What are your requirements for a server, then?
Is a gigabyte of memory necessary?
A gigabyte…what exactly is it?
Add-on domains: do you require them?
A shopping trolley?
Don’t make a choice based just on cost or features. Additionally crucial are dependability and backup services. There’s a lot to think about!
Before shopping, you should have a good idea of what you’re looking for and need. What follows is meant to make you a better consumer.
Server Availability *
If your site goes down regularly, it won’t be worth saving money on the host. Try to choose a host that is transparent about their uptime. If their numbers are impressive, they will want to brag about it. Server uptime can be verified with data from third-party monitoring services like Alertra or Website Pulse Monitoring. Don’t hesitate to ask prospective hosts for proof of their reliability.
Data Transfer Rate
Servers that are too busy or don’t have fast enough internet connections will be slow. Because of this, they will not stay on your site long enough to make a purchase. Can server speed be measured in any way? First, don’t take a host’s website at face value. Many hosts have their primary site housed on a separate server for redundancy and continuity of service in the event of a server outage. Instead, it would be best to look at their customers’ sites. If you ask, most hosts will give you references if they aren’t already available on their website.
Cost and Available Methods of Payment
You can find a good, trustworthy host for a fair fee. Depending on the specifics of your requirements, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $25 per month.
How many different ways are there to pay? You should try to choose a host that accepts more than only PayPal, 2Checkout, Worldpay, and similar third-party payment processors, in addition to credit cards. The approval process for a merchant account to accept Visa, Mastercard, and other credit cards directly requires a business to provide extensive documentation and verification, giving you more confidence in the legitimacy of the business. Not entirely foolproof, but it does help. If the company fails to deliver the promised service and you paid with a credit card, you can initiate a chargeback.
Try to choose an organization that lets you access your bills online round-the-clock. If you want to pay at 3 a.m. or change your information over the weekend, it will be easier for you to do so.
* Stowaway Area
When it comes to storage, how much do you truly require? The typical storage requirement for a small business website is less than 100 MB. If you already have the files for your website, you may calculate its storage needs by adding their sizes together. You’ll need more room for email and files as your site expands.
Bandwidth refers to the volume of information flowing to and from your website. You may roughly estimate what you’ll need by doing the following:
5 kb per page on average, with an additional 10 kb for images.
You anticipate one hundred daily site visitors.
The average user spends four minutes perusing your site.
5 + 10 = 15 kilobytes of data per page. 100 users x 4 pages x 30 days = 180 MB of monthly bandwidth
Find out what happens if you exceed your data transfer or storage quota. There should be a simple option to add more of either to your account for a small cost.
Some of the most fundamental requirements for a web server are as follows:
Site and email administration using a user-friendly online interface (the ubiquitous CPanel comes with the powerful Fantastico add-on and is accompanied by an abundance of helpful online documentation).
Your Files Can Be Uploaded Via FTP
Email Addresses and Forwarding Capabilities
Web-based and Post Office Protocol (POP) email access
– A Dependable Back-Up Plan (on which, see below)
Enhanced Functionality *
You may also want to consider the following options:
Many hosting providers enable you to host several domains within a single account. You can either build up duplicate websites at other domain names or point extra fields to your primary site. This feature can help you save money if you intend to buy multiple domain names, as you won’t need to purchase separate hosting packages for each domain.
To accept payments online, you’ll need a secure server (unless you plan to utilize a third-party payment processor like PayPal). Most hosting services provide customers with a “shared SSL certificate” at no extra cost. This is an excellent strategy for a company just off the ground. Also, determine if acquiring a dedicated IP and SSL certificate is an option and, if so, how much it would cost. A dedicated IP address will add a few dollars to your monthly bill, and an SSL certificate will cost you $30 or more.
You’ll need a server that supports MySQL databases and provides access to phpMyAdmin if you want to run a shopping cart, newsletter, or forum on your website.
Do you have the ability to manage a mailing list through your hosting account? Is there an easy-to-install mailing list program or one that comes pre-installed? Can you tell me how many emails can be sent each day?
More complex options exist than I can describe here. Ensure the selected server is compatible with whatever shopping cart or editing software (like FrontPage) you use.
* Emergency Plans
Nightly backups are standard in the IT industry. In the event of a server or hard drive failure, or if you erase your entire site by accident, your host will be able to quickly restore it from a recent backup. Host NOWHERE that doesn’t back up your data every night.
Find a host that copies your data off-site every night if possible. This indicates that your website’s backups are kept on a separate server. Your site’s data will remain undamaged even during a catastrophic event.
All gear will break at some point, so it’s not a matter of if but when. Is the prospective host ready to host this event? Check to see if RAID is available on the servers offered by the host. The acronym “RAID” stands for “redundant array of independent disks.” With RAID 10, the server’s data is replicated ten times. This implies that everything is being duplicated in real-time. This means that even if one of your drives fails, you can recover your data and return online in minutes.
Choices in Support
Customer service is one of the most crucial factors when looking for a web host. In times of necessity, what choices do you have available to you?
Try searching for a knowledge base or flash (video) lessons to lead you through simple procedures like making an email account.
Find out what channels you may use to contact a tech support team if you have questions. Is there a trouble ticket system, or do you send an email? A trouble ticket system is preferable if your email is down or blocked because of the potential for email loss and the convenience of online response tracking.
Check the average response time as well. If something goes wrong with your website, you don’t want to wait 48 hours for assistance. Try out the host’s support system by sending a message to see how quickly you get a response.
Does the host provide a backup site if the main one goes down? Your company’s server is down if your website is unavailable. You won’t be able to contact them when it matters if their website (and email and support system) are located on the same server as yours.
* Reviews & Feedback from Actual Customers
Every day, the web welcomes dozens of new hosting providers. Some of these are incredible. Some aren’t nearly as great. Find a business that can prove its past success. Spend some time perusing the website’s testimonials (and finding out how long the cited customers have been with the host). Better yet, if you have an online friend or coworker, inquire whether they are satisfied with their hosting service. Find out how quickly you get a response from assistance, how helpful they are, and if there have been any significant outages or other issues. Customers of a trustworthy host are happy customers.
Specializing in online hosting and design for micro and home businesses, Michelle Shaeffer runs the show as CEO of Creo Communico LLC. With over 300 video courses, multiple free site builders, and dozens of simple scripts to install, we’re here to help you construct a successful website at an affordable price. For various free website management tips covering domain names, website hosting, e-commerce, and more, today.