What to Look For In a Web Hosting Provider?

By: Ejaz Alam | Topic: Hosting Guide

Web hosting provider are scattered around the web in a large number thus making it difficult for a newbie to select the right one. Every web hosting company makes big claims about their services and products and many of them are mere resellers of others big hosting companies.

Keeping in view the above, when you search for a web hosting provider, you have to decide that what features you require in a hosting plan. This largely depends on the purpose and objectives of your website.

Web Hosting Provider

Is your website a simple company website or a brochure to just inform your clients about your products and services? Is your website a large e-commerce portal which sells goods and products online? Or it’s a simple blog where you want to share your daily thoughts with friends and family?

You have to keep the purpose of your online presence in mind before selecting a web hosting company and hosting plans. In general keep in mind the following important points before finalizing your web hosting provider.

Highly Reputed/Dependability

Always choose a web hosting company with a solid reputation in the market. This is because high end web hosting companies take every step to satisfy their clients to earn a good reputation. Of course they will lose customers if their reputation goes down, that means less earnings which no business wants.

Reliability/ Uptime Guarantees

Check for the guaranteed uptime of your web hosting company. If your website goes down and shows” The page can not be displayed” message, you will lose visitors. Since visitors are the life blood of a website, so you can’t afford to lose them.

No hosting company can guarantee 100% uptime, but you surely can find hosting that offers 99% or preferably a 99.9% uptime.

Speed

There’s nothing more embarrassing than a slow opening web pages. Visitors don’t have much time to wait and they carry a bad impression of slow sites and move quickly somewhere else. This problem can be due to over burdened server or a slow network.

This mostly happens with the hosting companies that oversell than their available resources or it can be due to low quality hosting infrastructure. Be at a close watch for this quality in your web hosting providers.

Bandwidth

This feature is mostly needed by websites with large traffic. If you expect too many visitors on your site then pay special attention to this feature. Now a days a large number of web hosting companies offer ‘unlimited’ or “Un metered” bandwidth. Be watchful as no hosting company can offer all their resources to one website.

As it is very rightly said that “Nothing is free” so check from your web hosting provider that what is the upper limit of bandwidth and how much you have to pay for additional usage.

Disk Space

This feature is again required by webmasters who desires to upload lot of content like videos, mp3 or images. A normal content website doesn’t require too much of disk space.

Unlimited disk space is offered by most of the web hosting companies these days. As you know a normal web page is about 15kb to 30kb and if you have 1000 web pages, it comes to about 30 MB. You can easily workout your disk space requirements.

Normally you don’t have to bother much if you intend to make a simple content website. Yes, if you are planning to launch an image or video sharing site then you must talk to your web hosting provider about your requirements.

Customer Support

This is a very important factor to keep in mind before selecting your web hosting provider. Everybody can face technical problems in their hosting account. Since a normal webmaster is not a hosting techie so he definitely requires some assistance.

Prefer a hosting company that offers live chat support as this solves problem immediately. Some good hosting companies do offer telephone support to but it gets expensive for overseas clients. E-mail support or ticket system is offered by every web hosting provider. This facility can be used for more complex hosting problems that don’t require immediate attention.

Number Of Domains/Sub domain Allowed

You may require increasing your blogs/sites portfolio with the passage of time. So select that web hosting company which allows you to add more domains or sub domains to your hosting account at no extra charges.

This feature is more related to the hosting plan you select. In addition to this there are number of hosting providers who offer free domain name with yearly payment for a hosting plan. Remember this free domain for life only stands good if you keep your hosting with the same web hosting provider for life. The moment you move you’re hosting some where else you may need to pay inflated domain renewal charges.

Server Location and Security

Server location is important for ease of access and speed of your website. For this you need to determine your visitor’s location. If you have mostly US traffic then web hosting servers located in US can serve better. Well you can’t restrict access to the world so opt for high quality web hosting providers which can cater for global needs.

Make sure your web hosting companies pays special attention to security. Hosting providers that use DoS protection to protect against denial of service attacks and other attacks are good hosts. This way your websites and information will remain secure. In addition to that see their back up schedule to. Some good web hosting providers offer daily/weekly back ups of your data.

Additional Features

(1) Email Accounts
Most of the hosting companies provide sufficient number of e-mail accounts. Normally a webmaster requires 10-20 e-mail boxes. Check to see the number of e-mail accounts offered. These days unlimited e-mail accounts are offered by top hosting companies.

(2) My SQL Databases
You may require some my SQL databases in your hosting account. Make sure your web hosting provider offer sufficient number of this utility.

(3) FTP Accounts
Though some hosting companies offer unlimited FTP account while others restrict the number to a certain level. This feature needs to be a checked according to your requirements.

(4) Add Ons and Applications

Check that what add-ons and applications are offered by your web hosting provider. Availability of more free applications includes blogging software, forum software, image galleries, shopping carts and many others.

(5) Web Templates and Site Builders

Good web hosting companies offer their clients free website templates and site builder’s applications. This helps you to develop your own site easily and in very less time. You may save some extra money by developing your website yourself.

These are some of the most important features which you should look in your web hosting provider. Whatever you are a starter or a seasoned webmaster you need to think in long term before choosing a web hosting company. Make sure that it meets all your requirements before deciding to host your site.

When your website is up and running and you find some problem with the web hosting company, you may have lot of troubles in moving your website to a new web hosting provider. So it’s better to study even minutest detail before finalizing your web hosting provider. Happy Web Hosting.

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