What to Know When Selecting Hosting

With aWith a myriad of options to choose from, selecting a web hosting plan can really be frustrating and challenging at the same time. The web hosting industry is so big and many web host providers offer the same basic features. But deciding which plan to opt for simply boils down to your business needs, while also keeping in mind its long term potential.

Here are some things you need to know when selecting a hosting plan:

First off, familiarise yourself with the different types of web hosting plans.

Free Web Hosting – Providing zero-cost, free web hosting plans have many restrictions and rules, as well as limited capabilities in customising your site. This type of hosting plan is not recommendable for online businesses because of ads placed on web pages. Free hosting is only suitable for small personal websites that are not expected to gain a large audience. Any business-oriented website that has a regular flow of traffic should always choose a paid hosting service, where you have better control of the site and the ability to customise it.

Shared Hosting – Most commonly used and most economical web hosting service, shared hosting service uses a single server that hosts multiple websites. Each site is allotted an agreed amount of bandwidth, disk space, etc. While shared hosting is a cheaper way for businesses to establish web presence, it is usually insufficient for websites with high traffic.

Dedicated Hosting – Providing more flexibility and control, a dedicated host uses a single server that hosts only one website or several sites for a single client. Dedicated hosting means you don’t need to share system resources with other websites. Getting a dedicated hosting service is only advisable only after gaining a large volume of visitors for your websites. Although generally pricier, a dedicated host can be inexpensive than shared hosting for people with multiple websites.

Now, after learning the various types of web hosting plans, you have to determine some of the important factors to be considered when assessing the right web host for your needs.

Space and Bandwidth – Your space and bandwidth requirements will considerably depend on how huge or how heavy on graphics your website is, including the expected amount of traffic. Though a small website may only take up between 10-100 MB, if you consider expanding in the near future, it is best to choose a web hosting plan with ample web space. Bandwidth or data transfer is usually around 500 MB for most small to medium-sized sites. Depending on your website, you may need more or significantly less.

Speed and Uptime – Of course, you want a reliable website that does not lag or go down. It’s terrible to have visitors leave your site because it is not working or is too sluggish that they totally lose interest. An excellent web host has an uptime guarantee (at least 99.9%) and has the initiative to notify you any scheduled downtime or maintenance.

Scalability and Flexibility – What are the implications should you run out web space or consume up your bandwidth limit and need to upgrade to a more robust plan? Can you easily change packages if necessary—and without penalty? If so, then you can save more by starting off with a small low-priced package with peace of mind that you can upgrade anytime for free. With that, you should select a web hosting plan that enables you to upgrade if your site becomes in demand, and downgrade if you are not getting enough visitors.

Extra Services – Are there any additional services included in the plan, such as free scripts, web traffic statistics tool, shopping carts, free email accounts, web design help, and other features? These perks can come handy and are worth looking into. Nevertheless, avoid paying for something you don’t need.

Technical Assistance – Reliable customer service and technical support are a must when it comes to deciding on a web host. You want to make sure that if you encounter a problem, you can get help fast and hassle-free. So, you need to identify what types of help are provided, what the support hours are, and whether the support is free of charge. You’d be surprised to know that different web hosts offer anywhere from virtually no technical support and all the way up to free phone, email and chat support 24/7.

Price – Last but definitely not the least, is the price—the value for money. Keep in mind that the lowest priced-package is not always your best bet here. Verify if payment terms are monthly or annually, and if there is a contract. There are even some companies that offer great discounts if you sign up for a multi-year contract. To absolutely avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to read carefully the fine print before agreeing to sign up.