With the large number of companies offering web hosting solutions today, it seems like a simple task to choose a package for your website. However, this variety of choices and the aggressive promotional campaigns of the web hosting companies make this choice difficult.
There are four methods to host a website, each one with its advantages and disadvantages. You must know them all, in order to make the best choice for your case.
1. Home Hosting: it is a complicated method, and even if some webmasters prefer it, as they have total control on the site, as long as it is hosted on their personal computer, it is not that great in terms of costs. It might seem like a free solution, but considering the fact that the computer must be turned on all the time, you might pay huge electricity bills. Moreover, a person that wants to choose this method needs advanced technical notions of HTML and networking.
2. Land-based hosting companies: you can find a large number of local companies offering hosting services on their servers. You can look for those companies online, and you will need to reach their offices to sign a hosting contract.
3. Free web hosting services: free web hosting has the only advantage that it is…free. Those solutions are slow and unreliable, and your website is at the discretion of the hosting company. Practically, you don’t own the site, so if the company decides to steal it, you can’t do anything about it. Those cases rarely happen, but they happen. Another disadvantage is that the hosting company will probably place advertisements, banners and ads on your website, and you have no right to remove them.
4. Use the online hosting services: a cheap and reliable hosting solution that can be accessed in a matter of minutes with maximum reliability and efficiency.
If you decide to become a webmaster, to host a personal blog or even an online business, you must know that besides web design, you will also need a reliable hosting company for your website. a good looking website without a reliable hosting solution is not so great, and you will risk losing hundreds of visitors just because your hosting company is not serious.
Your website will be hosted on a server that you will probably never see in your life. The web hosting company has the obligation to maintain those servers, to upgrade and update them, and to make sure they are always online to serve the hosted sites. In exchange, they will sell the resources of the respective servers to the interested persons. As this is a cheap and also fast solution, it is preferred by 99.99 % of the webmasters today, instead of creating a server on their personal computers at home.
The online hosting companies have different packages available, each one with its own characteristics. You can choose between shared hosting, VPS or a private server, but each one of those categories are divided in several packages. The key is to determine the actual hosting needs of your future site, so you would not pay more than needed.
There are so many factors to consider while choosing your hosting company, things that will affect your site on the long term:
1. The number of domains – even if you only need one site now, you might think of new sites in the near future, and you will want them hosted with the same company. This is why you would need a decent number of free domains.
2. The RAM memory – this memory will offer speed and reliability to the site. Any widget you install, such as social networking integration and newsletters will need RAM memory. Especially if you want a video or file sharing site, you will need a lot of memory, especially when users exchange information one with the other using your site.
3. Bandwidth – a larger bandwidth allows you to have an increased number of visitors. If you don’t have a large bandwidth, the site might get flooded with visitors, and it might crash. There is nothing more disappointing than a 404 error (File not found) for visitors, so this is the most important aspect that defines the reliability of a website. Unlimited bandwidth ensures that your site can accommodate a large number of visitors at the same time.
4. Tracking – although Google Analytics offers a great platform to track the number of visitors, and this service can be used with any of the hosting companies, some of those companies offer you tracking services. However, this is not such an important feature, as long as Google offers a complete platform of this kind at no costs.
5. Emails – with the new Web 2.0 technology, you can create as many email addresses as you need. For any domain, you need free addresses from your hosting company. In other words, if you have a website called bbcwebhosting.com, you can create email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and so. The basic hosting package contains five free addresses, but you might need some more.
6. Additional tools – you might have an engine to create websites, some basic SEO features, and even free credits for promoting your sites on social networks. Don’t neglect those features, as they could be great for boosting the online visibility of your website.
7. WordPress and Joomla – those are two popular engines to design websites. If you have a website designed with the help of those engines, you can host them with another company, but only if the respective company offers WordPress and Joomla integration.
8. C-panel – this is the most important feature of hosting, as it is the central command center of your website. Some companies offer great features, but they are no so successful because the c-panel is hard to use. This is why you should try the free trial hosting period offered by some companies, and to pay the respective hosting only if you like the c-panel.
You need to compare a large number of features; therefore you will need a reliable comparing site. Read the reviews and the opinions of other users, check the features offered by those companies and make sure you choose the best option for your site.
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