There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing a web host that won’t charge the earth but won’t leave you lacking vital facilities. If you’re launching a new website for your business and have never had to look for a web hosting company before, you may have found yourself wondering what kind of hosting you need, how much you will need to pay and which companies can serve your needs the most effectively.
Many people have run into big problems after failing to opt for a suitable host or hosting package. If you do opt for the wrong product, you may spend more than you can afford on features you don’t need, or could alienate visitors with low-quality web features and downtime, resulting in lost sales.
What is the purpose?
One of the first things you should think about when looking for a web hosting package is purpose. If you plan to make money from your site, your objectives may be different to those of someone setting up a site for fun. If you are launching a personal website, it could be worth opting for a free hosting package supported by advertising. However, if you’re running a business site it’s extremely wise to opt for paid hosting, as these services are designed specifically for use by people who need a site for commercial reasons.
Various options available
If you’re a small business, domain hosting, standard paid hosting and colocation services could be for you. With domain hosting, you only need to pay for your site’s domain name and will be able to host the actual site where you like. If you’re on a low budget, this could be ideal, especially if you’ve been thinking about using WordPress or a similar platform. If you opt for colocation, you’ll be sharing bandwidth and server space with another business, but you can get better bandwidth speeds for less than you would pay if you were hosting the server. Standard paid shared hosting services enable you to pay for specific amount of space, and there are various options available to you when it comes to personalising the service.
The price you’ll pay for web hosting services can vary greatly. Some businesses only pay a few pounds per month, whilst others find themselves forking out thousands for the best packages available. The size of your business and your budget can help you identify which services are right for you. Although you may be tempted to go for the cheapest web hosting package available to you, you may come to regret taking this step later, especially if you need to take the costly step of changing hosts later.
Your minimum requirements
At the very least, you should expect e-mail and webmail services, web stats support, updated PHP, up-to-date MySQL, auto script installations and adequate technical support as well as 99.9% uptime, no matter how little you’re paying. You are unlikely to get extremely valuable support services like malware scanning, private SSL certifications and server backups if you go for the cheapest options available to you. Nonetheless, it is possible to get a quality set-up in place without costs running into the hundreds or thousands each month if you need a hosting package for a small business.
Your hosting provider must offer Plesk, cPanel, ispCP or ISPConfig. These programmes enable you to get your site up and running and customise it even if you have little or no knowledge of FTP or file transfer protocol. FTP access will be a must if you wish to upload files to your website from your computer including images and photos. You should expect the ability to add e-mail addresses featuring your name and domain name, which will help you create a reliable, professional image, and if you are selling products or services through your website the hosting company will need to offer https:// to give your customers the confidence to buy from you. It’s also essential that you get access to site statistics so you can assess the performance of your site and work out where your strengths and weaknesses lie as well as what your customers are interested in. Without this, you will find it much harder to make the changes you need to make your site more efficient.
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