How to Choose a Web Host Server
Your web host server choice is a very important part of your preliminary decisions. If you really hope to see your website up 99.9% of the time, then you have to do some research to decide which web hosting company is appropriate for your business.
In the next few paragraphs, we will look at the basic information you should look for before setting out for a web hosting company to host your site.
Domain Name: A domain name is a sequence of letters and numbers which determine the address of your site. You can either get your domain name separate from the web hosting or together with your web hosting. Most web hosting companies’ gives a domain name free to all new clients. The next step is to make sure that the server you want to buy actually supports the kind of website your designer is building.
Websites are designed with HTML, ASP or PHP. Also, make sure that if your site is database driven, it supports either SQL, or MYSQL. These are programming languages used in website design and development. A good way to know whether the hosting company you want to use has these softwares installed is to look at their hosting features which is usually very visible on their website. Currently PHP is the best and most commonly used programming language for the web.
Shared (Virtual) Web Hosting Or Dedicated Server Hosting
Shared (or virtual) web hosting is the most fitting way of hosting for 99% of web sites. It means that a web hosting company will have one or more servers (computers constantly connected to the Internet that run a web server software such as Apache or IIS) that will be running multiple web sites (it will be shared). Unless a web site is exceptionally busy or requires a lot of bandwidth, this is the least expensive way to get a real web site.
You can still have your own IP address with virtual hosting and the site won’t look any different to users. Other options are dedicated, co-location, or doing it yourself web hosting. In those options you have the whole computer to yourself and you can do things like install your own software. This requires advanced knowledge in server management. The most important issue here is that, it is very expensive too. While shared hosting will only cast about $100 a year, dedicated servers will go for about $800 to $1000 yearly.
So if you are planning a site that will be extremely busy like yahoo, MySpace, Facebook etc., you will need a dedicated server. Make sure there will be no forced advertising on your site.
Some web hosting companies offer you a lot of free stuffs, like domain name, free email etc only to get bordered with unwanted and unrelated adverts on your site. Some deceive you and you end up finding out that you have to pay separately for a webmail installation on the server. I had a bad experience once with mister.net. They sell a domain name for $50 and promise you free web hosting. I later found out that I have to pay an extra $50 to a mysql account and another $50 for webmail. The server was virtually bare with just disk space and bandwidth. No software whatsoever was installed. If you find yourself in this situation it can be really frustrating especially that you will finally have to dump them for another one.
How Much Disk Space is on Offer?
Space is the amount of “stuff” you can put on your web site. Available space is usually listed in megabytes or gigabytes. HTML files are usually rather small (this file is about 25,000 bytes) but pictures and programs can get quite big. If you want to run a pictures website or video streaming website, you will need a web hosting that can provide enough disk space and monthly bandwidth. Your scripts, emails and stats will also take up space on your host.
Transfer is the amount of “stuff” that visitors to your site can download before you reach your monthly limit.
How do I pay for web hosting?
Some web hosting accepts just one type of payment method. It is good to select a web host that accepts at least up to three or four payment method. The reason is that, due to so much fraud online, these online payment merchants reviews their policies too frequently and Paypal for instance may limit your account just when you web hosting bill is due. You should be able to pay with alternative means. The methods of payment which my recommended web host companies accept are credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard and several others. The same amount will be charged to your account every month on the same day.
How reliable is their Server?
Uptime is the percentage of time that a web site is working. For example, if some host has an uptime average of 99.86%, this means that your site will be down for a total about 1 hour each month. The best web hosting servers are able to average 99.9%. Many of them don’t even have a down time, but can not claim 100% uptime so need to be realistic so they claim 99.9%.
Do I need Stats?
You don’t want to spend extra to keep tract of your website visitors’ stats and other stats. Cpanel X comes with webilizer software that allows you to monitor your site traffic. You will need this especially if you plan to sell advertisement on your website as you will need it to prove that your site is the ideal place for them to advertise.
If will also help to know where people are visiting your site from allowing you to know whether your marketing is working or not. It’s very good practice to monitor the amount of unique visitors or sessions that your website receives on a daily, weekly or monthly bases. The stats also tell you how long a visitor stays on your web page and how many pages he visits. This will give you some clues to how you might need to improve or modify your website. So my advice is whatever web hosting you choose should be able to offer this service alongside.
Cheaper Is Not Better
Finally, I won’t recommend that you should assume all cheap web hosting is bad because most are actually very good. The only thing is that, there are levels of support you may not receive because of the cheap plan you are using. Some companies for example offers instant chat support to advanced plan customers only. While others have to make do with email support only.