What is hosting?
A hosting account provides a home for your website on web servers, which are stored in a secure, climate controlled environment and are connected to the Internet so that other people on the Internet can view your website. You can look at your website as a front office and Hosting as the back office/ storage centre that houses the information, images, video and other content that comprises your website. Barring technical problems, a web host operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that anybody in the world can access your web site at any time. Web site hosting is typically measured in the amount of disk space you’re given on the server and the amount of data transfer (bandwidth) you need for accessing the server. If you have a lot of customer traffic at your website ie. file downloads, you’ll access the server fairly frequently and therefore need more website hosting transfer space than someone who puts only readable text on their web site. The more “items” or “content” you are hosting on your site (ie photos, maps, PDF files etc) the more disk space you’ll need for your website and domain hosting. A web server must have fast connections to be able to serve pages quickly. For the greatest speed and reliability try to find a host that has multiple high speed connections as well as reliable back up power supplies in case of power outages.
The purpose of web hosting is practicality. Web hosting companies provide simple access to the internet for anyone who creates a site and wants it seen by millions. There are plenty of web hosting types: *Shared *Reseller *Virtual Private Servers *Dedicated Servers *Colocation and Clustered Web Hosting. Unless you plan to host a site with thousands of video files, you don’t need fancy and expensive hosting. Just sign up for a basic shared web hosting package. Look at user reviews and testimonials for the web’s most popular hosting providers.
Shared hosting is the most popular type of web hosting for small businesses and personal use such as blogs. Most websites you see on the web are accessed from a “shared host”, which is a single computer that can host several hundred web sites. Larger websites often use a “dedicated host”, which is a single machine that hosts only one website. Extremely high traffic sites such as Microsoft.com use several computers to host one site. A number of businesses and organisations offer web hosting services and the prices can range from free to hundreds of dollars a year. You usually pay a monthly fee that varies depending on how much disk space and bandwidth your site will use. Focusing on price is only one factor that you should be looking at when choosing a provider. There are many other factors that may be more important than immediate cost.
These are the top five Hosting companies but there are others that may suit your needs.
HostGator was established in 2002 and has been a world-leading provider of web hosting services. They provide top-notch service to clients from over 200 countries internationally. They deal with both the business and home user and their prices are very good and have various packages to suit individuals needs.
Hosting from $3.95 per month.
JustHost is a web hosting company that was established in 2008 in California. In it’s short lifetime, the company has grown substantially and become one of the main web-hosting websites on the internet. The company was started to provide customer-friendly and cheap web hosting and reseller hosting to individuals and businesses.
Hosting from $4.95 per month.
Ipage has been hosting business, personal, social and non-profit websites for more than 10 years. They know web hosting and the typical hosting customer, which means Ipage know there is NO typical hosting customer. That’s why IPage offers a great deal of flexibility, without over-complicating things.
Hosting from $4.50 per month.
Since 1998 FatCow has provided reliable hosting services for individuals and businesses. Whether you’re looking for a small business web host or domain name for your business
Hosting from $4.67 per month.
GoDaddy was founded in 1997 as Jomax Technologies by Bob Parsons. He owned and sold a software company called Parsons Technology. The sale provided him with several millions of dollars in the mid-1990s. As a result, Parsons decided to retire. In 1997 Bob came out of his retirement to launch a new company, Jomax Technologies, which became GoDaddy.
Hosting from $4.99 per month.
Free hosting usually offers limited services and can be a major security risk. They often place advertising on your website leaving you with little control over what kind of ads show up. Also, free hosts may restrict the content you place on your site. You may not be able to sell things or have certain content such as videos or music. Your website may also disappear overnight – when your hosting company vanishes, your website goes with it. Consider what providers will charge you when your site grows larger and attracts more than a few hundred or thousand a month. Some hosting providers charge a very low rate for your initial site but then bump the price up when your needs grow. Generally speaking the more you pay the more you get, but high rates don’t always translate as high service. Some of the lower priced hosts offer reliable, stable environments that allow your website to be accessed day in day out for years. Higher rates should bring you more storage space, more bandwidth to handle internet traffic and more services such as databases, email accounts, mass mailers, and the ability to add custom scripts. Higher rates can also mean better technical service if you have problems with your website.
Excellent technical support for your website is one of the most important issues to be met. Support is needed for putting pages onto the server, for answering questions about your site, and for solving problems with fast access, and uptime (how long the service is on the air trouble free) etc. Don’t be afraid to call customer support if you are having issues. You are paying for the space with the provider and also the support, so always use it if needed. Do not sign up for a host unless they provide customer’s with 24/7 phone and internet support. If they cannot provide this, they won’t be reliable. They should also have a good collection of tutorials and FAQs readily on their site in case you need help. Always look into the support providers offer for each type of web hosting option that interests you. Web-related consulting and Site services: Some providers (even those that offer some services for free) may offer other web-related services that they charge for separately eg. hosting business sites or managing your site for you, so be aware that a less expensive hourly rate may not mean a lower total bill at the end of the month. There are a number of other helpful services that some providers may offer – from simply counting the number of users who visit your site through to creating and running more complex functions that allow you to process data from an online form. Look for a provider that does the simple stuff for you and supports you in doing the more complex functions yourself.
How fast can users access your website? And how fast can users download files hosted on the site? Test for yourself. Try accessing some websites hosted by any service you’re considering and see how fast they are, especially at busy times of the day. Then compare to other websites.
Ensure your provider has little or no downtime. Look into the amount “downtime” (off air) of the provider to make sure it’s not a regular occurrence.
Having the ability to switch web hosting providers is crucial. With the right to switch, you can resolve any other problems. Two things can keep you locked into an arrangement with a provider: contractual provisions and control of your domain name. Don’t sign a contract that locks you in for more than a year. Don’t let the web hosting provider register your domain name for you, but then retain ownership of the domain name themselves. It would cause problems with your ability to move your site later.
Make sure your provider has a good track record and is of sufficient size to offer some insurance that is it will be a solid investment for the future, rather than a fly by night company.
Make sure your provider offers basic reporting features eg. the number of visitors your site has each day – for free. This can be very valuable and very telling between one provider and another.
Data transfer fees
Many hosting providers offer some free data transfer, but your costs can rise sharply if traffic at your site increases and data transfer rises above a minimal amount. Compare data -transfer pricing carefully.
If all other things are equal, price is the determining factor. But don’t let yourself get ripped off on the price you pay.
THE KEYFACTORS IN CHOOSING A WEB HOSTING PROVIDER ARE THE FREEDOM TO SWITCH WHEN YOU NEED TO AND HAVING CONTROL OF YOUR DOMAIN NAME.
When signing up for web hosting, to ensure you are protecting your privacy, always check the top of the address bar when entering your credit card information and ALWAYS make sure the address bar starts with https. This means your private info is being protected.
• Most hosting providers offer at leasts a 30 day money back guarantee although others will say anytime.