How To Choose A Good Web Host

It’s virtually impossible to say how many new websites are uploaded on a daily basis, but given the demand for web hosting, you have to imagine that the number is very high. It’s not everyone that is aware of the difference between a good web host and a bad web host. It’s not until they have paid that they realize that a feature they need to make their site work properly isn’t included in their hosting package, or requires that they pay more. Here are some things to look for when it comes to choosing a web host for your site:

  • Storage space – the average personal website uses less than 1 gigabyte of disk space, but if you are planning on expanding your site, or having one that includes a large number of media files, then you may want to give yourself some room to grow.
  • Bandwidth allowance – some web hosts, especially those which are free, place a severe limit on your bandwidth, which means that visitors may see nothing if you have exceeded your limit. Try to gauge what your traffic will be like, and pick your bandwidth accordingly.
  • Reliability and speed – the success of your website can often rely on the speed and reliability of the server that it is hosted on. It’s imperative to find a host that guarantees a minimum of 99.5% uptime.
  • Advertising – this is usually only an issue if you go with free webhosting, as those companies usually require your site to show a banner advertising their services.
  • Technical support – if you run across a web hosting company that does not offer technical support 24/7/365, then steer clear. There should always be someone available to take your call, no matter when problems strike.
  • FTP, PHP, Perl, SSI, .htaccess, SSH, MySQL, crontabs – you don’t have to know what all of those items are to understand that you need a host that has all of these. There will be times when you may need to add scripts etc. to your site, and not having all of these available may not make that possible.
  • Site security (SSL secure server) – this is especially important if you plan on selling products on your website, especially if you are going to be accepting credit cards.
  • Email, Autoresponders, POP3, Mail Forwarding – you can make your site seem much more professional by having an e-mail address that matches your domain name. That’s not enough though, and you want to be sure that your web host allows you to set up autoresponder return e-mails, and will also forward all correspondence to your main e-mail account.
  • Control panel – this is the area where you can control every element of your website quickly and easily. Web hosts that do not have a cPanel can become a logistical nightmare to keep under control.
  • Multiple Domain Hosting and Subdomains – this is essential if you are contemplating having multiple websites on the same server, or are even planning on selling web space. Unfortunately most local web hosts don’t allow for this.
  • Server (Window or Linux) – a Windows server is only required if you are running Active Server Pages (ASP), but if not rather opt for a Linux server which tends to be a little more stable.
  • Payment plans – many web hosts quote a price with an asterisk beside it, and that is because the amount they are showing is based on an annual contract. Check the exact rates for monthly, quarterly and annual hosting, as you could save money by paying for a long term service.
  • Resellers – there are many sites that are actually just reselling space on another companies server, and that could mean that you end up having difficulty getting good technical support, so be sure to order carefully.