April 30th, 2011
The search for suitable web hosting is somewhat similar to the whole dating game. Some people find their partners early in life and never have to look again. Other people keep trying for most of their lives, and never seem able to find the perfect match.
The point here is that there is no right or wrong kind of web host or package. It is just a question of matching the site’s needs and budget against what’s available. Of course, there are many more factors involved, in terms of technological choices and the company’s reputation and level of service.
A good place to start is by understanding the standard types of hosting available. This means choosing a server that is either shared, VPS, dedicated or on a cloud. Which one is best is a question that can be answered by matching the type against the customer’s needs and the budget available to pay for the hosting.
A small company that simply wants to have an online presence with a few product descriptions/pictures or a single person who wants to put up a personal website/blog will usually make do with shared hosting. It costs very little and the choice of packages all offer the basic resources required to run a site such as domain hosting, FTP access, and a control panel, at the very least. Within shared hosting, there are still multiple choices that can affect the future of a website.
Since many customers will be sharing bandwidth, space, etc. On the same server, there is no real scope for customization once the package has been bought. This means the choices have to be made in advance, including whether to opt for a Windows or Unix/linux server, and the ability to run scripts that need PHP/mysql. The customer also has to decide how many POP3 email accounts, domains, etc. Need to be hosted, and choose a package that offers the requisite number.
Larger companies and older sites will necessarily need a lot more access to server resources. Their traffic is much bigger so bandwidth needs are higher, and the site will need ongoing customization and heavy security which may not be possible on a shared server. This calls for a dedicated server where the customer has complete administrative control and exclusive use of the speed and power of the server. Of course, all this comes at a price that is very much higher than the cost of web hosting on a shared server.
Next comes the part where the company’s customer service has to be checked out. Test how fast the pages load, and find out whether existing customers are having problems with support or other technical/financial/legal issues. It’s not so hard to verify, considering that web hosting review sites offer user reviews for almost every web host on the planet.
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