Choosing a Hosting Plan for Your New Website

Selecting a hosting plan is a critical step when you want to start up a website.  Prior posts from me were about domain name choice and website creation.  Now let’s talk a little about hosting:  Choosing a hosting plan is a primary step in launching your fledgling web presence.

The next step after creating your website is to make it live on the internet, or publish it.  In order to do so, you will need a hosting plan.  By purchasing a domain name you have branded, or named your website.  You own the name, but now you must pay rent to someone to actually get your website online.  To make your website live on the internet you will be paying a service provider to publish it for you.  That’s what a hosting plan is.  This article covers what to look for in a hosting plan.

SERVICE  The most important consideration is the level of service provided.  Bells and whistles and fancy features will do you no good if you can’t get customer service in a timely fashion.  Once your website is live on the internet you will want it to be up all the time.  Strategically the best thing you can do for your website upfront is to choose a hosting company that is reliable in terms of customer service as well as “uptime”.

UPTIME  What is the hosting company’s “uptime guarantee”? Many guarantee 99% uptime for their servers.  Even at 99% average uptime it can mean that your website will be off the internet for over 7 hours per month. If at all possible, choose a host guaranteeing up to 99.9% uptime.

SIZE  How large will the website be?  One of the determining factors for the price of most hosting plans is the amount of space required to store the website on their server’s hard drive.  If your website will be media rich with videos or music or photo files, or a large e-commerce site with a lot of catalogue pages, you will have to take space into consideration as a criteria for choosing the right hosting plan.

LINUX OR WINDOWS  Which operating system should your hosting plan use?  BTW it does not matter what operating system you are using on your personal computer.  What programming language was used in the Web site design?  For example, if you designed a website using ASP or ASP.NET, you’ll need to find a Windows hosting plan. If you have a Web site that uses CGI or PHP, you’ll need to get a Linux hosting plan.  Note that if you are simply publishing a basic html website, the choice of hosting Operating system won’t really matter as much until you get into more advanced languages such as PHP or ASP.

TRAFFIC  How much traffic or how many visitors do you expect monthly?  Most hosting providers sell their hosting plans on a sliding scale according to bandwith usage.  The more visitors or traffic you expect on your site, the higher the bandwidth you will need, and the more the plan will cost.  Usually the best way to proceed here is to start with a basic low bandwidth plan, and upgrade later as the traffic begins to flow to the website.

SHARED OR DEDICATED HOSTING  Whether or not to choose shared hosting over dedicated hosting comes down to the following:  A shared hosting plan is exactly as it sounds, and means that your website will be stored on a server along with lots of other websites.  In this hosting format you generally have no ability to make changes to the resident software on the system, meaning you cannot change or upgrade the operating system, or the database management system, etc.  You will have to work within the software structure provided by the hosting company.  Dedicated or virtual dedicated hosting is different in the sense that you will have full control over the environment that your website resides in, and you will have the only access to that space.  In other words, you would determine what operating system to use, what type database management software, what type of blog software, what type shopping cart, etc., etc.  Generally customer support will be low to non-existent, since this type of hosting is geared to the advanced user who will be using his own custom setup.  The best advice I can give to the newbie is to use shared hosting at first, until you gain more experience and abilities and are ready to take the plunge into something as advanced as dedicated hosting.

At our uptime guarantee is 99.9% and we offer 24/7 customer service.  We also have a selection of shared, dedicated, and virtual dedicated hosting plans to suit all budgets and sizes and types of websites. To see what is available, click HERE: Hosting plans.