The Nitty Gritty of Choosing a Website Hosting Company

If you have a website or would like a website you’re going to need a website hosting company. The good news is there are tons out there to choose from. The bad news is you’re going to have to learn a little bit about web hosting to be able to choose the right one for you. That is what we are going to discuss in this article, to help you choose the right web host for your company/personal website.

What is a web host company?

A web host provides the service that allows you to store the information that makes up your website. A web host stores your website’s information on a web server. Each time you type a web address into your browser , the browser asks for your website’s information from the web hosts server and then the browser displays it on your screen. Basically, if you don’t have a web host or your own server, you don’t have a website. Some ISP’s (Internet Service provider) provides web space but, this is not the type of web hosing we will be discussing.

Types of hosting plans

The next thing you are going to need to know is that there are different types of hosting that is available to you. There is virtual / shared hosting. What that means is that the web host company hosts more than one account on that server. There is also dedicated which basically means you would get your own server. Another type (which is not as common as the first two) is VPS (Virtual Private Server) and what it is, is ” virtual ” servers on the actual server and the user can add different modules within their server. The user can also allocate how much CPU usage or memory easy module gets. Most users will generally only need shared hosting unless you have a large website with over 5,000 visitors per day and large scripts. If that is the case you will need dedicated hosting.

Types of Operating Systems

There are three different types of operating systems for servers. There is Linux, Unix and of course Windows. Just because your computer is a PC doesn’t mean you have to opt for Windows web hosting. The operating system you use on your desktop has little to do with your choice of web hosts. As long as you understand how to use your FTP or web publishing software, your can use either operating system.

When it comes to Web hosting, Linux has for some time, been widely considered the best Operating System for Web servers. It’s typically found to be the most reliable, stable and efficient system. If your website, like most web sites, is what might be termed “brochure-ware” then Linux servers are ideal. A web site housed on a Linux operating system will have very high up-time and very low downtime.

If you intend to create your website using ASP, FrontPage, the .NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MSSQL, or any of the other Microsoft proprietary technologies then you probably need to use a Windows host. All other languages are able to be hosted on either platforms. Basically, unless you are specifically using features that are unique to one platform or another your time will be much better spent looking for a really good quality host than a really good quality server.

Email

If you have your own site, you would probably want to have email addresses at your own domain, like you@yourdomain.com. Does the host provide this with the package? Does it allow you to have a catch-all email account that allows any_e-mail@yourdomain.com to wind up being routed to you? Will you have the option to send auto responders for your e-mail accounts? Can you retrieve your mail with your email software? Can it be automatically forwarded to your current email address? Can you check your e-mail on the web? These are questions that you should ask when searching for the right web host.

Down time

This is extremely important. A website that is frequently down will lose a lot of visitors. If someone finds your site on the search engine, and clicks on it to find it us unavailable, they will simply shop somewhere else. Slow access is also very frustrating for visitors. How do you know if a web host is reliable or fast? The best way to find information about a web hosting company is to search the net. Once you have decided on a web host to check out, typetheir name in Google. As you look through the results, you will see that some of the pages that come up are actually reviews of that company. Now look at the review websites to see what everyone else is saying about potential web hosting companies. Remember to take reviews with a grain of salt. As reviews can usually be posted by anyone anonymously and you can’t please everyone all the time!

Traffic or Data transfer

Data transfer is the amount of bytes transferred from your website to visitors when they browse your website. Always look for details on how much traffic the package allows. To give you a rough idea of the typical traffic requirements of a website, most new websites are likely use less than 3GB of bandwidth per month. Your traffic requirements will grow over time, as your website becomes larger and more popular. You will need to check to see if you will automatically be charged for going over your bandwidth limit or are you expected to pre-pay for it. Personally, with my web host I have 30 GBs of data transfer and I host 7 domains and one sub-domains. I currently only use 750 MBs /month. My websites have a total of 30, 000 visits per month and have about 2 million hits/month.

Price

Unfortunately price is always a factor. You should realize that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best. Your best bet would be to go with a web host that is neither cheap nor expensive but, in between.

Technical support

Does the web host company’s technical support function 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year around? Make sure you get a response for the web host company quickly not just the next day. Another thing to check is that the phone number they provide actually is answered by a real person. This I know from personal experience. Make sure it is not an automated system that eventually ends with an answer machine that asks you to leave your name and number. Besides speed of responses, check to see if they are technically competent. You wouldn’t want to sign up for a host that is run by kids. Would you?

How To Understand Website Hosting

Whether you’re a growing business planning on starting a website business or just a website programmer looking for a good hosting account, its a good idea to learn how web hosting works to ensure that your website launch goes smoothly.

