Web Hosting Tips

Once your super site is complete, you will need to host it on a server so that the public can access it. A server is a large computer which contains all files/documents associated with your website. From here you can determine which pages are open to view publicly, or grant permissions to authorised individuals. Your choice of host or web hosting plan will depend on a few factors:

1: There are three main types of server:

Shared Server

You rent a space on a large computer shared by others on a single operating system. This is usually the cheapest form of hosting and is quite suitable for start-ups. The pitfall of a shared server is that members are all using the same resources and excessive drain from any party could affect other users.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

With a virtual private server you will still be sharing a section of a large computer except you’re resources will run on an individual operating system, so you’re less likely to be affected by others. Also, you will have a larger bandwidth and more reliable data transfer speed.

Dedicated Server

This is the ‘top drawer’ of web hosting. As the name suggest, a dedicated server is a stand-alone hardware device over which you have total control. This is the favoured solution for really-high traffic sites. It allows for maximum uninterrupted bandwidth capacity and will facilitate the use of extremely large data bases. Dedicated servers are expensive to purchase and may be costly to run as they will require paid-management if you don’t have the skills to set it up and maintain it yourself..

2. The size of your site.

Hosting packages are usually sorted by order of storage or size. Just like the hard drive on your PC, your website and its contents will require a certain amount of disc storage space. You will also need to consider whether your space requirement is going to increase in the near future. It is usually possible to increase your storage capacity by upgrading your hosting package but it’s worth paying some attention to this factor so that you are aware of the potential increase in operating costs for your business.

3. Application support

In order to use certain dynamic resources on your website you may require your host’s server to support certain application types. If you are unsure, just contact the host and explain what you need to achieve and they will tell you if they support the platform required.

4. Bandwidth.

Simply put: Bandwidth is the amount of information (data) that can be sent from the server at any one time. If you are fortunate enough to have a high-traffic web site (well done!) you will require higher bandwidth capacity from your server. Similarly if you have large files such as music, software or other digital products being downloaded regularly from your site, you’ll need enough bandwidth to meet the demand. Be cautious of hosts that boast unlimited bandwidth as this is often accompanied by a fair-use policy stated in the small print. Also, there are other factors associated with a servers’s hardware that determine the efficiency and speed of data transfer. So if this is a concern, be sure to ask questions before you sign up.

Generally web hosting isn’t too expensive and if you look around you can find good deals, but bear in mind: cheap web hosting doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good web hosting.’ Some hosting companies are new to the game and are still resolving bugs in their systems or they’re using cheaper, less reliable equipment. Another important feature is customer service. No system is 100% perfect; equipment can break down and when it does you will want to be assured that problems are being resolved effectively and efficiently. You will want to be kept in the loop and be given realistic forecasts as too when your site will be up and running again; but most importantly, you will want to feel that the person with whom you’re communicating, understands the issues you’re experiencing and is not just trying to blind you with science, or worse, tell you the problem is on your side when it is in fact theirs. Do an online search on the companies you’re considering. Use search phrases such as ‘problems with hostname‘…’ or ‘anyone using ‘hostname,’ keep in mind it is not possible to please all the people all of the time, also there is the possibility of rival companies publicly bad-mouthing the competition, but if you find overwhelming negative criticism of particular company, it could suggest a sub-standard service.