When you have made the decision to invest in a website for your business, service or even just personal use, it’s time to start looking for a web host. Of course, everyone wants the best web host in the world, but with all the options out there, how do you know who to choose?
Hopefully, this list should provide some answers to that very question…
– Check webmaster forums.
Webmaster forums are the best place to get recommendations for web hosting providers. The users of the forum rely on their website as their income, so they’ll know who is worth hosting with and who is a waste of time. Start a thread asking for recommendations, or just browse through until you have a general idea of which companies are worth trusting.
– Run Google searches.
As soon as you find a company you are interested in, it’s time to start checking them out. Run a Google search for their company name and sift through the results; if there’s anything bad to be said about them, you’ll find it. Add in words like ‘bad’, ‘poor’, ‘terrible’ and ‘useless’ to increase the chances of finding any poor user experiences of the company.
– Read the small print.
This is a truism in life, and it applies to web hosting too. Before you hand over your money to buy web hosting, you should always read the terms and conditions of the arrangement. If there’s anything you don’t like, either contact the web host for clarification, or go elsewhere. There are good web hosts out there, and by being diligent and following the above steps, you’ll find one.
For most website owners, a shared web hosting plan will be perfectly serviceable for their needs. This means that you share a server with many other websites – websites unaffiliated to your own website, and the link is untraceable also. It’s cheaper, efficient and these shared servers can handle medium to large sites without difficulty.
However, if you are trying to run your site on a shared server that is too small to host your site, you’ll notice quickly. For a start, loading times on your site will fall dramatically, and you’ll probably start to lose visitor numbers, too. You will also experienced a slow down of uploading times to the server, making your site a pain to update, and server crashes will become a more frequent worry. If any of this sounds familiar, you may need to consider a dedicated server.
Rather than sharing your server with other users, a dedicated server works exactly as the name suggested: the server is dedicated to your site, and yours alone. Transferring a big site to a dedicated server will eliminate all of the aforementioned problems, and your site will load and run quickly once again.
As you would expect given the nature of the service being provided, dedicated servers are more expensive than their shared counterparts. Costs vary, but anything around $70 to $120 per month is a usual pricing structure for a dedicated server.
Before you make this outlay, you need to ensure you really need it. If you make money on your site and rely on it, you cannot afford for the down time that a shared server may bring. If, however, your site is just a hobby, it may be worth exploring other alternatives first.
Many a web hosting company attracts clients based on their promise of nightly, weekly or monthly back ups of the sites you host with them. These back ups are usually a key selling point for many consumers, who like the security it brings. In the event of a server crash, your site will be protected no matter what, and restoring it should be simple.
Mostly, web host companies back ups are a good thing – they provide stability and allow the website owner to relax. However, these packages do promote laziness; and many a business owner ceases to create their own back up files when they know their web hosting company are doing it too. This is a dangerous trap to get in to; while no one is looking to discourage you from buying a hosting plan that includes back ups by the web hosts, you should be aware of the continued necessity to create your own copies, too.
Web hosting companies are usually reliable. However, in the case of a server crash and you needing to restore your site from nothing, you don’t want to take any chances. You definitely don’t want to discover they have been reneging on their side of the deal, and have not been making back ups, after you’ve lost your site.
There’s no real way to verify your site is being backed up beyond requesting copies of those back ups. Some web hosts will do this, but even if they do, always keep making your own back up copies of your website – without fail.