Hosting Services on the Internet thank-you with our FREE eBook!
Your Privacy is protected.
This guide takes you through the decision-making process of choosing the best web hosting service for whatever you’re looking to accomplish, whether it’s to host one website, or many.
Make the right decision before choosing with a web host to eliminate disasters before they happen. Here’s everything you’ll need to know, to get started!
So, you’ve chosen a great domain name or two (or fifty) and are ready to start building away. Looks like it’s time to take the plunge and enter the world of web hosting! What fun.
Before you even think about signing up for a web hosting service, you’ll need to find out more about what you want right now, and think about what you’ll most likely need in the future. You’ll also need a budget.
Choose a Web Hosting Service That Has You Covered
You’ll have to decide what it is you want, before you even start looking at web hosting services and their plans. What you’re looking to do will greatly affect what you should or shouldn’t sign up for!
What kind of site(s) will you be managing? A blog? Small business site? Video sharing site? Social networking site? Online gaming site? Web directory? An affiliate store? Or, are you looking to get into the hosting business, yourself? Different kinds of sites require different kinds of resources.
It helps when your sites are already up and running, and their past data performance is available so that you can gauge what resources you need. Otherwise, it’s best to start off small and upgrade only if you’re approached to do so by your web host.
Are you moving an existing website over? Or, are you simply looking to create new websites from scratch? Websites that have to be moved over might require knowledge on your end to move the live sites from one server to another. Other web hosts will offer this to you as a free service for signing up with them.
What’s the most you’re willing to spend, per month? $25? $100? $250? Heavy resources cost significantly more. This is why it’s best to be mindful of your site’s current traffic and resource use (or, a good estimate of both if the sites have never gone live before). It will greatly impact your wallet!
Do you need your own server? Or, would you mind having your websites reside on a server box with dozens of other customers, to save on cost? Most people starting out simply will not need a dedicated server, since small business sites typically use little resources. However, heavily visited sites with large bandwidth usage may have no choice but to go ‘dedicated.’
Do you know how to install a website by yourself? Or, would you prefer using a program that will do it for you? Most web hosts offer different server-side software packages that will auto-install programs like WordPress and Drupal for you with a single click…no manual FTP file manipulation needed!
Do you need someone to manage the server for you? Or, are you a quick learner, and good with computers on at least an intermediate level? Running a server is not a simple task for a beginner, it will require at least a beginner’s knowledge of cPanel. Having a web host that offers free 24/7 ticket-based support will be a life saver.
Think Ahead: Save Yourself From A Potential Headache
As in a chess game, it’s important to think ahead when choosing a web host. Things change. With high success comes high profile issues, and higher operating costs. What will you do?
Some kinds of websites use more server resources than others. Two major resources you’ll need to know about are bandwidth (the data rate outputted by your site, measured every time someone views a page, watches a video, hears an MP3 or downloads something), and disk space (the total amount of data saved to your hosting account).
While disk space is usually not a problem for most commonplace sites, bandwidth can tend to be the first thorn in your side as a site grows. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your site typically involves the download and/or upload of many large files like videos, music, print-ready graphic files, or allows for user-uploaded and downloaded content – your bandwidth is going to crank into overdrive if it gets popular enough.
What Kind of Site(s) Do You Run?
IX Webhosting: 25% off all Hosting Packages of 1 year or More with PROMO CODE: CHiLL
Here’s a list of various kinds of websites, with an approximation of how resource-intensive they are. Find the category your site is in, and you’ll have a better idea of where your site is headed:
There are three main categories of hosting: shared, VPS and dedicated. As you may have expected, all three have wildly different pricing ranges, and offer select amounts of service offerings.
About Shared Hosting
With Shared hosting, you’ll be “sharing” space on a server box with other customers. It could be dozens of other customers – the limit is set by the web hosting service themselves, and they usually stop adding customers to a server when they believe it is ‘full enough.’ These days, shared hosting is dirt cheap. It’s not uncommon to see it for well under $10/month, making it the obvious choice for someone running less than a handful of small websites.
About VPS Hosting
Liquid Web Managed VPS Hosting: only $10 First Month on 1GB plan- or $40 off any VPS plan! Powered by SSD and Free SSL! Free Domain! Fully Managed! Best in Class Support!
VPS or “Virtual Private Server” hosting gives a portion of a dedicated server to you, the paying customer. VPS typically offers more resources and also comes with managed services, so that you won’t have to get up at 3 AM and run server commands when your server goes down. All VPS providers upgrade the server software for you — something you’d have to do on your own if you had your own box. Read more about finding the best VPS host for your purposes, if this route interests you.
Cutting-Edge VPS Hosting at Reduced Prices
About Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting means the entire server is yours, and yours alone. You don’t actually own the server hardware, nor will you ever see the box in person – but you’re the only one who uses that box. You have the option of managing the box itself through an administration panel (for an extra price). All of the resources being used on the server box (memory, disk space and bandwidth) are only being used by your sites alone.
You may have already thought that “shared” hosting sounds pretty awful – but in actuality, a site running on a shared server and a comparable one running on a dedicated server may have an unnoticeable performance difference! It depends greatly on the hardware you’re using, and in the case of the shared option – how much its resources are already being used by your colleagues.
The only practical time to get a dedicated server is when you are running a massive site, especially a video hosting site or any other high traffic + high bandwidth site, that is a resource hog. Otherwise, you will be spreading your profit margin very thin, as the cost of dedicated hosting typically starts at approximately $2,200 per year! Determine how long it will take to break even with such a cost, if you intend on doing so.
