Discount Web Hosting
If you wish to launch your website the first and foremost step involves putting your pages online. To accomplish this, you would require a web hosting provider.
The word host is used in the Web industry to mean a Web server set up to hold Web pages (and related files) so they can be accessed by the rest of the world. The web hosting provider is responsible for the management of all the technical aspects, be it hardware, software for Internet connection. As the Web Hosting business has evolved over the years; there are a variety of Hosting packages, hosting providers as well as plans to suit all budgets and needs. To choose a reliable and well established hosting provider from such a astronomical number of hosting companies out there, can be indeed a daunting task. The hosting business today is touching dizzying heights thereby enhancing the subsequent competition quotient. This has led to the introduction of price packages as well as Free Hosting packages to cater to a diverse range of requirements and budgets.
Web hosting providers offer a bundle of services associated with maintaining a web site. A typical Web-hosting service comprises of Web-page design, domain-name registration, email and file storage. It is the responsibility of the web host that your site remains up, offer Additional administrative functions as well as enhanced security features. It is extremely important to perform a complete research and analysis of the potential hosting provider as well as list out a comparison chart of the different hosting providers. Viewing customer rating, online reviews and participating in online forums will help you distinguish between the wealth established companies from the fly by night hosting providers.
The next step involves making a complete list of features that your website would require. The most important features to keep in mind include the amount of disc space that you would need, how much traffic your website would expect, security features as well as E-Commerce enabled features like shopping carts, mailing lists, SSL (secure socket layer) certificates, and more. If the Host is unable to provide you the most basic features it obviously means that the provider is not professional or reliable. Security is paramount to a website in order to protect it from hackers or identity thefts. Some larger hosts offer firewalls, protection against denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and even virtual private networks (VPNs). You may pay more for these additional services, but it may be worth it, depending on the nature of your business.
Most of the reliable companies out there offer 99.9 percent of uptime. If users search for your site, and find out that it’s down you subsequently end up losing a potential customer which is highly undesirable. Therefore this is important to look for a company which offers at least 99 percent of uptime guarantee. Most companies also offer a thirty day money back guarantee.
The pricing structure is the most important element when looking for a web hosting company. Do not get fooled into thinking that the higher the price tag, the better the features and services. This is primarily because it is useless to pay for features that are not required. In the same token, do not get lured into the ultra cheap hosting plans, especially if you are not sure about the company’s credibility. Price is of course a tough measure. There are some amazing bargains out there. But if you sign up with the lowest-price vendor, they’ve either got to be getting revenues from somewhere other than your monthly fees or they would perhaps be cutting costs somewhere else which is commonly in the form of support. A discount web hosting package could cost anywhere between $4 to $8 or even $10 per month for a more comprehensive package. Anything above $10 however, could be considered expensive unless it offers a comprehensive list of features for your equally comprehensive website, which cannot do without the highly utilizable features and functions. The bottom line therefore depends on what you are expecting from your website. A fair amount of time and effort need to be invested to choose a competent service provider whom you consider would offer full worth of your money and facilitate the growth of your web site. An affordable or discount hosting package usually offers its customers zero set up fee, 99.9% uptime guarantee, 24×7 phone & email support, same-day setup, a money back guarantee & free site builder tools. The motto of every discount hosting company is “get more and pay less”. However, exercise extreme caution and only go for a company who has been around for a while and boasts of a satisfied customer base.
According to the AllBusiness survey on Web hosting, the largest number (31%) of you who having a Web site are hosting it at Yahoo! Small Business Web hosting services. In second place is the category of “Other” provider (19%), while third place (18%) goes to in-house hosting. “Local” ISP providers ranked fourth (11%), followed by national providers Microsoft’s Small Business Services (8%), AOL (5%), GoDaddy (3%), and 1&1 (3%).
It is important to read the terms and conditions and agreement forms in its entirety so you are sure what exactly you getting yourself into. The FAQ section is another useful resource to lap up on vital information. After choosing a web hosting company, view the comparison charts of the various pricing plans and related features offered. Winnow down the features and services that are required and choose the hosting plan that suits your website best. Alternatively, you can also do a comparison of the features and services and pricing plans with other well established companies and choose a web hosting provider that suits your budget and needs.
