canberra web design

How to choose a web hosting company


 18th Jun 2017   published by: Rob

How to choose a hosting company

Any business that is looking to have a website as the beginning of an online business will certainly have concerns or confusion about web hosting. There are many things that people do not understand about hosting for their web sites. They have no idea what it is all about or how to select the best hosting company.  

When you need to create a website there are 2 essential requirements:

  1. A domain name eg:
  2. Web Hosting

Below is a list of tips about selecting the best website hosting company so you can make wise choices for your online business:

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is where your website files will be stored in much the same way you store files on your personal computer – website files including web pages, images, videos and other resources are stored on special computers called servers.  When you register a domain name it will usually be connected or point to your web hosting so that when someone visits your website the correct pages and other resources will be displayed or “served” to the site visitor.

Do Your Research

When looking for a web hosting company the best place to start is by doing a Google search for Australian web hosting and then check out the reputation of the company by reading online reviews and forums like whirlpool forums for instance, as this will give you an indication of what to expect. Also reps from different hosting companies often chime in on these forums so you can see how they handle different issues. Does the hosting company in question keep getting the same complaints?  Were they catastrophic issues or minor hiccups? Was the problem resolved? You could also visit the forum on the website of the actual web hosting company too to see what problems if any you may encounter.

Hosting Space & Bandwidth

Hosting space refers to the physical storage capacity much like the hard drive on your home computer. This will hold all the files required for your website including video, audio, documents and other resources so the size of these files will dictate your space requirements.

Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred between the hosting servers and the site visitors. If you anticipate a lot of traffic then the bandwidth will need to allow for this. Example bandwidths offered under different plans may be something like 1gb or 5gb per month or unlimited.

Domain registration services

Most web hosting companies also offer domain registration as well as web hosting so you can sign up for both in one go. Alternatively you can choose to register your domain elsewhere if the hosting company is charging too much for domain registration; however you will need to manually change the name server settings on your domain to point to the web host, the web host will usually provide instruction on how to do this. Domain registration prices can vary quite a bit but you can expect to pay around $24 per year, avoid providers that charge 7 – 10 times this amount.

Web Hosting Management

An easy to use hosting management interface is also very important as it allows you to configure and organise things like databases,email accounts and other applications. It is a good idea to check if the web host is running Cpanel which is the most popular web hosting management software otherwise a lesser known system may cause issues for you or your web developer!

Also worthy to note is whether the web host provides the ability to change & configure PHP versions – PHP is a web programming language which is widely used for building dynamic websites and other web based applications like wordpress. The ability to change these configurations will help to avoid compatibility issues in the future.

Web hosting packages

Check with a potential web hosting provider to see what packages they have on offer and compare them with other providers. Most of them come with emails, bandwidth, storage and sometimes marketing tools. Basic packages can start from around $80 per year and advanced packages $300 per year or more, some providers also allow you to “add on” services later as they are needed. It might also be a good idea to see if they offer a trial or a 60 day money back guarantee for example.

Cloud Web Hosting

Cloud webhosting is hosting that utilizes a multiple server network. Basically, this means that your website uses the virtual resources of several servers to accommodate all the aspects of hosting your site. The load is balanced; security is taken care of and results in better website performance. Not all web hosts offer cloud hosting but is worthwhile considering.

In wrapping up, you also need to take into account the pricing and ensure that it fits your budget. Make sure you always choose a trustworthy and popular hosting company with good customer support.