Web Hosting 101: Web Hosting Ideas Every Website Owner Should Know
If you are serious about your business, make sure that your website is in good hands. Choosing the right web site host is the best decision you can make. Any server downtime can greatly ruin your business and limit your chances of growing your customer base.
Sometimes, hosting a website can be such a confusing experience for website owners, especially the first timers. If this is your first time dealing with web hosting, it can seem like a maze of jargon floating around in the technical world. Here are some web hosting ideas you need to know.
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You Get What You Pay For
With web hosting, what you pay for is exactly what you get in most cases. If you go for a cheap web host, you’re most likely to get cheap services which include poor customer support, low bandwidth, and servers that crash more often than your PC.
Cheap is expensive. Beware of all the catch phrases in that advertisement banner. If you are serious about your business, you must also be serious about the host who is going to host your website. It is not difficult for people to fall prey to a bunch of spammers who will extract your private information, force advertisement banners on your pages, and extract your customers’ information, in the name of cheap web hosting offers.
It is quite unfortunate that many business people often care too much about the dollar side of web hosting services at the expense of quality and professionalism. Choosing a web hosting service that will ensure your privacy, efficiency, and availability should be a priority of any web site owner. However, it is still possible to get a web hosting company that offers great services at a cheap price.
Understand the “Free Domain” Gimmick
Buying a domain name independently against using a free domain offered by the web hosting provider is one of the toughest decisions you may have to deal with. It is critical that you understand how this works out before committing yourself to either of the options. The idea of getting a free domain name from your web hosting provider sounds great but there are questions you need to ask yourself.
- How long do you plan to use the domain name?
- Who will own the domain name?
- How much will it cost for subsequent renewals?
Unless you are planning to use the domain name for a short campaign period, and you don’t intend to renew it afterwards, it is not advisable to go for the free domain name being offered by the web hosting company and here is why:
You may find yourself in unforeseen difficulties if you decide to change your hosting company in future as you may not be able to access the domain registration information. That means the domain name is ‘free’ for you to use, but the ownership of the domain name remains with the web hosting company.
Essentially, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you are stuck with the web hosting company forever, or you are forced to pay a hefty fee to buy back the domain name.
Understand Domain Name Registration
Many people underestimate the concept of domain name registration. As a matter of fact, a domain name entails many things that will affect you in a number of ways in the future. Just like the web hosting services provide you with many options, a domain name also provides you with different features.
Therefore, not all domain registration companies have the same features. So, beware of those registrars that entice you with cheap prices because you may find that they lack some features. A good domain name should come with the following features at no extra costs.
- Should include your own control panel
- URL Redirection – It should make it possible for you to forward your domain name to another web address
- Email Forwarding for multiple addresses
- Full DNS control
- Sub domains
- Registrar Lock
If you buy a cheap domain name, chances are that you will have to folk out extra cash for the above features whenever you need them.
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Differentiate Between Domain Name and Hosting
If you are new on this, it may get confusing. Nonetheless, the difference between the two has already been hinted above. All we are saying here is that it is not necessary that your web hosting company should also sell (or freely offer) you a domain name as well. You have the option of buying a domain name separately and forward it to your web hosting provider.
That domain names don’t have to be registered at the same web hosting company does not mean you cannot do it. All we are saying is that you need to do a comprehensive research into the whole thing so that you understand what you are getting out of it. Remember a domain name is your only online identity, and that is why you need to do more home work on it. In fact, it is the most irreplaceable online asset you can ever have.
Web hosting companies will naturally urge their customers to register their domain name with them, but you should also not forget that it is profitable for them. Therefore, you should find out whether it will be convenient for you to do that. For example, are your prepared to lose your domain name if the web hosting company goes down or you decide to migrate to another web hosting company?
Understand the Different Web Hosting Options Available
Before you buy a product, you must understand its features and know whether it is going to satisfy your needs. In the same way, the type of web hosting services you choose depends on your unique needs, which includes things like the size of your web site’s files, the number of visitors your expect, your preferred operating system and the nature of web site you intend to put up.
