In one of our previous blog posts, we shared with you a few tips for choosing great domain names. Now is the time to discuss what is important for choosing the right web site hosting company
Most of us will consider price as the most important factor, but bear in mind, price should be an important factor but not the deciding one. A good hosting company may charge a bit higher, depending on what it is offering.
The best way is to list down your required features and then compare prices.
Uptime is the time a server remains online without going down.
See what is your host’s uptime. 99% uptime may look good, but if you calculate, the 1% downtime per year is 29 hours.
Some hosting companies write incorrect uptime on their web sites. It is recommended to Google for something like “my hosting company ’s down”, where “my hosting company” is the name of your hosting company.
If your hosting company has been down in the past, you will have quite a bit of idea about it by doing so.
Also check that company’s Twitter account. If their servers have gone down in the past, the Twitter followers must have discussed about it.
3. Your Requirement and a Control Panel
See if the company is offering what you require. Like if you want to host a PHP web site, see if it has the required PHP features plus the correct PHP and MySQL versions. If features like GDLib, CuRL, etc. are required, also check for them.
Similar is the suggestion for Windows ASP.Net hosting.
It is also important to make sure that you are getting a control panel to manage your hosting account. Cpanel, Plesk, Ensim, Webmin are just a few to name here. Without a control panel, it is almost impossible to manage the hosting unless you are a terminal expert.
4. Disk space
See how much disk space you need and how much the hosting company has to offer.
Nowadays, good hosting companies offer unlimited disk space and you can easily find one such host.
Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from and to your server. Estimate the required bandwidth for your web site and select the right host. There are several good companies offering unlimited bandwidth.
6. Multiple Domain Hosting
You may or may not want to host multiple domains on your hosting account, but nowadays many hosting companies offer this as a standard feature. If you can find this feature in your hosting account, this would be an added benefit.
7. Daily Backups
This feature is very important. Make sure your hosting company takes daily backs, even if you have to pay a little extra for this feature, pay for it.
Your web site may never crash and your data may never get corrupt, but if this happens, this is very painful and immensely tense. You can then not do anything.
Some companies write this as a standard feature but when you need to restore your site, the hosting company does not have a backup copy.
So when getting a hosting account, verify from different sources if the company really does practice daily backups.
Different hosting companies have different policies regarding charging the customers for restoring the site from backup. Some do it free of cost, while others charge for it. Both policies are correct, but if you can find a free restoration deal, it would be a nice catch.
8. Email Sending Quota
Sometimes your company or your web site requires to send high volume of emails. When it comes to sending high volume of emails, whether solicited of unsolicited, hosting companies are very strict about it. This is because any such act from your side which falls under the definition of the word ‘spam’ can even lead to the closure of the hosting company.
If you require to send several hundred emails per hour, check with your hosting company first. Usually the allowed quota is 200 to 500 outgoing emails per hour but it varies from company to company.
If you want to send higher volume of emails, you will need to purchase a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a dedicated hosting account. Using VPS and dedicated hosting accounts, you can send high volume of emails but under a shared hosting account you cannot.
Understanding the difference between shared, VPS and dedicated hosting account can be a bit complex, but to give you a flavor, each one is shortly described below.
A shared hosting account is a physical machine hosting multiple domains for various customers.
A VPS or Virtual Private Server is a dedicated virtual machine created and configured only for you on a physical server. One physical server can have multiple VPS accounts.
A dedicated hosting account is a physical machine, fully dedicated to you.
The hosting company of your choice must also offer 24/7 support. If it offers a live chat, try to find out the wait time for chat. You can afford to have delayed response from the sales team but once you get started, instant 24/7 support tech support becomes very important. 24/7 live chat should be your first preference.
10. Contribution to Environment
This may or may not matter to you but there are some hosting companies offering environment friendly data centers with very small carbon footprint. Play your part as well and go for a certified green hosting company.
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