Budget Web Hosting Guide
The one decision that every webmaster needs to grapple with is choosing the best and the right web hosting company amid the vast seas of web hosting providers.
Whilst this is easier said than done, with a fair bit of research and analyzing one’s requirements it is not too hard to find a good hosting company. You may also find yourself wondering whether you should opt for a quality [or perhaps a costly] or a budget hosting package. At first, it may seem to be a challenging task but after viewing both ends of the spectrum you will find to your delight that it is not too difficult to land yourself a good deal.
It is advisable to first outline a budget for yourself and then try to figure out what are the features and add-ons that your website would require. Also, try to envisage the future prospects of your website and its potential for growth. This is the best preliminary action to take to avoid future complications and disappointments as this will help you choose a suitable package that best suits your requirement and budget. The next step involves reading web hosting reviews, participating in chat forums, getting as much “experienced” user feedback as possible and view company ratings. Let’s face it; almost every individual wants to launch his/her website on the internet.
Web hosting companies provide the platform for them to accomplish this, and therefore the web hosting industry today is a booming business.
Free Budget Web Hosting
If the individual or company is an amateur in this field, it is advisable to first experiment with a free web hosting plan or a cheap hosting plan in order to get a grip on its technicalities and related aspects. Companies like Yahoo!, Tripod, Geocities or Angelfire are the best options to choose from under this category. However, the free hosting plans do not come with the fancy features like FTP access, CGI-BIN, or your own domain name etc. So, this in effect may minimize the potential of your website.
Paid Budget Web Hosting
Paid services, on the other hand, offer a plethora of features and services that one cannot seem to ignore or overlook its comparison. All companies offer various hosting plans to suit different budgets and website requirements. However, it is important to take note that irrespective of the paid package offered, the one feature that should remain common is customer service and technical support. If your website is fairly modest and basic in nature or if you are just starting out as a webmaster; then the budget web hosting might just be the ideal solution. However, do not get lured into the ultra-cheap hosting packages as this may to involve a few hidden costs. View the comparison charts of various hosting plans and outlined the features that are required. It is futile to pay for features that are not needed. A few web hosting companies offer Hosting plans at prices as low as $1.00 a month. When dealing with such low prices it is recommended to proceed with caution as these companies aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. However, do not be discouraged as this may not be the case with all companies.
More about Budget Web Hosting
Budget web hosting as the name suggests, is usually suitable for small budgets.
For example, 1dollarhosting.com is one of the leaders in the budget web hosting arena and has quite a good reputation. Choosing a budget web hosting company can be indeed overwhelming. Budget web hosting is generally defined as any hosting service that is below $10 per month. Most of the web hosting companies, only offer one-year plans and would quote you the monthly fee you would need to pay if you divided the annual fee by 12 months.
If it is also advisable to find out if the hosting company charges a setup fee.
The next step it involves evaluating these companies from their home page.
Find out how comprehensive is their website and whether it contains all the information which includes their contact details etc. if you do find that something is not listed clearly then you can also e-mail them with your queries. This will also give you a general idea of their response system.
The first question that comes into one’s mind when viewing a budget hosting plan is whether the company offers optimum services and features.
The most important aspect that cannot be overlooked is the experience of the company. Therefore, it is important to find out how long the company has been in this business. This would also give you a general idea of their experience and professionalism in this field. Make sure the company provides a toll-free number for you to contact them. This, in turn, would also speak volumes about their efficiency and their willingness to deal openly and honestly with their clients.
Most of the Web Hosting Companies offer a money back guarantee for almost all their hosting plans. However, they are a few companies who don’t openly publish their satisfaction guarantees. Therefore one should read their terms and services agreement in its entirety to save yourself from unforeseen complications. Any reliable and efficient budget hosting company would offer an uptime guarantee so that the visibility of the website is not compromised on.
