What To Look For In Web Hosting

As a web designer in Plymouth I often recommend clients to web hosting that suits their website, if the client doesn’t already have a web host.
What To Look For In Web Hosting
But what do I and should clients look for when seeking web hosting?

Firstly, what is web hosting?

A web hosting service is a service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server for websites to be uploaded and viewed on the internet.

What to look for when seeking a Web Host?

1. Support.  A host offering the best technical specs and pricing will mean nothing if their support is lousy. My advice is to telephone the support of a host you’ve short listed once or twice (not on the same day) to evaluate how quickly they respond to your enquires and how technically adept they are, it is also worth testing out their email support and live chat support too (if available). But good constant telephone support, preferably in the same country as you, is a must when looking for a web host.

2. Website Reviews. No matter how good a web hosts offers seem, check out their reviews and testimonials, not on their own website but by Googling your desired web host. There are many review sites on the internet where your search will most likely crop up, take the time to visit more than one review site or forum and evaluate the number of  positive and negative reviews for the particular web host.

3. Great Speed and Stability. A site that is frequently down or slow to access can lose viewers, and be terribly frustrating, if you intend to host a blog or forum for example, test out blogs and forums already hosted by the web host during peak as well as off-peak hours, it is also worth checking feedback via website reviews, forum posts or word of mouth. A web host should be reliable and fast and guarantee its uptime, look for a minimum uptime of 99%.

4. Web Space. Web hosts offer more than one package, each package varies in price and features, one feature is the web space of the package, for instance one package could include 500MB sosted space, whilst another have 100GB hosted space. Determine the size to suit your needs. Website sizes vary depending on how much pictures, videos, flash etc they use, and a site with a database will grow overtime. If for example, you intend to use a database for a blog that will have many posts and pictures, be sure to keep that in mind when choosing a hosting package.

 5. Allotted Monthly Traffic. Look for how much Data Transfer (Traffic/Bandwidth) is offered with each package.  Data Transfer is the amount of bytes transferred from your site to visitors when they browse your site. A generous amount of GB should suffice. Your mileage, however, will vary depending on your target audience and content of your website.

6. Services Provided. Advanced features depend on your needs, but scripting tools that help you create dynamic pages are a must (PHP, Perl etc). The ability to create custom error pages is also recommended. Check out each package to see how many MsSQL Databases are provided, for example if you’re planning on a blog and forum for one website you’ll require more than one database.

7. Location Of Servers. Search engines know where your web site is hosted based on the web server location and IP details. If your website’s target audience is predominantly from the UK, its recommended to look for a web host with a server in the UK, which in the long run could help your local Google ranking.

8. Control Panel. At times you may wish to use your web hosting control panel, to add an extra email account for example or delete a file, many hosts use popular control panels (Such as Cpanel) or their own, at the very minimum, they should allow you to access files, to add and delete etc. If a web host comes with its very own unique Control Panel, make sure you try out a demo to get the feel of it and see what’s on offer. You should also check which apps are included with the Control Panel, such as WordPress, Joomla, PhpBB etc.

9. Email Features. Email forwarding, (so that mail can be forwarded to your current email address) whilst using your hosted domain name and online webmail with spam filtering, if desired are recommended.

10. Security. Protecting your websites data from unwanted intrusions is another key consideration when selecting a host, check if free daily backups are included when selecting a host.

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