Article 21

Every business you come across online occupies a storage space on a physical server somewhere. This space comprises the servers owned and managed by web hosting companies. Website owners then rent it at certain rates on monthly or yearly basis in what are known as web host plans and packages.


With numerous web hosting companies advertising their services today, it’s can be quite difficult choosing the right provider for your business. This is exactly what we want to help you avoid by showing you a roadmap for determining your hosting requirements and choosing the most feasible provider for your business needs.



How do I choose the right web host?



For people who are just starting out in online business, it can be quite hard to decide on the most reliable, fast, and secure web hosting for your online business


So, what factors do you need to look out for?


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Your Specific Hosting Needs


Before you can start shopping for web hosts, take a moment and outline what you need for your business. Consider answering the following questions:


What type of website are you developing?

For example, will you be creating an HTML site or WordPress-powered blog?


How much traffic do you anticipate the site will receive in a few months?

You need to be realistic with this as it will help you determine how much resources you want your host to provide.


Are there any technical requirements you need for your site?

Coding languages such as CSS and HTML do not have a lot of demands, but if you are using PHP, you’ll need to look for a host that can cater for that.


How many sites are you planning to create?

If you need to host for more than one site, you need to look for companies that permit it.


Pricing


Another key factor you should consider when choosing a hosting company is your budget. While looking into hosting prices, be sure to dig deeper and beyond the initial monthly fee that is quoted to you. Some web hosts offer cheaper deals to first-time subscribers. After your first billing term runs out, they renew at the normal prices which are often significantly higher.


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One of the common mistakes most people commit is to budget for the introductory price unsuspectingly only to realize later on that they can't keep up with the regular price. Be sure not to fall into this trap.


In the same vein, always compare the prices of other packages that the company offers. The lowest option might be cheaper, but once you decide to upgrade, you end up paying more than you might with other hosts.



Also, some web hosts will add extra services while you are just about to check out. Be keen to avoid getting tied up to bills for unnecessary services such as bins, web statistics, SEO boost, etc.


Finally, consider reading user reviews to see what people say about the price to avoid falling into pitfalls.


Control Panel Features


The control panel provided by a host is another area you need to consider when choosing a provider. A control panel gives you the ability to perform certain tasks such as installing your CMS, setting up an email account, backing up your site, and much more.


To do this easily, even if you don't have the technical knowledge, you need a web host that offers an easy-to-understand control panel. The most popular one here is cPanel. It is straightforward to operate and allows you to handle most tasks required for website maintenance instead of waiting for the technical support to do it for you. This saves you a lot of time so that you can concentrate on growing your site.


Think about it this way. Do you want to wait for 24 hours for your email account to be set up while you can do the job up in 5 minutes or less? If you prefer the latter, then be sure to choose a web hosting company that offers a simple control panel with rich features like 1-click auto-installer for programs. Platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal can be challenging to install, especially for people without technical knowledge. For instance, installing WordPress requires you to install the blog software, create a database, and then link the database to the blog software.


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Luckily, a good host should do all this work for you by providing you with programs like Fantastico or Softaculous. These two make installing useful tools and CMS a breeze and the reason you should insist on using a host that supports at least one of them.


Customer Support


Whether you are just starting out or a veteran, you’ll inevitably need technical support from your host at some point. Now picture this – you need urgent help, say after realizing your site has been hacked, but you cannot reach your host. Needless to say, this can be incredibly frustrating not to mention costly in some cases.


It's good to test the technical support by emailing them a question to see how long they take to respond and how friendly their support staff is. Whenever possible, look for web hosting companies whose support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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Also, look for hosts that offer various ways of reach like a toll-free number, email support, a live chat, or ticketing system. Most companies also offer a knowledgebase section where you get the most common problems and solutions. Search your queries to see if there is a tutorial on how to solve your particular problem.


Finally, read reviews from each host you’re eyeing to find out what users say regarding the support they provide. Look for reviews that mention how knowledgeable, timely, or friendly the support was.


Refund Policy


Most modern web hosts offer a money-back guarantee or refund policy for their products, but some are never straightforward on what is refunded. For this reason, ensure you go through the terms and conditions to understand how this offer works including after how long the trial period ends and what happens if you cancel within the trial period. Do you get the whole amount or does cancellation come at a fee?


Also, find out what happens if you cancel after the trial period ends. Some web hosts will provide a prorated refund. Additionally, try to find out if a hosting company offers a 100% refund with no cancellation fee during the trial period. A web host that offers a prorated refund after the trial is a big bonus.


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Availability of Server Upgrade Options


Generally, shared web hosting is a nice place to start if you are just starting out in online business. However, you won’t stay there forever; your business will grow and need more resources. Most companies will advertise that they offer unlimited space and bandwidth for websites on shared hosting; however, it’s important to take these offers with a pinch of salt.