There are many website hosting companies on the internet, and all of them offer a different list of services for different types of websites. Here are some of the common features that you’ll see on most web hosts and how to decipher them.

Website Space: Website space is the actual location of where your website files and images reside. Your HTML web pages and even your web programming pages will be stored at this location. Some web hosts offer 100MB and others offer up to 10,000MB or more.

If your company’s website only uses up five to seven pages then even 100mb might be too much space because almost all average web pages take up very little space.

If your website is content based and requires tons of images, text, articles, videos, then you should ensure that your host has more then 100mb of web space. Many times though web space will not be a major factor when searching for a web host. Most hosts will provide you with a lot web space for the average website.

Bandwidth / Traffic / Monthly Transfer: Bandwidth is how much information can be transferred from your website.

Think of it this way. If you have 1 web page which takes up 1mb and you’re monthly bandwidth limit is 100mb. This means that once 100 people visit your website, then your bandwidth limit will be maxed out. You will not have any bandwidth available until the next month. Most of the time though website hosts offer monthly bandwidth limits of 3,000 MB or 10,000 MB. Don’t worry about bandwidth because 99 percent of your web pages won’t take up 1mb.

Once you start generating thousands of visitors monthly and see your bandwidth increase then you may have to pay additional fee for that month for the extra bandwidth, and consider upgrading your hosting account. As with website space bandwidth should not be an issue when searching for a web host because most will provide you with adequate bandwidth for your website.

Website Programming Language: If you have features like Comments Form – to email comments directly from visitors to online email account, Newsletter Opt-in for your visitors or any other dynamic features then you need to have support for a web programming language. There are several web programming languages. To find out which one you need for your website ask your website development team and find out. They might already know which programming language they plan on using for your website. Common Web Programming languages include PHP, Net and CFML.

Web Programming language will be a big factor when searching for a web host because each firm will offer a different combination of support for web programming languages, so pick carefully.

Database: If your website needs to store visitor’s email address, name and other important information, or keep a catalog of all your products then you will need to use a database. Some of the most common databases that are widely used include Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Access. Almost all hosting plans will provide support for at least one of these databases. As for web programming, you need to ask your website development team which database they plan to use.

Domain Hosting: Most of the time though a website hosting company will allow you to host one domain name such as a com, or net, but some website hosts support hosting for several website name. This is a great feature because this allows you to host multiple websites on one host, and manage everything from a convenient place. The downside is that you will have to share your website space, your bandwidth, and maybe even several other features with your other website. If you’re goal is to have more then one website then it’s a good idea to find out exactly how many domains your web host allows on your account.

Email: Email should not be an issue when searching for a web host. Many web hosting firms support some type of email account which allows you to have an email address with your website name: sales at yourwebsitename or something like that. Remember the amount of website space you use for your email may be limited to your overall website account, so if possible delete large and unwanted emails.

Customer Support: Support won’t be a factor until it becomes one. This is why its a good idea to speak with a hosting staff and see how they respond. Great customer service will become a very important factor, and usually up to your website firm that will be working with them.

So how do you decide which web host is right for you?

A good method is to first find out which of these website hosting is more important for you. If your website offers business training videos that takes up a lot of bandwidth then you should find a website host that can provide you a lot of bandwidth unless you’d rather wait until it turns into a bottleneck. Videos often take up hundreds if not thousand times more bandwidth then regular webpage and in this case your first priority during your search should be to ensure that your host includes adequate bandwidth. If you find a host that you like and if bandwidth does turn into an issue then make sure that the hosting firm allows the ability to upgrade your hosting services. Be prepared and make sure to find out the expenses for the upgraded plan.

Once you find a good host try hosting your website on a monthly basis instead of the long term discounted plans. Just like other companies, firms will offer lower price to motivate you to buy long term contracts. There’s nothing wrong with having a long term contract, but it’s not worth it if you decide you don’t like this host, or if you find a better host.

If you’re still not sure which host to sign up with then just ask you webmaster. They can recommend web hosts or offer to host your website with them. You will also see website hosts provide you with additional features such as ecommerce functionality, website statistics, easy to use control panel software such as Plesk, and other great features and software programs that can help you manage and create a great website.

Dedicated Server

If none of those plans sound right or if you plan on creating a gateway type website, with tons of content, images, videos, and if you want to be able to install your own custom software then there’s another option for you, a dedicated server. With a dedicated server you can install your own software, support for your own choice of programming languages, and as the title suggests it is dedicated for your website or websites depending on what you need. The cost is usually 8 to 10 times more then your average web host, but it allows you more control and provide you more ways to customize it. And if you plan on hosting dozens of websites then you should consider using a dedicated server.