Companies usually offer 99.9 % or 99 per cent uptime guarantee. Therefore, over a course of one year, 99% uptime would represent a downtime (the one percent) of around 87 hours in a year or an average of 7 hours per month. An uptime of 99.9% would involve only 8 hours of downtime for the entire year. You may also start to wonder what kind of Sale Support can I expect from a budget hosting company.
Make a complete list of questions like what kind of resources do they make available for me? Find out if the budget web hosting company offers free scripts. Do they have any marketing tools they can make available to you? What kind of support for setting up your account can you expect from the budget web hosting company? A budget hosting company does not necessarily mean that one has to compromise on features, quality or service. With a fair deal of technical know-how, analysis and feedback you can sign up with a reliable company who can offer you both; quality services as well as affordable pricing structures.
It is important to evaluate their terms and conditions in advance so you know what you getting bound by. Check out if they have any refund policies. Just do not g by the price tag, as there are many other aspects that are ponderable and various issues that may need to be addressed in advance. This way the webmaster will be able to clearly distinguish between the fly-by-night hosting providers and well-established companies.
A few practical tips are mentioned below when choosing a reliable web hosting company:
- Check The Stability Of The Web Host’s Server System It is important to sign up with a host who values its customers and their website. Therefore, one needs to make certain their websites are made accessible all the time. This requires that the company be equipped with advanced technologies and offers at least 90 to 99% of uptime and minimal downtime. If you find out that your website is not accessible most of the time, you have ended up wasting your hard earned cash on a non-professional an inferior company. Downtime’ is a major consideration when choosing budget web hosting.
- Research, analysis and exercising judgment
This strategy needs to be adopted if want to avoid getting ripped off, cheated or getting disappointed. Find a company which has been around for a while and boasts of a happy and a satisfied customer base. A reputable web hosting company should post specifications of their web servers on their sites. A hosting company featuring a stable server system will have fewer chances of downtimes. Analyzing these server specifications will give you an idea of how stable the web host’s server system is. If however, you lack the related technical know-how; find someone who can guide you the process and explain the technical jargons and its functionalities in detail. An uptime guarantee is what most providers offer. If they fail to meet that percentage of uptime guaranteed, you may be entitled to compensation. Make sure that you have it in written by them about the uptime guarantee and the amount of compensation offered for the same if this, in any event, is not met.
- Technical Support
Make sure that you get 24/7 technical support or you may end up losing on your business or clients.
- Check your website on a regular basisIt definitely a worthwhile task to check your website regularly primarily to ensure that it is functioning properly. Treat your website as a storefront or reception area and customers should be able to gather a pleasant experience visiting your website. The accessibility of your website is vital. If the website is not accessible, does not load easily or quickly or is running slow; chances are that the customers will leave and go clicking on other websites. This can be quite a loss indeed. Also, it is important to make sure that all links, graphics and other features are functioning smoothly and at optimum levels. Once your website gains popularity and business starts to grow; the webmaster can always employ someone to take care of this department, to save additional time and effort.
- Bandwidth and Web Storage SpaceThese are the two most vital aspects that cannot be overlooked. Find out how much bandwidth and storage space is being offered to you by your budget hosting provider. Be realistic here. Exercise extreme caution if unlimited bandwidth or storage is being offered at ridiculously low costs. Compare the same features with other well-established companies as there could be a few hidden costs involved with the former. The budget hosting package should be such that the customer is able to upgrade to an increased bandwidth at a short notice. This is because, when the website starts to receive heavy amounts of traffic, you should not run out of bandwidth or your website may no longer be accessible till the beginning of next month. Therefore, in order to retain a consistent inflow of traffic, you should be ready to upgrade your bandwidth as and when required. Similarly, sufficient web space should be offered to suit your requirements and this too can be subjected to an upgrade as and when needed. Consulting a web host directory may prove to be invaluable in your investigations. Alternatively, reading online reviews, participating in online chat forums, viewing website ratings and expanding your technical knowledge can help you make a judicial decision. That’s the secret to online prosperity.