Web Hosting – What Are You Really Looking For? Points to Consider Before Taking the Plunge

You have a burning desire to get your views ‘out there’, or you want to harness the power of the ‘net to generate some income or grow your existing business, or any of the other myriad reasons that send people to their favourite search engine looking for somewhere to host their site.

A quick search throws up more web hosting offers than you can shake a stick at: some free; some sort of free; some paid. Some on single servers; some on clustered networks; some using VPS (virtual private server); some offering dedicated servers. There is a wide variety of combinations of features – disk space, bandwidth, databases, software and script support, site management, email provision etc etc.

How do you know what is best for you?

It is often what you are not told about a hosting plan that is more important than the headline details. We need to consider what we should be looking for and why.

Don’t be seduced by massive amounts of disk space

In most cases disk space is not an issue. The very least you are likely find will be about 50Mb (but you’d have to look hard for that!) and even this is more than enough for, say, a blog site. Your text data takes up an extraordinarily small amount of space.

These are the factors that determine how much disk space you are likely to need:

– hosting a lot of images or videos

– using a script like a CMS (Content Management System), a gallery, forum or gaming script

– hosting an FTP site: a repository for files, often quite large, for your visitors to download

Just because a host is offering you gigabytes of storage doesn’t make it a good deal. WordPress webhosting You probably won’t need it but, if you are in the market for an FTP site then look for one that specialises in file storage. They usually offer vast amounts of disk space but not much else and you can use a regular hosting account that links to those files for download.

Beware the bandwidth trap

Bandwidth is the amount of traffic your site is allowed to have per month before your host either starts charging you some stupid amount money for going over your allowance or, worse, suspends your account until the following month.

Working out how much you need is remarkably tricky so the more you can get the better. A small personal site intended for a small audience like, for example, a photo gallery aimed at just your friends and relations, is not going to use a great deal of bandwidth – providing you size your images for the web and keep your videos to short clips. The FTP example mentioned above will gobble it up.

So consider these main questions when looking at the bandwidth offered:

– how many visitors am I likely to get?

– how much data would a typical visitor access?

– is my bandwidth usage likely to increase with time?

Wot? No databases?

Most scripts of any substance need a database to run on. Check the database provision of any host you are considering very carefully: no host is going to say they don’t support them so it’s the absence from the feature list that should alert you. Even then it may not be clear. I came across a web host just the other day that listed PHPmyAdmin among its features (PHPmA is a tool for managing MySQL databases) but did not mention databases. I queried the database provision with the host who told me they didn’t support them! Not much use for PHPmyAdmin then.

One database is often enough because most scripts can share databases by means of prefixing table names to identify the ones they use uniquely. However, some scripts insist on having their own. It is also easier to manage, backup, restore and troubleshoot separate databases. Unless you are 100% certain that you are never going to need a database then steer clear of any plan that does not include at least one, no matter how good the rest of the plan looks!

But I want to be brilliantsite.com not brilliantsite.hostname.tld!

Most free hosts offer, as a baseline, a subdomain of their own domain on which your website will reside. These days though, most people want to host their own domain(s). Even if you are just starting out and are content to use brilliansite.hostname.tld there will come a time when you want to have your own unique identity. Make sure the hosting provider supports the addition of your own domain to your account – preferably more than one since once you have the domain-buying bug you’ll probably never get rid of it!

I’ve signed up and now I find that my host doesn’t support ASP (or whatever)!

This is why it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do with your site before getting your hosting account. Let’s say you want to run a forum. Research the forum software you want to use: find one you like, maybe by looking at other sites, and check out the forum’s home website for details of its requirements before you make a decision. The one you want may not run on a Windows server, or it may need ASP and hate PHP scripting. If at all possible, choose a host that offers what you need for your planned site, don’t chose a host and then make compromises to fit with their server configuration.


About: anupbhai888

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *