Choosing the right hosting service has never been easy. This is more so when considering its influence on how much data you can add to your website, its load speed, and how often it goes down. You may have the best website in the world, but if you select the wrong hosting service, you will always be limited in more ways than one. So, what are some of the things you need to do to ensure you pick the best hosting service? The purpose of this post is to answer that question.
There are so many companies that offer website hosting services today. They range from the local to international service providers. Considering moving your website from one hosting company to another is not easy and can be problematic, it is good to make the right decision the first time round. There are a couple of things you have to look at when searching the market for the right host.
Finding a Free Web Host
A free web host is that service provider that will not charge you for hosting. However, you may have to use their domain name, and your website may be bombarded by ads. Even so, this is a good choice if you plan on just hosting a personal blog. The key things you need to consider with this option include the following:
To cover the cost of offering free web space and other services, most of the free web hosts will impose advertising on your blog or website. Some will ask you to place their banner on your web page while others will display their pop adverts every time someone opens your website. Since you are using a free service, you will have no control over these advertisements. The one thing you need to do is make sure that you can live with the type of advertisements being featured on your site.
- Size of allocated web space
The second most important thing you have to consider is the amount of web space that you get. It is always good to think about future expansions. Can the web host accommodate your growing website needs? Although most websites only use up 5 MBs of web space, there will certainly come a time when you will require more space. The more images or videos you add to your blog or website, the more space you will need. Making sure that the web host will give you room to grow. It will be bad to have to move from one web host to another every time you need more web space.
- FTP access
This is the most widely used method of transferring web pages and other data from the computer to the web host’s servers. With some of the web hosts that offer free hosting, you will only be allowed to build your website using their website builder. Although this is useful, it will be limiting if you want to transfer your existing website to the new web host. The ability to upload your website by browser or email is needed. You can learn more about FTP access through hosting reviews.
- File size and type limitations
With the free service, you will have maximum file size and file type limitations. Some will restrict you to a size as small as 200kbs. Others will only accept JPG and HTML files only. Keep an eye on these limitations.
- Speed of access
If the web host is known for unreliability, then this is not the best place to host your website or blog. If your website is always down, people will lose interest in you. Slow access is another thing that will push visitors away. To determine whether a web host is reliable, pay attention to the feedbacks given by recent clients. Again, considering the service is free, you can experiment before you start coding your website.
- Bandwidth allocation
Another very important consideration you have to make when choosing a free hosting service is the bandwidth allotment. Although most free web hosts will have bandwidth limits more so on the traffic your website can get per day, you have to make sure you get the biggest bandwidth allotment possible. Generally speaking, 100mb of traffic per month is very little. 1 GB to 3 GB traffic per month will be adequate.
Finding a Commercial web host
This is the paid hosting service. You pay an agreed amount every month or year for the service. Although most of the aforementioned points will apply here, there are some unique qualities you have to look for.
Since you are paying for the service, you should not settle for anything that does not guarantee 24/7 uptime. A good web host should have an uptime of not less than 99%.
- Data transfer
Bandwidth allotment should be virtually unlimited. Most websites that don’t use music or videos require a bandwidth of not less than 3 GB. Your target should be above that per month. Check if there are charges for using bandwidth over the allotted limit.
- Disk space
New websites that don’t offer music or videos use a disk space of less than 20 MBs. Do not be tricked with the 100 GB offer. You are unlikely to reach that limit.
- Technical support
Technical support should be offered 24/7. The team should be able to resolve any hosting problem in a matter of minutes. Always remember that any time your website is down, you are losing valuable business. Check the response time of the web host.
- PHP, FTP, SSI, Perl, SSH, .htaccess, MySQL, Cron
Ensure you get all this with the package you select. These are what gives you full control of your website.
This is essential if you are building an e-commerce website that will collect credit card payments. It adds security.
There are more things you need to consider. To verify that you are choosing the right hosting service, pay attention to customer reviews. The more negative reviews there are the more concerned you need to be.
John Mark is a web developer working with WebsiteService4All. When he is not busy at work, he takes time to educate web developers on the best practices in web development. He is also constantly involved with hosting reviews.