Looking for that perfect web host is almost like searching for a needle in a haystack. For one thing, there is no such thing as “perfect.” Perfect is only relative and it all depends on what one is expecting from their web hosting company. Every business owner understands the importance of web hosting, as it is the lifeline of a business.
But for the uninitiated, this can be a cumbersome process, not so much because there are no good paid web hosts around but because there are so many of them that it is a huge task segregating the good from the not so good.
Choosing a reliable web hosting company is no rocket science as long as webmasters know what they should be looking for. The first and the most important pointer in the right direction is – never look for “cheap” web hosting; although expensive may not always mean the best. Okay, that’s confusing.
Look for what your business needs. Look for features. Look for reliability.
It is important to use a hosting company that has been in business for a few years and has a good reputation. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways of finding a reliable web host.
A good host is one that can guarantee at least 99% uptime. Uptime is the time the servers are up and working. Downtime is the time when they are non-functional, resulting in inaccessibility of the web pages, which can lead to loss of business and money. In fact, at times even that 1% downtime has the potential to harm the business.
Look for a web host that offers a guarantee on the uptime and has some sort of a clause to offer a money-back guarantee if the uptime is not maintained.
The disk space needed for a website depends on the number of pages on the website. Don’t fall for those advertising “unlimited disk space,” as not all websites need huge amounts of space. For a website with ten pages or less, a small disk space is sufficient and there is no need for 500 MB.
The very fact that people usually look for a large amount of disk space, makes the web hosts tap into that interest by offering all that extra space, knowing fully well that it is not going to be used. The requirement of disk space should be assessed first, before venturing on finding a web host.
How much data is going to be transferred? Hosting companies allot specific data-transfer limits per month, based on the plan the user opts for. Large amounts of traffic/bandwidth means huge data transfers. Webmasters will have to look for the right plan that allows the required data transfer.
Here again, “unlimited bandwidth” is a common marketing technique used by web hosting companies. There is always an unspoken limit to how much bandwidth can be used. If the user crosses that limit, they will be charged extra on top of what they already pay for the plan. Read the fine print carefully to see how much traffic is allowed.
For your benefit, let’s try and understand bandwidth requirement:
Most new sites need no more than 3GB of bandwidth on a monthly basis. But keeping in mind future increase in traffic, it helps if the web host has a good policy in place for the usage of extra bandwidth. Some hosts charge per GB over and above the allotted bandwidth. There are some that take pre-payment on expected future usage, which is not really user friendly. Who knows what the future holds?
These are just a few of the important things that determine a good web host. There are many more factors to look into. Tomorrow we will post part two of the, “Zeroing In On The Right Web Host” series.
Continue Reading: Zeroing In On The Right Web Host – Part 2