In that case, it would be great if you understood the different web hosting options available before signing up for one. There are 5 types of web hosting services available:
a. Free Web Hosting
Well, free web hosting is free. This type of hosting is normally provided by web hosting companies as a way of giving their customers opportunities to taste their services. Otherwise, free web hosting services are suitable for those people who don’t anticipate a lot of traffic to their site.
Free web hosting services are best suited for non-commercial sites such as personal journals, photography, and so on. You expect to find the following features in a free web host:
- Low connection speed
- Limited storage space
- Frequent website downtime
- Advertisement appearing on your pages
- Limited technical support
- Low security options
- Limited software and apps options
- Limited number of pages
- You cannot use AdSense
- Limited database and statistics support
While some companies would require you to purchase a domain name in order to use their services, most of them will let you use a subdomain name under them.
b. Shared/Virtual Hosting
With shared hosting, server space and other resources are shared with other web sites. Shared web hosting is one of the cheapest web hosting services and one of the most commonly used.
The only disadvantage with it is that you are bound to experience web site downtime especially if you share server with gambling or pornographic web sites. The following are some of its features:
- Low cost
- Own domain usage
- Good technical support
- Frequent website downtime
- Multiple software usage option
- Limited security due to sharing server with many sites
- Limited database support
- Best for small business with not so huge traffic<br>
c. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting is the opposite of shared hosting, here, you have a server dedicated to yourself. It is one of the most expensive web hosting services, but with it you can be assured of maximum security and efficiency.
However, with dedicated server, you are responsible for its maintenance and cost of operation. It is best suited for web sites that require many resources as well as those with high traffic.
The following are the features of dedicated web hosting service:
Good for large business with high traffic such as Amazon, EBay, e.t.c
Multiple domain name options
Powerful email solutions
Great database support
Unlimited software support
- Requires expert skills
d. Collocated Hosting
In this type of hosting, one purchases a server, and have it hosted at a web host’s facilities. Here, you have full control of your server, and you can decide to do anything with it such as installing applications you need, add more ram and disk space, install a better perfuming CPU, and so on.
The following are features of collocated hosting:
Requires expert skills
Great database support
Unlimited software support
Harder to configure and debug
- High security
e. Reseller Hosting
Reseller web hosting is for webmasters and online entrepreneurs who want to resell their own web hosting services to those who need them. Those who have many websites can also take this option as it will enable them to manage many websites from one central location.
Having looked at that, it is best to look at the features being offered by the type of web host you want to sign up with. For example, you need to take into consideration your budget, type of business you are engaged in and the bandwidth (as well as disk space) you need.
Once you have selected a given type of web hosting you need, you can compare different offers from different companies. Suppose you decide that you want to deal with shared web hosting, you will realize that there are different companies offering that type of web hosting services. Therefore it is good you understand the features being offered.
Aside from that, you might also find the following suggestions invaluable when dealing with web hosting services:
Don’t go for long term contracts. Unless you are 100% sure what you will be doing in 5 years, it is advisable to go for short term contracts like one year rather unless you trust the web host. In most cases, you’ll be given ridiculously high discounts for longer periods like 2 years, 3 years, 5 years…
Consider the Payment method. Most people prefer PayPal as a means of payment rather than credit cards as it is more convenient and safer. But if you trust the company, you don’t have any reason to worry.
- Always backup your files. You definitely can’t rely on your web host 100%. It can be considered unwise to fail to back up your online files in other places such as your PC. You never can tell what will happen in future.
You should tailor the web hosting package according to your business. Don’t rush and talk to the various companies before you opt for one as your final solution. If your business is a large scale venue, you should ask your host provider to provide technically-educated personnel to manage your hosting, if you are not capable to do it yourself. Remember that your web hosting is the main foundation of your online venue – make it a quality and lasting one.
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