Web Hosting General Features
As we’ve seen so far, selecting a web host is not always as easy as it seems to be at first glance. When you start looking through the various websites you will see all kinds of features being offered. While some may be self-explanatory others may not be. This article will provide you with a quick overview of some of the most common features that web hosting companies offer today.
The two main features you will see are Disk Space and Bandwidth. Bandwidth simply refers to the amount of data that is transferred from your website to the server over the course of the month. Disk Space refers to the amount of space the hosting company provides for your site.
Databases are essential as a way to access and retrieve data, the most common one is the MySQL Database. Look for unlimited when it comes to this feature.
Domains – this feature refers to the number of domains you are allowed to host. This can range from just one to unlimited. Choosing a larger plan allows for future growth but will ultimately increase your monthly payment. If you are just starting out selecting a plan with one domain may be sufficient.
Another feature will be the Control Panel, this is often referred to as C Panel and will work a little differently depending upon your web host. Your C Panel allows you to control all aspects of your site. From installing your domain, creating sub-domains, managing email address and installing software and plugins.
Some hosting companies offer a Website builder which will help you get your site up and running. This may or may not be something that you need. If you are planning on running your site on the Word Press platform, it is an unnecessary feature.
1 Click Installs allows you to add platforms, such as Word Press, to your site in literally just one click. This helps to reduce any need for programming on your sites.
Another popular feature is that of the Shopping Cart one, especially if you don’t want to use a third party script. Ecommerce sites require some type of shopping cart so check that the hosting company can support your chosen one.
As you research the topic of web hosting in more depth you will start to see a common thread in some of these features. Think about what your future plans are for your website and then select a plan accordingly. It is much better to upgrade your plan within your hosting company than to have to go through the hassle of moving to a new company down the road.
Tips for Choosing a Web Host
At one time you may have not put much thought who you chose as your web hosting company. In recent months this has all changed. As you may have seen companies such as Hostgator have been experiencing tons of outages and down time. This has seriously impacted their performance and reliability issues. It also leaves the question about just who you should use when it comes to choosing a web host.
There are several things that you will want to consider before making your final decision. Items that are important include:
- The type of website you are planning on hosting: business, personal, ecommerce
- How many websites you want to host
- Any special scripts or software that you need to use
- Price point
- Location of servers – this can have an impact on customer downloads
- How many uploads and downloads you expect to do per month
- Amount of traffic to your site
The most important factors include knowing how many websites you will be hosting, your business type and any special requirements for scripts. For example if you are planning on just hosting a personal blog you will need less bandwidth than someone who wants to run an ecommerce site.
One thing to always remember is that you can always upgrade your plan as your site and business grow. So you can start off with a small plan that allows you to host just one domain and then upgrade to a larger plan in a few months.
But if you know that you are planning on running a large business related website, it doesn’t hurt to have more than enough capacity from the beginning. This will reduce any issues of dealing with site down times, if you suddenly get huge spikes in traffic from running a sale.
Hosting your website is going to cost money and if you have a tight budget, take this into consideration. After comparing several plans you may decide to rearrange your budget and make funds available for hosting. After all, if your sites are down you won’t be making any money. Web hosting is also a business expense that can be deducted when you do your yearly taxes.
Once you know how many sites you want to host and their purpose you can start comparing some of the top hosting companies. Features to look at include bandwidth, number of domains, guaranteed up times, disk space, PHP, I click installs and more.
The Importance of Your Control Panel
Your domain resides online by being hosted by a dedicated company. While the company rents out this space to you, you still have to know how to run things on your website. Which is why having an easy to use control panel is so vital. It is one aspect that should not be overlooked when selecting your new hosting plan.
There are two main types of hosting platforms Linux and Windows. Windows hosting is more suitable for those who require specific Windows applications to run on their sites. Linus is by far the most popular, and easiest to use choice.
As with anything, control panels are not all the same. Each hosting company can potentially be using a different type of panel, some of which are much easier to use than others.
The Cpanel is the one used by all Linux based plans. While Plesk is a control panel that works with Windows hosting. Both types of panels are considered equal when it comes to security issues.
Your control panel allows you to perform all kinds of functions including installing scripts such as Word Press, setting up email addresses, creating add on domains, checking your traffic logs and stats and more.
One area that is really helpful is that of script installation and this is where things can change across hosting companies.
Some popular scripts can be installed by a One Click or Auto Installer. Some of the top types of these include:
- Simple Scripts
These auto installers help you quickly install a new script on your site without any knowledge or programming skills. One easy to install script is the popular Word Press platform. This is used by millions of people for creating their websites. Other scripts or applications that you may have heard of include; Drupal, Joomla, and Tiki Wiki amongst others.
Your control panel is extremely powerful and can handle many operations, some extremely advanced. This includes using Apache, PHP and MySQL Databases. These applications are always kept up to date and compatible with your version of your control panel (Cpanel).
To access any type of function or to retrieve data about your website you will have to log into your Cpanel. From here you can navigate to the required area. Most sites have information boxes and even video tutorials to help guide you through any processes.
Once you have registered for your new hosting plan make time to familiarize yourself with your control panel and learn where things are kept.
The Importance of Good Web Hosting Support
If you run any type of business and have a website then you know how crucial it is for your site to be up and running at all times. Unfortunately, there are times when your site may go down. When this happens you want to have a good support system in place. Of course customer support is an item that you should consider before selecting your web host.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when looking for a web hosting company, when it comes to customer support.
- Contacting Support – do you have more than one method for contacting support? Ideally they should have a live chat and phone support along with email support.
- How long does it take to get a response? This is critical to know and can affect the amount of time your website is out of commission. If your only method is to email them, you want to know how long it takes to receive a reply. Ideally before you need to use this method. Test out their response time by emailing a few questions to them.
- Does the company back up your site automatically? This is not something that all hosting companies do. Even if they offer this service, you should get into the habit of running your own backups. You can schedule this as a daily, weekly or monthly occurrence.
Sometimes your website will go down because you did something wrong inside your site. This might be trying to upload software or a plugin that caused a conflict. Or your web host may have taken your sites offline because you used up your quota of bandwidth or disk space. As you reach your limits, some companies will notify you that you are reaching the maximum amounts, while others will just take your sites down. This is something that you should be aware of and you should be checking your bandwidth usage regularly.
Communicating with support is a two way street. If you experience any issues or have concerns then send in a support ticket. Ideally your hosting company will do the same for you, if you are using up too many resources they should send out a warning first.
Get into the habit of performing regular backups and saving a copy on a USB Stick or on a separate drive. This way if something happens to your site, you can easily restore the latest version.
So now you’ve had a good review of what you need to know to obtain a web hosting service. We’ve been very pleased with the service we receive from Blue Host. If you use this link it will not cost you extra, but will give us a small commission to keep this website up and growing. Thank you. And where ever you choose to host, good luck 🙂