It doesn’t stop at simply shared or dedicated servers – there’s yet another option for dedicated server subscribers: managed servers.
About “Managed” Service
If your service is “managed,” it means that it comes with a simple interface that allows you to administer the many facets of your server account. You can restart services without having to put in a support ticket, you can set your own weekly backups, and do a number of many other things. Managed service is worth its weight in gold, and it would be foolish to ignore this feature!
Un-managed service typically requires the person using the server account to know Linux or Unix commands. So, if you don’t have a Computer Science degree or code for a living, this probably doesn’t include you.
One more thing, there are “semi-managed services” these days. It’s practically common with higher-end hosting packages, such as VPS and dedicated. With semi-managed, you’ll have 24/7 support ticket access where a representative will be there to help out with minor server issues that are over your head. Be sure to choose a web hosting service that at least has semi-management, because everyone should have a backup plan if something goes terribly wrong — such as a hacker attack, data loss or a runaway script.Do you know how to back up a website and database?
Many webmasters would call this a “good problem,” unless, of course, we’re talking about a site that uses a lot of traffic but pays out very little. While web traffic does not always equate to big payoffs, it may result in big expenses.
The three categories of websites that are infamously known as being expensive to upkeep and difficult to monetize are video sites, social networking sites and gaming sites. All three, when well developed and heavily visited, will surely result in high operating costs just for the bandwidth alone. Don’t forget, if your RAM isn’t what it used to be, you’ll be paying a very hefty amount for an upgrade.
Can you afford it?
That’s the question of the day. The best way to handle a situation like this is to take the web hosting service you’ve decided upon, and look at all of their pricing tiers. Calculate the annual cost of each plan, as compared with the annual revenue from your sites, and see if you’re happy with your current profit margin. Do the sites pay for themselves, or are you going ‘into the red?’ Can you kick in the cost through any of your other income sources?
If your site is using more bandwidth than you’ve been contracted for – you’ll assuredly get an immediate email from the hosting company. In these cases, you’ll have to either remedy the issue (which is usually impossible to do), or be forced to upgrade your hosting plan to the next tier…or else.
This is the fate that has befallen anyone who has unexpectedly achieved a first page ranking on Google for a major keyword, or has been mentioned on a major news source that has resulted in many days of residual traffic and exposure. In other words, it can happen anytime, any day! So, before you choose your web hosting service, make sure their bandwidth limitations can cover anything unexpected like this.
Unmetered bandwidth…sounds great! Right? Wrong… as your intuition may have suggested, there’s no such thing as “unlimited” anything, as it all comes from somewhere and does something once it becomes “too much.”
The “Unlimited” Farce
One of the biggest trends in webhosting was the “unlimited bandwidth and disk space” hook. While this may be true, there’s a good deal of fine print behind it, as there are OTHER attributes being monitored and limited. For instance, unlimited providers will typically cap off the number of “inodes” (files) being accessed per month. In this sense, a “file” is being defined under Unix lingo as “any file, directory or file system object.” As you might have imagined, you’ll be using an awful lot of these things, as your entire site is made up of them, and is being accessed constantly, multiple times, by every visitor who visits your site every day.
Penalties for Resource Draining
Another attribute that is secretly being limited in an “unlimited bandwidth” plan is your CPU usage. Most hosts will throw a red flag if you’re using around 20-25% of the shared server’s CPU for more than a minute or so. If you’re using a decent host, you’ll get fair warning. Many others will simply shut your site down, and you’ll really be in hot water. This, of course, is all food for thought, and hopefully explains the “red tape” over the attractive word known as “unlimited.”
These are the “need to know” terms when researching a web hosting service, along with several must-have services:
There’s a dizzying number of other web hosting services out there today – ranging from Fortune 500 companies to privately-owned “basement” services.
It all comes down to this: you’ll want to go with one of the biggest web hosts, because they won’t close their doors by next week. They’ll also be concerned with their online reputation, and this truly is a field where customer service is everything (and these companies know it will make or break them).
Some services have notoriously been known for poor customer service, unexpected account closings and other issues. Other companies have dabbled in the field of web hosting, although it was never their primary business offering — companies like GoDaddy and 1&1 are famous for being great domain name hosts, but less than stellar web hosts.
What’s the Best Web Hosting Service?
The answer to this question is subjective, and it depends on many factors like customer service & response time, quality of service and obviously what you get for the price tag. It’s always best to go with a big brand name web host that won’t go out of business in the short-run, or neglect its customers.
Finding the best web host is completely up to you — you’ll have to do the legwork to see which host offers the most relevant hosting packages for your scenario, and gives you the best feeling in regard to their emergency tech support and customer service.
Top Service Providers for “Shared” Hosting
Shared hosting has become extremely affordable these days, with the most notable providers being Hostgator and BlueHost. The cost of shared hosting has dropped so dramatically over the past decade, and it’s not uncommon to find price tags of $6 per month or less.
Top Service Providers for “VPN” Hosting
VPS has been the forefront way for small to medium sized businesses, web designers and at-home entrepreneurs to host their multiple websites. It’s very affordable, and the cheapest pricing tiers offer more services than most people would ever use. Today’s giants in the VPS world are ServInt, KnownHost and LiquidWeb, all of which are identically notable in dedicated hosting as well. Hosting Services On The Internet: A Web Hosting Service hopes this helps you narrow down what service is going to be best for you?
FREE Giveaway to all NEW SUBSCRIBERS!