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Choosing the Best Web Hosting Plan

With your website already set, you’re now wondering how and where you can find a web hosting plan that will be able to accommodate all your needs. Getting it right for the first time is crucial if you look at the bigger picture; changing your hosting provider will cost you in terms of time and downtime which may lead to loss of both existing and probable customers.

Ask yourself

There are a few issues you need to grapple with when it comes to web hosting:

  • Is your website meant for personal or business use?
  • What kind of customer service and technical support are you looking for?
  • As the business grows, will the provider be able to accommodate all your needs in terms of privacy and security?
  • Does the provider include domain name registration and e-commerce support? What kind of user interface, website tools, and control panel does the provider offer?

Many website owners tend to overlook some of these important issues which become a pain later on as the site grows.

Simplify your Work

Regardless of the provider you decide to go with, following are some of the things you should be looking out for:

Excellent Support

Confirm if the provider is available around the clock. Are they able to answer your queries thoroughly and swiftly? How easy is it to get in touch with them? Give it a few days trial to see if they can be able to address all your needs quickly and effectively.

Your Website must be Available

Aim for not less than 99.9% uptime. Even 98% is not good enough. If the provider can’t guarantee this level of uptime, you’re better off looking for one who can.

User Interface

Not everyone is endowed with programming skills. As such, go for a hosting service with a friendly control panel. Watch a demo, if available, and get a good feel of it.

Domain Name

Before starting the search for a web hosting package, it’s good that you know your needs. When it comes to purchasing a domain name, most companies aren’t of any help really. Some will charge you a small fee for registration, some will give it to you for free. Settle for a web hosting company that matches your needs.

Is it what they say it is, really?

Bandwidth

Never fall for companies that promise you ‘unlimited’ bandwidth. No one will bear the traffic cost for you, and some people have learned this the hard way after being slapped with ridiculous monthly fees having exhausted the ‘unlimited’ data transfer. Never make the mistake of overlooking this important point, you might end up coughing heavily in terms of cost.

Disk Space

‘Unlimited disk space’ claims are just another ploy similar to ‘unlimited bandwidth’. Most sites will take up less than 5MB of web space, and a company enticing you with 500MB knows all too well that you’ll never exhaust this within the given time. Here’s a rough estimate for you.

SSL (Secure Server), MySQL, Shopping Cart

Always check to see if these facilities are available before you tie yourself down. They will be offered as a higher priced package, or included as additional costs. For those looking to gather credit card information on their site, SSL is definitely a must.

Email, Auto-responders, POP3, Mail Forwarding

Having a personalized email address on your own domain will come in handy at some point; something like sales@yourdomain.com and so on. Look for an email software that can help you achieve this.

Price

Always remember that cheap is expensive in the long run. And going for the most expensive web hosting provider doesn’t mean you’ll get the best service either. Strike a balance. Choose a provider that is capable of providing more than you need, and their charges are favorable to you.

Today, there are many web hosting service providers, even teens working from their bedroom. In this industry though, the high cost you’re capable of meeting doesn’t have you guaranteed superior service. To avoid bias by listing some providers here, it would probably be a wise idea to check out what the community is saying on the hosting forums; there are plenty of them.

Most often, you’ll probably settle for a trade-off between cost, features you’re willing to live with, and reliability.

Happy looking!

About John Martinus

John Martinus has been in and around the tech industry for 15 years. He has a lot of experience since the early days of the internet. He lives in Southern California and when he's not writing tech articles he is hiking or surfing.

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