You want have a website, now you want the world to come knocking. Well the first step is finding a web hosting provider. Its straightforward, after all you sign up with a hosting provider, pay a monthly/ quarterly/ annual fee, upload your content to their web server and your very own hosting space and its ready for the world to see.
To make sure that your adventure is smooth, hassle free and you get what you need, there are a few pointers that are worth looking out for to get your site up, and make sure that it sends the right image.
Free Web Hosting
Well, letâ€™s face it, this is a question that everyone asks, and when it comes to web hosting what better way to reduce your costs then by hosting your site for free.
On the surface what can go wrong? Its free after all, isnâ€™t it? Well, at this stage its worth deciding on what you want to use your site for? After all, there is no free lunch in a sense and these organizations need to recoup their costs, and make a profit right? Most of these free hosting sites, provide you limited web space, and littered with advertisements. The drawdown with this, is that although it is free, people coming onto your site may view your site as being unprofessional, click through the advertisements and become someone elseâ€™s customer or just decide not to come back.
So who should use free hosting? Free hosting is useful for some people. If your creating a fun personal website or blog, then free hosting might be an option for you.
Limited Option Hosting
Not all hosting companies are created equal, some can only provide you with the basics; so if you find that you cannot incorporate email accounts, shopping carts, or web forms, then you might want to decide what it is your looking to get from your site, and if you think you will be soon be needing any of these services, then it is best to move on, however if you have a basic informational site you may find that this is more than adequate for your needs. NB We find it is always useful to have a web form, and your own email domain name as a way for prospective customers to get hold of you, it just looks more professional provides your customers multiple ways of getting through.
If you feel you need more, than try to assess what it is that you do need, how reliable does it need to be? What services will you need and find useful, and which services are superfluous? So a few pointers;
- Adequate bandwidth for your need, and what quality are you getting?
- How much storage space do you/ will you need? Is there room to grow? Can you scale up?
- Can have multiple email accounts? Do they have professional email hosting?
- Are you using a database? Do you need mySQL or MS SQL? Are they capable of securely hosting your database?
With the exception of MS SQL these are products and services that should be included in any hosting plan worth its salt.
Cheap Web Hosting
Here is where things begin to get a little more difficult. Some hosting companies advertise their site as â€˜cheap hostingâ€™ whilst others look down on these solutions. The question that is probably worth asking here, and throughout the purchase purpose is what am I using the site for, how is it powered, what software would I need, and how reliable should the services am looking for be? At the end of the day there is an element of paying for what you get so it is always worth being a little cautious when prices are that low and seeing if there is something hidden in the small print when purchasing hosting from £2 per month. It might pay dividends later on to raise the bar a little bit, and go for packages in the £5 to £10 range. Many may still consider this as a cheap service but there are many more reliable providers offering shared hosting that fall into this bracket.
So, bear in mind some of the outstanding issues, write down a list of criteria that you need, look into the reliability of their equipment? Have they mitigated single points of failure (SPFs)? What is there up time? What can go wrong with their setup? How reliable is the support? How much support do you need?
In short, take your time, as a little bit of extra effort here can pay back many times over in the future. If your site is important, and reliability and resilience are important to you, then you may want to look into VPS hosting as a step up from using a shared platform, or even your own dedicated or advanced hosting setup.