After you have , its time to look out for a webhost to host the files related to your website. Note that a website is nothing but set of files written in language that web browsers can read and display in a web format. A web host is a computer (or Hard drive) which stores your file and delivers to browsers whenever requested. You can easily make your own computer a web host but then you will need to keep it online 24×7. Practically hosting your website on your own computer is neither feasible nor cost effective. Hence, it is recommended to get services from webhosts who keep their servers always online.
Getting a quality web host is absolutely necessary for the success of your website as it effects the user experience a lot. While a bad host may result into frequent downtimes, slow loading of web pages, it may also come as a big pain for you if it has a non friendly backend or tech support. Here we are underlining a few tips to help you out choosing a good free or paid web host.
Understanding the types of hosting plans:
Its really important to understand the right kind of hosting plan needed as per your requirement or you may end up paying for more than what you actually need. Most of the web hosts display high numbers (e.g. 50GB space, 500 GB Bandwidth etc) to lure the customers but the fact is that you will never need this much amount of storage or bandwidth until and unless your website turns very very popular.
To decide what plan is right for you, its important to understand the types of hosting plans normally offered by web hosts.
1. Shared hosting: It is the most affordable and popular type of web hosting. Under this plan, a server is shared between a number of websites. When you buy a shared hosting plan, you get a portion of server to host your files. The cost is also distributed among multiple website owners and hence it is often very affordable.
On the downside, you get very less control over the server, its software and other technologies. Also, in case other websites are using more bandwidth or your host has put too many clients on a single server, your website might experience a slow page loading time.
2. Dedicated Server: While a shared hosting is like living in a rented flat in a society, dedicated server hosting is like leasing the whole apartment. An entire server is dedicated to your website and you have full control over the server in terms of scripts, software etc.
However, buying a dedicated server is costly affair. While a good shared hosting plan can be purchased for $10 per month, an average dedicated server might cost $200 per month. It is recommended only for large websites.
3. Virtual Private Server: Virtual private server is a combo of Shared and dedicated hosting. While you still share a server with other websites, you get a great extent of control on your portion of hosting. Also, the number of websites sharing a single server is significantly very low.
Buying a VPS hosting is recommended if you started with shared hosting but your website has grown large enough to be hosted on a shared server.
4. Reseller hosting: Reseller hosting comes in if you want tor run your own hosting company but don’t want to invest in infrastructure like buying your own servers and running a full fledged organization. Its something like getting an apartment on lease and subletting the flats to others.
If you are on a shared hosting, you might need to pay extra in order to get the reselling rights. However, most of the VPS and dedicated server packages already includes reselling rights.
Things to look in a web host:
Once you have decided what type of hosting you need, its time to chose your hosting provider. Choosing a bad web host might result in to compromised performance of your website. Here we are listing a few criteria to analyze before you buy a web hosting service.
1. Uptime: Uptime is the time your website is up on the web. This is normally indicated in percentage. For example 75% uptime means the server stays online and running only 540 hours (out of 30×24 = 720 hours) in a month. Any web host which guarantee an uptime of less than 99.9% should be avoided at any cost.
2. Speed: A speedy servers ensures your web pages loads faster in the browser resulting in to a quality user experience. Speed of a server depends on many factors e.g. server type, technology it uses, number of website sharing one server etc. Most of the web hosts disclose their technical details publicly. If not, its always better to ask before buying.
3. Tech support: No matter how perfect a tech product has been made, it will always create bugs. On the other hand, if you are not a tech savvy guy, you will be needing assistant every now and then while running your website. This is where the quality of tech support comes in. Its always better to approach a host who are responsive and quick in terms of technically supporting their customers.
4. Backend/control panel: Believe it or not, running behind tech support guys for every nut and bolt is a big pain. If the backend control panel of your web host is user friendly, you should be able to perform most of the tasks your self. Nowadays cPanel is the most user friendly and advanced backend interface. So going with a webhost powered by cPanel will make your hosting enjoyable.
5. Security and backup: Web servers are prone to hacking and other security threats which might result in to loss of your data. Imagine what a pain it is to lose all your contents which you developed with years of hard work.
A good web host keeps taking regular backups of the server so that if you lose all your data (by your or host’s mistake), restoring your websites would be a matter of minutes.
6. Script support: Different kind of websites need different kind of scripts to run properly (e.g. latest version of WordPress needs PHP 4.3 and MySQL 4.1.2). If your host doesn’t care supporting a wide range of scripts and updating the scripts frequently, you might be forced to keep using outdated platforms for your websites.
Free vs paid hosting
If you are serious about your website, avoid free hosting. Everything comes at a cost and if something comes without a cost, there’s always a catch. Most of the free web hosts try make money by putting banners or pop-ups on your website. If any host is providing you services without any cost, the quality of hosting would be compromised.
Since you are paying them nothing, the company is not answerable to you. You can’t question them for the downtime, server crash, not keeping the backups and any other issues. Shared hosting services are affordable and worth the price.
Once you have purchased the domain and web host, its time to map the domain with your hosting account.