Six Basic Steps in Choosing the Perfect Web Hosting Service
Step 1: Pick a Host that offers 99% Guaranteed Uptime and High Speed Access
Look for a web host that offers a minimum uptime of 99%. In addition, make sure that the web hosting provides a prorated refund or discount in the event that it doesn’t meet its guaranteed uptime rate.
In addition to having a site that’s 99% functional all the time, you need to pick a host that offers you a website that’s easy and fast to access. You can test the speed of a host’s network to your location in your own PC. On your own computer, click start >> run. Then, type in “command”, enter, and then type in “ping hostdomainname.com”. Find the average ping. The lower the number, the better speed the host offers.
Step 2: Pick a Host that offers Good Bandwidth Rates and Policies
Most new sites that don’t have videos or music on their websites typically use less than 3GB bandwidth per month. Considering this traffic rate, there is really no need for you to get more than 10GB of bandwidth if your site is not a news or information resource or if your site will not showcase tons of video ads.
However, it is important to note that you may want to implement changes to your website overtime because your traffic requirements may grow. As such, you need to check the bandwidth limit policies of your host. You need to know the additional fees you’ll incur once you go over the allowed bandwidth. You should also know if the fees will be made based on the actual usage or if you will be prompted to prepay for potential overage.
Step 3: Pick a Host that offers Adequate Disk Space
Majority of websites won’t use more than 5GB space. Most new sites – provided that they won’t display videos or music – won’t even need more than 20MB of web space. So, stray away from web hosting services that will tempt you with 100GB or unlimited disk space offers. You are unlikely to use that space so do not overbuy.
However, make sure that you leave room for growth. Get enough space because moving web hosting can be quite difficult. If you want a company website with a simple blog and you don’t plan on posting lots of videos and music, 10GB would be a lot more than enough.
Step 4: Pick a Host with Unix-based systems and Linux-Apache Servers
The only reason why you might want to choose a Windows server is if you need to write and use ASP programs. Otherwise, opt for feature-laden Unix systems.
Unix-based web hosting services running on Apache server (Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris) are generally cheaper to avail and are easier to operate. These servers are also more stable and more secure than Windows servers. In addition, there are more free Open Source applications such as (ecommerce applications, forum applications, blog applications, etc.) that you can add for sites on Linux servers compared to those on Windows. Having a site on a Unix-based server also gives you more freedom to configure important settings on your site on your own with regards to error pages, image access and protection, IP addresses of site visitors, and more.
Step 5: Pick a Host that provides Autoresponders, Domain Name e-Mails, and Pop Mailboxes
When you have your own site for your brand or business, using an email with your domain name ([email protected]) will make you seem more professional and reputable. That is why it is best to go with a web hosting that lets you set up several domain name email addresses, so that mail can be forwarded to your current email address, or placed into a mailbox on your own web hosting account.
In addition to domain email addresses, pick a web hosting that provides autoresponders (this feature lets you reply to an email message sender with a preset message). Autoresponders can help you stay in touch with your past customers and potential clients who will visit your website.
Step 6: Pick a Host with 24/7 Technical Support
Make sure your web hosting service has a technical support group that will answer customer queries and attend to hosting issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even on weekends and public holidays.
When you find a web host that says it offers 24/7 support, do test them out before you avail of their service. Try emailing them on weekends or on holidays and find out how long it will take for them to respond. Of course, the faster they respond, the better. Apart from a speedy response, you also need to check if the people who provide technical support are really competent and are well aware of their services.