Determine Web Hosting Needs

Thousands of web hosting solutions are out there in the market, but not all of them are designed for you. So, in order to find out the best web hosting for your site, the first thing is to decide your web hosting needs.

It seems that plans offering everything are tempting. And a lot of such deals are available here, even charging at a very low price. However, if you choose that, you are saving trouble for yourself. Think about and decide how much you require, and then choose a best plan for your site with the suitbale price from a web hosting provider, which you feel comfortable with. In below, we will continue clarify it.

1.  Access Speed and Reliability

The web host should not only offer rich features, affordable price and fast speed, but also should ensure the uptime, which means the functional time. Search for a uptime of 99% at minimum. Actually, even 99% is very low. Can you tolerate your site are offline for 87.6 hours per year. Uptime really should be up to 99.5% or higher. A majority of the Paid Web Hosting solution can promise this, and you will not take this high number from Free Web Hosting provider. So, if you do care about your web site, go with a paid web hosting.

2. Data Transfer (Traffic/Bandwidth)

Data transfer also by the name of “traffic” or “bandwidth” at times, refers to the byte amount transferred from the web site to visitors when they visit that site. If you exceed the transfer limit, then you will face an extra fee, or your site will not be available anymore. The quantity of bandwidth your site use is apparently related to the quantity of traffic (visitors) that it receives.

The most of sites will not need a lot of bandwidth. Possibly 99% of websites in the world use less than 2 GB bandwidth for each month. If you plan to have many downloads of audio, video or Software, then you could end up in using much more transfer, maybe 50 GB. Websites such as mp3.com ask for an large quantity of bandwidth, but for the normal web site - a low-level bandwidth will be enough.

There are web hosting companies that offer Unlimited bandwidth. This sounds like a good deal, but the truth is that they normally set another constraints on CPU resource usage or others to limit the consumption of bandwidth. Be careful about this type of server terms.

3. Disk Space

Disk spce becomes very cheap now. Most of shared web hosting would allow you to use Unlimited Disk space ( just like Unlimited Monthly Transfer, they will limit the usage in some other factors. For example, Bluehost limits the total number of file to be 200, 000, but anyway, this is far good enough).

But if you consider VPS hosting, Cloud Hosting or Dedicated Hosting, then you should carefully calculate the space used by your web applications, database, and the content. The more images or videos you have, the larger spaces you will need.

For videos, we would recommend to upload them to Youtube, which will save a lot of space and bandwidth. But if you have a good reason to keep them private, then place them in your own web server.

4. Technical Support

Does the web hosting plan contain 24/7 technical support? If you just run a small site that is not critical, such as some personal sites are just to introduce the website owner, then you possibly don’t need it. Otherwise, you should make it clear whether this plan has this item.

5. Email Accounts

If you have your own site, you would probably want to have email addresses at your own domain, like [email protected], etc. How many email accounts will you need? Normally 10 is enough, but if you think you might want more then you can use, especially you build the web site for business usage, and you have many employees in your company, you will need more email accounts, and the good news is: most of the web hosting plan will give you more than 1000 email accounts, and some of them are un-limited.

6. PHP, Perl CGI-BIN access

This requirement depend on how you build your web site, do you use php or perl in your source code? If yes, you need to have this one in the plan otherwise, your web site will not work properly.

7. SSL, MySQL, and Shopping Cart (eCommerce Cart)

If you are planning on doing any sort of business through your website, you might want to look out to see if the host provides these facilities. These facilities normally involve a higher priced package or additional charges. The main thing is to check to see if they are available at all before you commit to the host. You will definitely need SSL if you plan to collect credit card information on your site.

8. Server OS

Is the type of operating system and server important? Whether you think so or not on the theoretical level, there are a few practical reasons for looking out for the type of server.

  • If you have a small website, then it is unlikely that you will need to select a particular type of server OS for your website.
  • Windows web hosting tends to be a little bit more expensive than Linux. If you need to run a Microsoft SQL server database, or use Microsoft Active Server pages then you should choose Windows server.
  • If you have no clue on what these things even are, then normally you don’t need Windows server - you will almost certainly be fine with any type of server and my preference is to sign up for accounts using the often cheaper, more stable and feature-laden Unix systems running the Apache server.

9. Subdomains, or Multiple Domain Support

For those who are thinking of multiple domains or subdomains hosted in one account, you should look to see if your web host supports this feature. If you have many web sites, and most of them don’t use a lot of space and bandwidth, then, host all your domain in a web hosting plan is a great choice and will save a lot of money. Many company provide this kinds of plan, such as: BlueHost, and Hostmonster,etc; They can host unlimited web sites in one web hosting plan.

10. Price

Price is always a factor, you should realize that you often get what you pay for, although it’s not necessarily true that the most expensive hosts are the best. A stable, 24*7 support server is more important than money.

Most web hosts allow you to select an annual or 2 years payment plan that gives you a cheaper rate than if you were to pay monthly. You might be worried about if you aren’t satisfied with the plan you purchase, what can you do? Our suggestion is to go with web host with money back guarantee. Most web host offer you 30 trial days, but some web host even guarantee anytime money back guarantee, such as ANHosting, WebHostingHub, and Inmotionhosting, those are definitely the web host you should consider first.

11. Free Domain Name

You need to check whether a free domain name is included in the plan. In most of the plan with price more than $3 monthly, a free domain will be included. But if not, you need to apply for domain name by yourself and then direct it to the service you just order. To register a domain name, please refer to Domain Registration

12. International

If you don’t stay in the USA, you have the option of hosting your site with some local provider. The advantage here is the ease of dealing with them (they are after all easily accessible by phone call or a visit), your familiarity with the local laws and easy recourse to those laws should it be necessary. It should be your choice if your target audience is local (eg a local fast food delivery service). On the other hand, hosting it in USA has the advantage of faster access for what is probably the largest number of your overseas visitors (particularly if you have an English-speaking audience). You also have a large number of hosting companies to choose from, and as a result, cheaper prices too.

13. Else

There are also some specific requirement related to what web site you want to build and your skill levels. Considering web hosting company provide more than just hosting, you might want they can provide some web design tool if you don’t know HTML well and also want to build it by yourself. Or you want to create a blog, photo galleries or Forum in your web site, if all those are included in the web hosting package, it would be easy for you to build the site. Below are some addition service you might find in web hosting package:

  • Blog
  • Photo Galleries
  • Forum
  • Web Design Tools
  • Web Site Market Tools
  • etc.

Although, we have listed a lot of factor above, you need to think about what’s the most important factor to you, try to rank all the factor above, and give them a value. If you care about the support and reliability and with a lot of budget, you should find some company can provide quick support and 99.99% uptime. If you only have limited budget, you might need to lower your expectation on bandwidth or multiple domain host, etc. There is always a trade-off between price, reliability and features that you’re willing to live with. There’s no way for you to afford to put all your sites on your “ideal” web hosts. For sites that are not so critical, you can pay a cheaper price at the cost of a little more “down” time and inconvenience than your more important sites.

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