can be poor and the account can sometimes not be upgraded to include server-side scripting languages, and/or databases.

Web Hosting Costs

Web Hosting costs can vary greatly. You can take out web hosting for as little as £15 per year, or you can get web hosting, including 5 email addresses, 100 MB web space (which is a lot for a small business presence) for as little as £30 per year (check out Plugsocket). If you buy a web design magazine, you will see many adverts from bigger web hosting companies. Check out their prices, their policies, and maybe give them a call – you will find out how long it takes until your call is answered.

Do not jump in because it is cheap, and conversely, do not think the service must be great because it is expensive. Check out what is on offer and then make an informed decision.

What Is a Web Hosting Company And How Do I Select One?

If you want to create a website, then you will need a web hosting company. Here are the basics on what a web hosting company is, the different types of web hosting available, and how to select the one that is right for you!

What Is Web Hosting Company?

A web hosting company is a business that provides 24 hour a day services associated with making a website available online. When someone tries to view your website, or any other website online, they are essentially connecting to a web server that is providing access to the page. Some companies provide free, basic services, while others only host through paid accounts. Each of those companies though will have different tools, options, and limits to their services and may offer very different pricing models as well.

Hosting Options

There are basically two different options to consider if you want a website hosted. The first is to host it yourself, but this requires that you have a web server, a constant connection to the internet, sufficient bandwidth availability, and the skills and know-how to run your own site. Since most people do not have the equipment or tools to host a website themselves, the secondary option is to find a web hosting company to do it for you!

Selecting a Web Hosting Company

Because the options for such companies are so abundant, begin by asking yourself these five questions:

  • What is the purpose of my website? Do you want to create a personal site that is just going to be shared with family and friends or will it be a commercial or business site that will be designed to make a profit? The answer to this question will help you decide if you will need security for accepting payments and if the website is worth paying a higher hosting fee for. It will also help you determine whether the hosting company offers what you need, such as blogging options, shopping cart and checkout features, and video hosting.
  • Do I need my website built for me? Most these companies, even the ones who offer free hosting packages, have some kind of website building software that is included. However, many are designed to only function with the hosting company that provides them. This means that if you switch to another web host, you will lose your site. Additionally, some site building programs are limited in what they can do, and may not offer everything you need for a full business site.
  • Do I need email for my website? If you are running a business, you will likely want a hosting company that provides email options. These may include things like email addresses that are customizable, auto response emails, pop mailboxes, etc.
  • Do I want analytics and tracking? Some hosting companies will offer more access to information about who is visiting your page than others. If you are running a business website, these tools can be of great value to help you target your customers. For personal websites, these may not be necessary at all.
  • How much space do I need? Space is a huge factor your selection of this type of service provider. Space is determined by things like number of pages you need as well as media content (like photos, videos, or sound clips). An average website typically only uses 50MB, and rarely will a site need more than 5GB. If you are unsure of space, consider selecting a hosting company that allows you to change your hosting package if your needs change.

Once you have answered the above questions, its time to go shopping, taking some time to carefully review what each web hosting company offers. Check reviews as well, to see what current and past customers have said about each service provider in terms of reliability, customer service, and packages.

Need some resources to get started? Here are 2 companies that we recommend!

Hostgator

Bluehost

Web Hosting Plans – How to Choose the Right One

What activities will you need to do so you can design and begin a site from scratch? You will need to create the home page, pick interactivities, select color codes for every web page and interactivity, pick a theme which binds all the web pages, estimate data storage and evaluate web hosting plans, and then figure out a strategy to advertise the site and make it popular. A simple way to prioritize such activities and parcel out your efforts per the set priorities is to place them on a project plan in a pyramid.

Activities such as comparing web hosting plans must be at the top of your pyramid of project plans. The basic theory is simple, because no web site can exist unless you have found a web hosting service that is suitable, and will fit your needs. The higher the number of dependencies your activity has, the higher it should be on your project plan pyramid.

Although established service providers give reliable web hosting services with a minimum downtime, new entrants into such a business give web hosting plans at giveaway prices. The choice between the two categories of web hosting plans must closely match the reason for you creating the site.

Professional websites may get vast numbers of visitors daily and therefore need far more space than is normally offered by the smaller web hosting firms. On the other hand, if you are an entrepreneur but your pages have not been designed for sales but rather to increase people’s awareness of your company’s presence on the internet, you might prefer to spend as little as possible for web hosting.

Some small islands in the pacific provide free domain names as well as web hosting plans. Yes, their free services are available for commercial web sites in addition to amateur web sites. Are you wondering why do these island nations provide free web hosting?

Simply put, these countries are so tiny that lots of people don’t recognize them. In order to increase their prominence, they began to release web domains for free, and to offer free web hosting. With these two strategies, these tiny island countries began to attract important web traffic, and to become more visible on the world stage.