Web hosting packages are not a one size fits all. The first thing you need to do is to think about your website and the audience that will be viewing it. Answer these questions:
- What image do you want to project with your website? (A website is like a store front in it is the source your visitors will use to create their first impression about you or your business.)
- Will your site be a personal site; a place to create a community to share family photos, music and more; an online journal; a sales site; an online brochure for your business; a means to create an interactive environment with your visitor; or something else?
- What scripts will you run to provide the experience you wish your visitors to have?
- Are you experienced in building web pages or do you need a site building program that uses a What You See Is What You Get interface for you?
- Do you need the ability to upload your site with your FTP client or will a web based FTP client be good enough?
- Will you need additional FTP accounts so others can upload or download files in a controlled environment?
- Will you need any MYSQL databases?
- Will you need CGI?
- Will you need PHP?
- Will you need sub domains?
- How much disk space will you need for your website, images and any data files you’ll be using?
- How much bandwidth do you think you’ll use each month?
- How many email accounts do you think you’ll need?
- Will you want to have more than one domain associated with your hosting account?
- How good is the support being offered? Does the hosting company quickly respond to your questions before you get an account?
- Does the hosting company’s website make claims that are hard to believe? Examples: Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage or 100% up time guarantee.
These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you begin looking for a hosting service.
As you begin to answer these questions and define your needs, you will be able to narrow down the number of hosting companies that will fit your needs.
A Little About Servers
Servers are similar to our home computers in many ways. Servers are:
- made up of components that can and do fail at times.
- using an operating system that has to be upgraded at times.
- running software that needs to, periodically, be upgraded.
- potential targets for viruses, hackers or other unauthorized uses just like your home computer.
- running software programs that can crash, create conflicts or cause seemingly illogical malfunctions.
- often networked together so more site visitors can access your website without the server crashing because its resources have been completely used up.
- connected to the through Internet Service Providers just like you.
- relying on electricity for power.
- utilizing hubs that are outside of the network operations facility.
Every time one or more of the above fails, your site may be taken offline for a few minutes to a few hours. A software upgrade may just require a rebooting of the server. (Usually a short downtime.) A power outage or other natural disaster might cause extended downtime. Many of the hardware components can be changed while the server is still running with other servers or redundant systems handling the load temporarily but there are times the server will be down completely until the part or parts are rep[laced and the server rebooted and configured.
Example: The hard drive fails and a new one is installed. This requires the restoration of a backup. The entire operating system and all scripts that were installed must be checked to make sure they accept the new configuration.
Think about everything that has or can go wrong on your home computer and magnify it many times because a server serves many users 24/7 all at the same time. When they have a failure, people from all over the country or world may be affected.
Knowing everything that can, and often does happen, do you think an up time guarantee is realistic even with back up generators, backed up software and redundant hardware?
Do not let price be your only guide because I’ve tried a number of the sub $10 hosting companies and I can tell you none of them were able to meet the 99.7% to 99.9% up time guarantees the site stated and getting support often meant a 48 hour wait.
I recommend finding what fits your needs and budget. I strongly recommend you give Speedlix a close look to see if they have a package that fits your needs.
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