Webhosting Plans – Everything You Need To Know
If you are the owner of a small business and are looking to expand your business online, one of the decisions you will be faced with is what webhosting company to select.
Many people search for free web hosting plans without considering what it could mean for their business. Think of it this way: web hosts have to make a profit, so why are their hosting plans free?
Firstly, you can be forced to support their advertisements on your pages, which will drive people away from your site.
Secondly, your website might be infested with Trojans, viruses, or used as a viral marketing tool.
You can also have the unpleasant surprise of finding you get no technical or customer support whatsoever.
As such, it is a good idea to find a reasonably priced webhosting plan that will meet all your needs.
There are virtually thousands of web hosting companies on the web, so you have plenty to choose from.
The following are some of the most important aspects you should consider when searching for the right hosting plan for your small business.
Types of Web Hosting
Generally, there are four different types of web hosting:
1. Shared Webhosting
Your website is on the same server as hundreds or even thousands other websites
All domains share server resources such as RAM which stands for Random Access Memory and CPU which is the Central processing unit.
2. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A server is divided into virtual server, where each website is like hosted on their own server.
Server is shared with only a few different other users.
3. Dedicated Hosting
You exclusively rent an entire server.
Your website(s) is the only website stored on the server
4. Cloud Hosting
A number of servers (called a cloud) work together to host a group of websites.
Cloud hosting is able to handle high traffic levels or traffic spikes of any website.
Server Operating System
Although there is and will always be a debate between Windows servers and Linux servers, both of them are perfectly capable of hosting your website. However, since Linux servers are more widespread than Windows servers, you will find better prices.
Competition is really intense between Linux hosting companies. And the best part is you will not feel any difference between servers running either of these operating systems. They have almost the same performance and the same control panels.
What to Check Out When Comparing Hosting Companies
Just like in real life … more often than not you get what you pay for. Not all web hosting companies are created equal.
Whilst all types of hosting servers act as a storage centre for your website, they all have different capabilities when it comes to the amount of storage space, technical support, server speed and reliability.
Ask the following questions …
- What is the guaranteed uptime?
- Where are the servers physically located?
- What level of technical support do they offer? Online only / phone / email?
- What hours is technical support available?
- What type of control panel is included?
- What back ups are done regularly and how long are the back ups kept?
- Can you manually back up your website?
- What happens if your website gets hacked?
What is Included In Your Hosting Fee
- Disk space for your website
- Email addresses
- Access to your Control Panel
- Technical Support
If this is your first website and you are just starting out in business, I would recommend signing up for a shared hosting account, as in most cases it is sufficient and more affordable.
Look for a company that offers personal technical support, which goes beyond the basics, especially if you are going to be designing the website yourself.
You must consider disk space at all costs.
Let’s say your initial website has 10 pages and a small database, totaling a size of 10MB.
You wouldn’t think you need 100GB of storage space, would you? Well, you do! Most websites grow over time.
For example, you may add more products, attach a blog, populate the blog with text, images, and video, attach video descriptions of your products, add a shopping cart etc.
Even your customer database will grow exponentially. If after a year or two, your website is too large for the current host, you may have to relocate it elsewhere, so it is best to have more storage space than you need.
This is another very important aspect to consider. It is a good idea to select hosts that offer unlimited monthly traffic to your website.
At first, you might get 100-200 unique visits per month. No problem! But what if your marketing campaign hits the jackpot? You will start receiving 200,000-300,000 unique visits per month and, if you don’t have an unlimited traffic hosting plan, all your potential customers will receive a “Sorry, bandwidth exceeded. Contact the system administrator!” page.
Many hosts offer domain name registration and allow you to store multiple domain names under the same control panel.
Although not as cheap as dedicated domain registrars, you will soon find out that the time you save by having all your websites and domains under the same control panel easily outweighs a small $5-$10 monthly fee.
Some webhosting companies offer complicated control panels that make even creating an email account difficult. Some hosts will offer a demo control panel so that you can get a feel of its potential. The easier to use the control panel is, the easier managing your website will be.
by Ivana Katz
Websites 4 Small Business – www.web4business.com.au; Learn to Design – www.learntodesign.com.au/
Ivana makes it easy for you to get your business online very quickly. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, CLICK HERE and download your FREE copy of “Ultimate Website Design Secrets Blackbook – 10 Bulletproof Strategies for Designing an Outrageously Successful Website”