The Basics of Website Hosting and the Options Available

 

Website hosting is a form of Internet hosting service, which enables people and businesses to make their own Web page or website accessible through the Internet. It is provided by companies that may lease a space on their server and offer Internet connectivity via their data center.

Furthermore, website hosting services may also offer Internet connectivity and data center space for other company’s servers to be placed in their data center. This is referred as colocation.

The basics of hosting services include small-scale file hosting as well as Web page hosting, where a Web interface or a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is used for the uploading of files. These are sent to the Internet with little changes or even without modifications at all. This particular service can be offered to you by some Internet service providers (ISPs).

You may also get website hosting services from other providers, who can offer both business website hosting and personal website hosting. Business web hosting, in particular, is more costly compared to a personal web hosting, which can be free or more affordable and is sometimes run by advertising.

If you wish to simply resort to a single webpage hosting, you may still benefit from it particularly if you are running a personal website. However, if you want to expand your website into something more complex, then you might need a more complete package, which already includes application development platforms, such as ASP.NET, Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, Java and PHP, as well as database support.

A more comprehensive hosting service provides your consumers to install scripts for applications, such as content management and forums. In addition, if you are running your business via the World Wide Web, then you might also want to include a Security Socket Layer (SSL) onto your website.

A hosting service may also offer a control panel or an interface so that scripts can be installed and the Web server can be managed as well as include important features such as e-mail.

Hosting Uptime

The web server uptime is the amount of time that the hosting service is accessible through the World Wide Web. Though almost all web hosting providers declare that their goal is to have an uptime 99.9% most of the time (this can reach more or less 45 minutes of downtime each month), there are still unforeseen circumstances when the server is deliberately restarted because of planned hosting environment maintenance.

In addition, there are times when an unplanned maintenance is performed leading to the break of the providers initial uptime assurance. You do not need to worry though since most hosting services bind accessibility and uptime into their Service Level Agreement (SLA), which may offer decreased rates or refunds once the web hosting promise is broken.

Web Hosting Services on the Internet

Internet service providers are not the only ones who need to have a constant uptime of website hosting services because there are also many big companies that require a computer to be constantly connected to the Internet just so they could send files like emails and other important documents to other websites.

Furthermore, these companies may also utilize the computer to become their very own website hosting provider, allowing them to supply pertinent information about their services and products to potential clients, who may want to order online.

  1. Home Server – This is commonly a solo device that is usually situated in a personal office and can provide web hosting to more than one website using a consumer-grade broadband connection. Home servers can be comprised of old personal computers or customized devices. There are Internet service providers, however, that try to block home servers. Hence, you must create an account with a reliable and dynamic DNS service.
  2. Virtual Dedicated Server – This separates server resources into virtual servers, wherein resources may be apportioned in such a way that the primary hardware is not completely directed. This web hosting allows you to have your own access of your virtual space, yet you are accountable for patching and maintaining the server.
  3. Free Website Hosting Service – This may only feature a limited number of services compared to the completeness of a paid website hosting. It is usually sustained by advertisements.
  4. Dedicated Web Hosting Service – This is the type, which allows you to get your very own server, and provides you the ability to control this, yet you do not own the Web server at all.
  5. Shared Web Hosting Service – Your website is put on the same server along with hundreds or even thousands of other websites. It is possible that you share CPU, RAM and other types of server resources.
  6. Colocation Web Hosting Service – This is just like the dedicated hosting service, only that it is the most expensive and powerful because you get to own the collocation server.
  7. Clustered Hosting – This provides numerous servers to perform web hosting for the same content for an improved resource usage. It is ideally recommended for making an accessible web hosting solution or a high-availability dedicated web hosting. It may divide database hosting form web serving ability.
  8. Reseller Web Hosting – This enables you to become a web host yourself. You could operate, for single domains, under any type of web hosting, basing on whom they are associated with as a web hosting provider.
  9. Cloud Hosting – This is one of the latest types of web hosting program that enables you to experience a steadfast, accessible and dominant web hosting depending on the utility billing and the clustered load-balanced servers.
  10. Grid Hosting – This distributed web hosting is comprised of numerous nodes and a server cluster that operates similar to a grid.
  11. Managed Hosting Service – Though this allows you to obtain your very own Web server, you do not have the authority to take complete control over because the web hosting provider can only assure the service quality if it does not permit you to change the server and eventually make possible configuration problems. The good thing is you are permitted to handle your data through remote management tools like File Transfer Protocol. You do not own the website hosting server, yet it may be leased to you.