The area of web hosting is yet another fairly area to understand. Consider this, you have a business and you need a place to sell your goods so you buy or lease a brick & mortar building. Without it you wouldn’t have a place to display your products.
Web hosting is similar to this, you have a bunch of pages that make up your website but without a web hosting account you don’t have a place to put them for people to view your site. Web hosting comes in many flavors with all sorts of features that you may or may not need. I’ve tried to list the main features to look for in a web host and given some recommendations as to reliable web hosting providers.
1. 24/7 Online Support:
Probably the most important part when it comes to choosing a hosting provider is support. You could have the greatest product and a hosting provider with all the bells & whistles but if you run into a problem you’ll want a company that you can contact for support to get your site running again.
2. Disk space Matter:
Disk space is the amount of space you’re allotted on a server to publish your website. Going back to our example of a brick & mortar business, it would be saying the building is 3000 square feet as opposed to 1000 square feet. As you can see, the more disk space your allotted the more you can publish to your hosting account.
With that said, depending on what you intend on doing with your website, a ton of diskspace doesn’t make or break a hosting plan. Majority of the websites I run use less than 10gb of space so anything that will get you 50gb or more is sufficient.
Items that add up to use your diskspace are the number of pages, images, any video or audio. Often times hosting providers will also include your email storage as part of your total used so if you’re getting close to your limit you may want to check your email account for any large attachments.
3. Bandwidth (Data Transfer):
Bandwidth is the amount of data that you can transfer between your site and people visiting it. You’ll sometimes bandwidth referred to as data transfer.
Again, the amount of bandwidth used is determined by the content of your website. If you simply have an informational site with a few images your not going to use nearly as much bandwidth if for instance you had a bunch of video on your website. A fair amount of bandwidth would be about 200gb per month.
4. Email Accounts:
Pretty much any hosting provider that you choose will offer email accounts with the hosting plan. This will allow you to have personalized email addresses such as email@example.com. This allows for a professional look along with the ability for brand and name recognition. Generally 10 email accounts will be sufficient. One other thing to consider is web mail, this allows you to check your email from any computer with an internet connection without having to use an email client such as Outlook.
Uptime is the percentage of time that a hosting provider claims that their server is online. You’ll find that majority of the companies out there claim 99.9% which is standard because a hosting company can’t guarantee 100% uptime due to unforeseen power outages and updates.
New to the market is ‘clustered hosting’, this is a setup of servers that allows for very limited downtime. The idea is that if a certain server goes down in their cluster that one of the other servers will take over the traffic until the original server issue is fixed. As I mentioned, this is fairly new to the market so there aren’t too many providers offering this setup yet.
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