Choosing a Web Host

Web Hosting
Once you have your website finished and you have purchased your domain name, you need to start thinking about what sort of Hosting Package will best suit your business needs. There are all sorts of things to think about; web space, data transfer, PHP and MySQL, web statistics, mail boxes, the list goes on. But what does all this mean and how do you find out if a hosting provider supplies your requirements.
Web Space
This relates to the amount of storage space in megabytes (MB) that the hosting provider allocates for your website on there server.
Data Transfer (Bandwidth)
This is the amount of traffic your website is allowed to receive per month. To work this out you take the amount of data transfer that they offer and divide it by the overall size of your website. Therefore if the data transfer is 10,000 MB (10GB) and your website size is 4MB.
10000/4 = 2500
This figure represents the total number of visitors your website is allowed to receive, if they read every page of your website. Your web designer will be able to tell you the size of your website, and your hosting provider will discuss your requirements and advise you which package would best suit your needs.
Mail Boxes
A mail box stores all e-mails from your customers on your hosting providers mail server until you download it using a client such as Outlook Express or Mozilla Thunderbird.
This is done by attaching your e-mail address to the mail server. Ask your provider for details.
SSL – secure server access
This facility allows you to accept data securely via your website, like credit card transactions, without fear of someone else getting hold of it.
MySQL
MySQL is a multi user database server that stores all kinds of information. Not all hosting packages provide this facility. Check with your chosen provider for details.
Web Statistics
These packages allow you to check how many visitors your website receives, what browsers they are using, the referring website and a whole host of other information. It’s a worth while addition to your website. Some hosting providers offer this feature for free. Check with them for information.
There are lots of other features that come with web hosting packages and this information can usually be found on the provider’s website.
Free or Paid
Some hosting providers offer free hosting packages but there are usually conditions attached to them. They could include the following:
Free
1. The URL or website address could show signs of free hosting like www.freewebhosting.yourname.co.uk. These sorts of URL’s are not very professional and you loose your company identity.
2. Web space and Data transfer are both usually low. Your website could be taken offline until the following month if bandwidth is exceeded or you could be charged for any bandwidth used over your allowance. Always read the terms and conditions.
3. Hosting providers offering free packages usually place banner or pop up advertising on your website. This can be very confusing and annoying you your customers and drive them away from your site.
4. Features such as PHP, MySQL databases, sub domains, SSL secure server access and more are usually not available when using free website hosting.
Paid
1. You can use your own domain name (URL) with the hosting package. You can usually purchase them from the provider.
2. You can usually gat 24/7 support
3. Uptime is the amount of time the web hosting servers are online. Sometimes maintenance work can mean their servers are offline for a short while.
4. You can choose a package that supplies the correct amount of web space and data transfer.
5. Lots of features are usually offers. Check with the provider.
6. A control panel is usually offered so that you are in control of managing your hosting package.
So there you have it. Just a few things to think about when choosing a website hosting company. Remember, it’s your company and its reputation that’s at stake. If you project the right image your customers will want to stay at your website. Projecting an unprofessional image could drive them away, and after spending good money on a wonderful website design it would be a pity to spoil it.
Good Luck

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