Web HostingSimply put, web hosting is what allows you to deliver your web pages to your site’s visitors around the clock. Similar to renting an apartment, you will need to rent space on a web server from a hosting company to store and deliver all of your website’s content.

Choosing a web hosting company is never a simple decision. There are so many things to consider. Your content management system, bandwidth, databases, operating systems, server space, and processor usage are just a few of the questions your potential host is going to ask.

Cheap web hosting is abundant, but because of its importance it is imperative that you find not only an affordable plan, but a reliable company. Web hosting and email services are like the electricity in your house. They usually go unnoticed until they stop working. Then it will feel like the end of the world. We focus more on how much to host a website a month later.

Hosting Account Types

 The amount of resources allotted to your website will depend on the type of hosting account you choose. When first starting out, you will probably want to choose a shared or virtual hosting plan. Your website will be hosted on a server with several hundred other websites. The more websites they can cram onto one computer, the more money the hosting company makes. But this also keeps the cost down for you. Let’s go back to the apartment idea. Apartments, have many units housed within one main building. A shared server hosting account is like an apartment. It is the most affordable option, but many other tenants (websites) reside in the same building. Some may be well behaved…others may cause strain on the building (server) and its other residents.

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is similar to condos or townhouses. They are a collection of units in one building or structure, but not as many as an apartment building or shared server. A VPS’s resources are divided evenly among a much smaller number of hosted tenants. In a similar fashion as the shared server, some residents may not cause a load or problem, but other bad apples may still have a negative affect on your site’s performance.

A dedicated server is like a single family home. Obviously this option has the most resources dedicated solely to you. But a dedicated server, like a house, is also the most expensive option and requires more upkeep and maintenance. Facing these three options for a hosting plan, most likely you will start out in a shared hosting account and then eventually grow into the requirements of a dedicated server.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is a measurement of data transferred to or from your hosting account each month. It helps if you have an idea of the amount of visitors your website will bring. The best thing to do is find a server with at least twice the bandwidth you will need, but if you are not sure, get as much bandwidth as you can within your budget.

Don’t be fooled by companies offering unlimited bandwidth. In reality, no hosting is really unlimited. Unlimited bandwidth, often coupled with unlimited disc space is a marketing ploy and your site may wind up sharing some very limited resources. Every server has a limited amount of space on its hard drives and every internet connection is only capable of transferring a certain amount of files at a time.

Check the terms of service for any hosting account for their real, practical limits and restrictions. Usually, if your site is new or relatively small, you should still be safe even with the limits of an unlimited plan.

Email

Almost all hosting packages come with one or more email addresses based on your domain name. This gives your business communications a professional touch by associating them with your website. Your web server acts like an electronic post office, sending and receiving all of your email.

Databases

Many web hosts will give you database access, which means more flexibility for your business website. Imagine the catalog of any online store. Each item you see represents an entry in a data base and the coding of the website builds the individual pages on the fly for the end user. Now imagine a blog powered by WordPress or other content managers like Joomla. Each posting you see is also an entry in a database.

If you have a store with a big catalog or lots of content to display, finding a web host with database options and content management support can be vitally important.

Operating Systems

The last decision you have to make seems like a simple one. Do you want Windows or Linux? You might be tempted to take Windows, because in the desktop PC world, it is pretty universal. However, in the world of servers, Windows hosts will always be more expensive because the server software licensing is more expensive for the hosting company. Choose Windows only if your website is running in an ASP.NET environment.

Most websites make best use of Linux based hosting with the popular cPanel control interface. Look for cPanel if you can, because it makes most website administrative tasks very quick and easy.

Whatever direction you go, you’ll want to make sure that your provider systematically monitors the load on their server otherwise your website could experience regular slow-downs or outages. A solid company will be able to support their customer base, cover their expenses and not one day disappear, leaving your website unreachable or lost in cyberspace

Positive SSL