With shared hosting, you are sharing space and bandwidth with other sites. What this means is that if they start getting more traffic, you are going to share these resources. The result is you will get less bandwidth which will negatively affect your website operations.


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If it reaches a point where your site is getting a lot of traffic and you outgrow the resources of a shared hosting environment, you may need to upgrade your hosting plan to boost your resources.


This is the reason it's essential to look for a host that allows more room for growth. Before signing up with your new host, confirm that they offer these upgrades or else you may need to look for a new host when you need more resources.



Virtual Private Server (VPS) offers much better performance than shared server, even though web hosts run many VPS users in the same environment. The advantage with VPS is that it allow you to perform basic server maintenance and management.


Finally, if you’d rather not share performance with other sites, a dedicated server is your best choice. Here, a physical server box is rented to you in its entirety. However, you should be familiar with system management skills to apply for a dedicated server.


Account limitations


You want to hit the most bang for your buck from your web host’s platform. When doing packages research, ensure to pay attention to the fine print. Find out what each plan offers and learn whether you can upgrade to scalable options. Find out exactly what you get with each package.


Some of the account's limitations to consider include:


- Free ecommerce software but with a separate pay for SSL

- Only a few web templates provided to users

- Additional fee for not using the payment processor offered by the host

- No access to customer representatives

- Hefty penalties for exceeding bandwidth limits


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FTP Access


For your business to be visible online, you need to get your files and data uploaded to your web hosting company. One way to do that is through the upload feature located at the control panel dashboard, but this is such time-consuming method as you have to upload one file at a time. A much easier way to do this is to use FTP.


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Using FTP is arguably the most popular method used to upload files. This allows you to transfer data between your computer and web host with much ease. FTP also lets you design your site on your computer before uploading it to your host.


As such, you might want to choose a web host that offers FTP access. Sure, as a beginner, FTP may not sound like a necessity for you. However, at some point, you may realize that not having the feature can cause problems.


SSH Access


Secure Shell Access whose abbreviation is SSH encrypts data moving from your computer to your site's server so that it can't be read if it's intercepted. This is helpful when you want to cut down on your programming development time.


For instance, lack of SSH access means you cannot compile any applications written in programming languages such as C++. You may need to wait for your web host to do this for you, which may take a great deal of time.


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Email Addresses

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Upon opening a web business, you will most likely prefer to have an email address associated with your site like support@yourdomain.com. A good web host allows you to do this.


Also, check out whether the hosting company puts a limit on the number of email accounts allowed. Another important consideration is the amount of space allocated to each email account. It is common for some companies to approve many email accounts but then try to charge for more space when you need it.



In case you need a lot of email space, you need to look for it when picking your hosting company. There are also other things you might want to consider. For instance, you may prefer to forward emails to another account or set up an automatic response. It's good that you find out if the hosting company offers these options.


It’s even better if your company offers IMAP, a new technology that allows more control over your messages. Also, check for spam protection especially from your email.


Company Experience


Paying for hosting space from a newly established company may not be a good idea as you can't tell how reliable their servers are. Some of the new hosting companies tend to offer a low price, sometimes up to half the price of the competition to attract visitors. Be wary of these luring offer unless you get solid guarantees to protect you in case an anomaly occurs. Besides, be sure to look for consumer reviews from social media channels to feel how clients talk about a company.


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Additional Requirements for e-Commerce Websites


Are you considering setting up an online shop? There are two major things to consider to develop a successful eCommerce site. The shopping cart and web hosting. This section will present to you the features to look for when purchasing web hosting for your eCommerce site.


Security features


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Hacking is big business on the internet today. Some people just want to knock down websites for fun. Others want to collect valuable information and money on your site. Usually, they inject code into your website just to put viruses on visitors’ devices or hijack space for advertisements. They may also encrypt or your files and demand a ransom payment to decrypt them. If your site handles customer credit cards or other sensitive data, then it’s essential to have robust security in place.


A secure web host is needed if your website is to enjoy a lower risk of suffering hacking incidences. When choosing a provider therefore, ensure the company runs malware detection and firewalls on their servers. Besides, be sure that the firm also monitors its servers for any unusual activity.


Look for a host that offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. Having one comes in handy for the safety of your customer. In addition to adding a green seal on browsers like Chrome and Firefox, an SSL certificate secures the data files of the website.


A website with an SSL offers safety for credit card transactions, logins, and other delicate data. It binds together the domain, server, and hostname with the company name and location. On the other hand, without it, your site loses trust among customers.


Recently, some browsers like Chrome notify users if your site lacks HTTP by marking it "Not Secure." If you don't have one, Chrome will warn viewers not to proceed to your site before they even open the page they were looking for. Look for companies that include free SSL certificates in their packages.



Our Most Trusted Web Hosts

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