Affordable Web Hosting
While website owners will be keen to find affordable web hosting, choosing the right hosting company is not simply a matter of looking for the cheapest service available. The lowest priced services will usually be very limited in what they offer. If you opt for one of them, you can end up spending a lot of time sorting out problems instead of promoting your business.
Hosting companies need resources in place to ensure a reliable service. Those resources cost money. The cheapest hosting companies simply cannot afford top-class resources, so their reliability suffers. You can find your downtime is beyond acceptable levels. Many low-cost hosting services have very poor security, and are vulnerable to hacker attacks and frequent server crashes.
Even when the servers are up, you may find that your website is taken down completely because you have unknowingly breached a hosting limit. Some hosts will replace your website pages with a message about your account that presents your business in a very poor light.
Problems will inevitably crop up, and when they do, you need to be able to get them sorted out as quickly as possible. You need to opt for a service that provides 24/7 support. The level of support offered by budget hosting services is just not good enough for commercial website owners.
To protect yourself from having a constant issue with your web host, you need to do some advance planning. There are several important considerations that must be applied when selecting a web hosting service. If you are shopping around for a host, you need to know exactly what resources your website will need. The resources required will be dependent on the purpose for which the website is being set up. For example, a personal website with a small number of static pages will need fewer resources than a full-blown, commercial website.
The following are the key resources used by websites. As you will see, many of these are subject to restrictions and limitations that can result in problems for your website, and cause you to lose business.
Bandwidth is the amount of data sent from your website to browsers each month.
It can be extremely difficult to calculate this accurately, because there are unknown factors. You cannot know in advance how much traffic your website will attract. You might also be unable to predict what actions visitors will carry out when they land on your site.
If you set up an online store, some visitors may look up many different products, while others may be interested in only a single product. Similarly, if a visitor proceeds to purchase, that visitor will use up more bandwidth than one who buys nothing.
When searching for affordable web hosting, you must find out the host’s regulations on bandwidth, especially what happens if your website exceeds the allocated bandwidth.
If this happens, some hosts shut your website down until the start of the next month. This is clearly not acceptable for a commercial website. Others will keep your site up, but will charge extra for the bandwidth used over and above your quota.
To avoid problems like these, you should opt for a package that either offers unlimited bandwidth, or one that offers a bandwidth limit that you are certain you will never exceed.
You should also be aware that “unlimited” rarely means that. Most affordable hosting companies put a cap on bandwidth, and you need to read the terms to find out what that cap is.
2. Shared, Dedicated or Virtual Private Servers
The majority of websites are hosted on shared servers, inexpensive web hosting, as these attract the lowest hosting fees. This means that numerous websites are hosted on a single server, and they all share the same server resources. If you use a shared server as a budget web hosting, you cannot predict performance levels. Your page load times could be affected if all the websites on a server are busy. You cannot change any of the server’s core programs, such as the operating system.
A dedicated server hosts only a single site, and that site has exclusive access to the server’s resources. If you expect high traffic volume, or your site downloads lots of large files, you should use a dedicated server. If you need full control over the server, including core software, you will have to choose a dedicated server. You will have fewer, often no, restrictions on things like POP or IMAP (email) connections. This will be critical if you generate high volumes of email.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) offers some of the advantages of a dedicated server at a lower cost. You are able to access core software, and can use mass emailing. However, you still share a VPS’s resources with other websites on that server.
3. Email accounts
Many websites use multiple email addresses. A business might want a separate email address for each employee. Another common practice is to use a specific email address for customers to respond to special offers or marketing campaigns. Your choice of affordable web hosting must include enough email addresses for your website.
Subdomains are a convenient way to break up large sites into logical sections. They are also used as a cost-effective way to host more than one site on the same cheap webhosting account. As with other resources, some companies limit the number of subdomains you can have.
You will need to choose a host that provides the required software. Websites built with .NET, for example, will have to be hosted on Windows servers with reliable web hosting.
6. Management tools
Management tools make it easier to handle various aspects of website administration, such as setting up email accounts, or even building a website from scratch. Good tools can be a big time saver, so it is in your interests to select a host that provides plenty of them.
You need to know your database requirements. You may store all your data in a single database, or you may require several databases. Hosting companies will often restrict both the number of databases you can have, and the size of each database.
8. Disk space
You will need enough disk space to hold all the files that go to make up your website. The files may include databases, programs, images, videos, sound files, CSS, source files, such as html or PHP for your web pages. You will also need space to store inbound emails, and for site backups.
The easiest way to calculate your storage requirements is to install a complete copy of your website on a local machine, and see how much space it needs. You will need to increment the size to cater for backups.
When you set out on a journey, you need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. The same thing applies when looking for affordable web hosting. If you do not take the time to work out your present and future needs, then you are missing vital data when it comes to comparing hosting services.