Many people are clueless when it comes to choosing a web hosting service for an e-business. They end up with something that doesn’t meet their expectations. Or, they choose a plan that is much more powerful—and expensive, than their website requirements. Aside from the technology, people also require different levels of customer service depending on their needs. So, how do you choose a web hosting service? Try these tips to get started.
Understand Different Types of Web Hosting Accounts
If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably already chosen a domain name. You’re ready to get a web hosting account, but you’re not sure how to get started. The first thing to do is to understand your platform options.
It’s helpful to know the difference between hosting plans, and that begins with the way the resources are structured and organized. Generally speaking, there are three types of web hosting plans: shared, dedicated, and VPS.
Shared web hosting plans are leased on servers along with dozens, or hundreds of other websites on the same machine. As the name suggests, the resources are shared. This means you’re sharing processing power, memory, bandwidth, and disk space. This is usually fine for low budget projects where traffic and database use isn’t too heavy. But you have to be careful. If you are unlucky, you could end up on a server with resource-intensive websites. This means that your website could run slow, resulting in a poor customer experience and low conversion.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is dedicated web hosting. You rent an entire server to host your website. All of the memory, bandwidth, and other resources are yours alone. This is great for big websites that require a lot of power. This can be a tough choice, however, as you can choose between a bare bones set-up and a powerhouse. Most start-ups don’t need dedicated hosting, but if money is no object then it can be a good choice. Although you can add some resources over time, dedicated servers are not very customizable once they’re set up.
Virtual Private Servers, or VPS hosting plans are often considered the best of both worlds. Like shared hosting plans, you can start out with a very low budget for your plan. And, like dedicated hosting plans, you have resources specific to your website that nobody else can share. Although multiple websites are on the same machines (or virtual machines), the server software allocates resources such that you don’t have to worry about other websites slowing down your business. In addition, VPS can be thought of as a form of cloud computing, meaning that it is easy to add resources as you need them.
Understand Managed vs. Unmanaged Hosting
Customer support is an important part of any business. When it comes to web hosting, you’ll want to check into the ticketing system and other methods of communication. Do they pick up the phone when you call? How fast do they reply to emails and chat messages? These are helpful indicators, but there’s, even more, to consider when setting up your web hosting account. Generally, servers are either managed or unmanaged. An unmanaged server requires much more technical knowledge on the part of a customer. If you’ve hired a skilled web administrator, then this would be a good choice, since it gives you the most flexibility. However, most people will do best with a fully managed server. You won’t need to worry as much about security, upgrades, and other issues. However, server management comes with a cost, so be prepared.
Determine your Technical Requirements
Make a list of all of the technical requirements for your website. If you’re just starting out, then your requirements are probably pretty basic, unless you anticipate a huge surge of traffic due to your marketing tactics. Some requirements are easy. For example, today, all websites require SSL. Other requirements are harder, like projecting how much processing power you will need.
The platform you choose for your website also matters. If you’re on WordPress or a similar platform, then you’ll need a database, but you won’t need a ton of RAM or processing power unless you’ve got some unusual plugins on your website. However, if you’re on an eCommerce platform like Magento, or if you expect to have a very popular website, then you will likely need a highly optimized server to run your software. Whatever the case, you want to make sure you have a fast website and good uptime. If your website goes offline, then you’ll lose traffic, sales, and customers. So make sure you’re working with a reputable company with a strong infrastructure.
Read Hosting Company Reviews Online
It’s impossible to know which web hosting companies are reputable and which ones provide a poor service without some help. A great place to start is with online reviews. For example, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether Hostgator was a good company unless you read some Hostgator reviews. In doing so, you would learn about the good and bad things that people report about their service. In addition to reading professional reviews, you should also look up individual customer reviews. Make sure you skip around and look at both positive and negative feedback. Every company will have both, and you’ll need to compare and contrast results to make an informed decision.
Determine your Budget
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of web hosting services based on your requirements, it’s time to decide on your budget. It’s best to keep this decision until you know your options. If you select a budget before knowing your requirements, you could shoot too high, or too low. On the other hand, if you do a good job with your research, then you’ll have clear parameters on a reasonable budget that meets your needs. You can then make a good decision on how best to spend your money.
Make a Decision
You’ve got all of the right information. You’ve done your research, and you’ve set your budget. It’s time to make a decision on which hosting company you want to use! At this point, you’re likely to make a good decision regardless of which company you choose. So, go with your gut and pick one that matches your needs and your budget. Then, get your website online and push forward with your company.
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