Let us now take a look at some of the basic features offered by the web hosting providers:
Domain name: You need a domain, or location on the Web for your Web site. This is just your Web site address like yourwebsite.com. One of the benefits of owning your domain name is that you can move it to another hosting service, in case you are not satisfied with one hosting service. Acquiring a sub domain is another option and most of the hosting providers offer this service as a part of their hosting plan.
Disk Space: a certain amount of hard disc space is provided to customers in order to store their websites on the servers. The amount varies — a lot, from 200MB to several gigabytes. The amount of disc space required depends upon the nature of your website. If your website is just a modest and simple site with just a few pages, then a basic package with a basic disk space should be sufficient. If however, your website features tons of product pictures, or you intend to offer video tours, or e-commerce enabled features or catalogs then you would be needing a lot more disk space. If however, you are starting with a basic package and intend to enhance your website features in the future, then you can start with a basic package and then upgrade to a higher plan as when required. If you are planning to go big into e-commerce, there’s no way to calculate in advance very well. Just get a big 2-gig service, and see what they charge when you need more room. Although these modes of selection are not exactly bullet proof, they will give an outline or estimate of what and how to zero down on a web hosting company that perfectly fits your budget and needs.
Bandwidth: Bandwidth can be defined as a data transmission rate; the maximum amount of information (bits/second) that can be transmitted along a channel. This implies that more the visitors or traffic that your website receives, the more bandwidth you’re using. Every hosting company offers specific amounts of bandwidths within their hosting plans. Also the more kilobytes of text and pictures that are on your pages and the number of gigabytes downloaded from your site each month by your visitors also determines the amount of bandwidth that your website would require.
Technical and Business Support: With the soaring competition between the hosting companies today has led to a significant dip in the monthly hosting prices. The vendors today offer simple and user-friendly tools to set up your website and tweak around it so hold a significant control on your website. However, technical and business support is an indispensable aspect and its quality cannot be overlooked if you are serious about your website. To keep costs down, most vendors offer only email support for basic customers. This option would not be sufficient if you website receives a lot of traffic, 24/7. For this reason, it is important for the web hosting provider to offer telephone support as well. This way, if your website is facing technical issues, they can be resolved instantly without running the risk of losing potential customers.
Web Development Tools: Most Web hosting services offer some sort of Web-site development software, and some offer several choices. The most useful tools for beginners are the page templates, or pre-formatted pages. If you want to enhance your website’s aesthetics, then you can use more advanced programs that let you create your own design from the start or modify an existing design. Advanced users may also prefer to code up their own HTML, either for the whole page or for a specific component. Other widely used coding tools include Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, aimed at professionals and ambitious amateurs; and other commercial and free programs such as Avanquest’s Web Easy Professional. Hosting service supports with “extensions” make it easier for the programs to load the completed designs directly onto your site.
Email Accounts and loads of it: Most of the hosting providers offer their customers lots of email addresses. This email is related to your company website, for example, email@example.com
This way the owner can add individual mail boxes for their staff, and email addresses for special purposes, such as firstname.lastname@example.org
Search Optimization Services: This feature is absolutely vital to generate visibility and traffic of your website. If your website is listed on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo! Or AOL then your website will be easily searchable and this would in turn improve its click to buy ratio. Some Web hosting services offer a “search optimization” service it can greatly benefit your website business as they identify the type of business and what key words search terms would best suited.
Advanced features like a shopping cart, a check-out system, security features, facility for accepting credit cards or other modes of payments may also be required by your website. These e-commerce enabled features are offered by most of the professional web hosting providers. Web-site tracking systems give you data about the “hits” to various pages on your Web site by day, week, and month. Most such tracking systems are fairly basic. This can help you perform a sophisticated analysis of your website traffic and fine-tune your website accordingly. After weighing the strengths and weaknesses of your website; you will be able to make the required changes and rectifications in order to fill up any unwanted lacuna if any.
Remember, you should always have an option open to you for taking your website to the next level. This means that your hosting provider should have the option of letting you upgrade to a higher plan if required. Don’t let the large number of web hosting companies slow you down on your search. Keep an open mind and exercise clear judgment. With the right research and analysis, you will be able to find a hosting company which offers discount plans as well as quality services and features, and remember you want to keep it for life.