So you need hosting for that great website you have planned. You did the obligatory Google search and found out there are a gazillion web hosting companies. They all are offering what you need (web hosting) and you found the price varies from free to sky’s the limit. You also found that there are a ton of features some of which you have no idea of what they are.
So now what you thought was going to be an easy task has just turned into a semester of study at your local junior college. Well believe me I know what you’re going through. Through trail, error and mistake I have learned that not all web hosting is created equal. While there area ton of features and hosting plans offered by web hosting companies, there are five basics factors you will want to make sure you are getting when selecting your hosting provider.
Be sure you are getting ample databases to support and expand your website. All blogging, forum, and Websites that use any form of dynamic data applications or capture user data require a database to function. Unfortunately, most shared hosting packages only offer one to five databases; this can limit your ability to expand and may not be enough to carry out the planned functions of your website.
The minimum number of databases you should look for is ten. Granted you may not need that many but if you do they will be readily available without spending additional money to add on databases. Usually the higher priced hosing plans offer more databases but you should not have to opt for a more expensive plan to get 10 databases.
2. Multiple Domains
Web hosting companies usually limit the number of domains you can serve from your hosting plan. Some hosting plans, usually the lower cost or free plans, only allow one domain name per plan. If you are for sure you will only have one website then this will be of no consequence. However, if you plan on having multiple websites then you should look for a hosting plan that offers the ability to host multiple sites from a single hosting plan. A hosting plan that offers at least 5 domains is a minimum.
You should be aware that the resources of your hosting server will be shared by all domains assigned to the web hosting plan. Make sure the plan you get provides ample disk space, bandwidth and databases to keep multiple sites up and running.
3. Developer Support
Developer support is the litmus test for any Web host. You may be starting with a simple website but as time goes on many times you may want to add additional functionality or features to your site. Also when adding new websites to your hosting plan additional capabilities may be needed. This is where a hosting provider can easily make or break your plans. If your web hosting provider is limited on developer languages or web application offerings you may have to find a new hosting provider. This is something you do not want to do.
Having multiple hosting accounts or hosting providers is a sure way for confusion and frustration. Most hosting companies offer various language support and misc. application support but why not get it all. Yes there are hosting providers that offer everything you will ever need and it doesn’t cost any more. No matter what hosting package you are considering, make sure you are getting the most support possible. Below is a list of the most popular website development items available: • PHP• MySQL• Ruby on Rails• Python• CGI• Perl• Java• ASP.net• Coldfusion• Frontpage Server Extensions• Content Managment Tools• eCommerce Solutions• Project Management Tools• Blogs• Message Board/Forum Tools• Photo Gallery Tools• Admin Tools• Misc. web-site add-ons
4. Customer support
Working late at night on that website, or perhaps on the weekend (Sunday Night)? Got a deadline to get a site up and running but just ran into a problem. Perhaps you just discovered you need an additional web app or database. It can be very frustrating and sometimes costly if you cannot get customer support from your hosting company when you need it (on your schedule). Always look for a web hosting service provider that provides 24×7 customer support. That is 24 hours a day 7 days a week and I don’t mean just Email support. Email support is important and should be part of the customer support package but what you really want is phone support.
Many times problems or issues need to be discussed to reach a quick resolution, passing Emails around can takes days or sometimes weeks. Your number one tool for support should be the phone, make sure your web hosting company is awake and working when you are. You will want to make sure there is an on-line knowledgebase as well. Not only is a knowledgebase good for answeering questions, it is also very usefull for use as a learning tool.
5. Server Uptime
Your website should be up and running 24×7. However things do happen in the real world that can sometimes cause a website to go down. In spite of real world problems, your web hosting provider should offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. With today’s internet technology there are ways to insure websites stay functional virtually every minute of every day. Don’t settle for a hosting company that cannot guarantee your website is up and running around the clock. Web hosting is the backbone of the success of your website.
While the content of your site is vitally important, any short coming in your web hosting service is sure to translate to failure at your site. The hosting company you start with is most likely the one you will stay with, so take the time to choose the right web hosting company from the start, you’ll be glad you did.