Read these 27 Choosing a Hosting Plan Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Web Hosting tips and hundreds of other topics.
As an individual who is only using a Website for personal purposes, you will likely have very small requirements for the type of hosting plan you purchase. The top 5 things to keep in mind when looking for a hosting plan are:
- First, you will be fine with a shared server plan. There should be no need for you to purchase dedicated hosting.
- You may be able to find a good shared server hosting plan, with a good amount of space and bandwidth, for as little as $4 per month.
- If you do not know how to build your own Website using a program like Microsoft FrontPage, and you do not have Website builder software on your computer, then you are going to need to make sure that your hosting plan comes with a Website builder.
- You will likely not need a plan that hosts more than one domain name.
- You will see hosting plans with options such as an SSL certificate, Web analytics, and other things that are usually intended for those running a business online. These are things that you will have no use for.
The most important thing for you to remember is not to overpay for space or extras that you will never use. Even if you can find a “better” hosting plan, it is not worth it if you won't take full advantage of it.
There are many options when looking for professional web hosting. The professional web hosting accounts offer varied features, so it's important to make a list of your top requirements and keep looking until you find a host which will provide all of the features you desire. You can get features including streaming audio/video support, database support, high number of email accounts, web logs (blogs), bulletin boards, free clipart, and e-books.
A web hosting control panel is a way to easily control your web hosting account. It is software installed on your web server which gives you control over your web hosting account. Each web hosting service provider will offer some type of control panel, some are very graphical and allow you to view statistics in a variety of ways. Generally a control panel will allow you to add email accounts, change passwords, access your files, view statistics and backup your site. Every control panel is different and offers various options. It is a good idea to see a demo of the control panel or carefully review what features are offered and make certain to choose a control panel which will fit your needs.
Some web hosting control panels offer many features but are clunky and difficult to use. Others are very graphical and take quite a bit of time to load. As the industry grows, control panels are becoming easier to use and features are expanding. At the very least you should have control over adding and managing email accounts, changing passwords, viewing statistics, editing email filters forwarders and create custom error pages.
Some companies set up their web hosting account and then find out that their pages don't load or customers cannot find them. One reason could be the amount of bandwidth your professional web hosting package offers. Make sure you purchase enough bandwidth because if you don't, and your site get a lot of traffic, your bandwidth limit may be reached half way through the month and either your web host will charge you high fees for the extra bandwidth, or your page won't load. If you have a really high traffic site, you should consider a dedicated server (you have access to all of the bandwidth on the server), or a professional web hosting package which offers higher bandwidth.
Most web hosting companies will offer a variety of web design options. Some offer only web templates which are nice for the beginning user, but are often very limited and not search engine friendly. When building a business or high traffic site it is important to find professional web hosting and design packages. You can have a beautiful site designed but if it uses flash only for the front page, search engines will have limited access and may not index your site at all. A good professional web hosting and design company knows not only how to make your site look good, but also can help give you information about how to build it effectively.
When you sign up for professional web hosting you should have the expectation to get good customer service, a money back guarantee, high uptime and more options than hosting for a personal site. Generally your professional web hosting accounts will offer lower bandwidth and fewer features than a business web hosting package, but also cost less money. Look for high bandwidth so your host can handle high traffic. Increased storage and database support are also important, as well as what type of customer support is offered.
Every control panel varies. It will depend on your web hosting as to what control panel package they offer. A good hosting provider offers detailed instructions on how to use their control panel and what features are available. You should also be able to see a demonstration. Each control panel should have a FAQ or help section where you can get specific answers as to how it works. It is a good idea to become familiar with your control panel as quickly as possible so you can utilize the statistics and effectively use all of the features. If your web hosting provides control panel software from an outside vendor, you may also get documentation on that vendor's website.
There are so many places which offer web hosting. So how do you know which one is right for you? I've seen prices ranging from over $100 per month to free web hosting offers. The most important thing is to find web hosting which will work for you. Affordable web page hosting is available in many places, however be sure you find a reliable service and get recommendations. When making your decision be sure to ask the right questions such as: How much does it cost for higher bandwidth? Do you provide customer support 24/7? Do I have access to log files? Do you support FTP or Frontpage? Do you have templates where I can quickly put up a web page? How much storage do I get? If you ask all of the right questions you should be fairly secure in knowing you'll get affordable web page hosting which will fit your personal needs.
I don't think there is any “perfect” web hosting package. However, we all seem to continue searching for that elusive perfect web host for every situation. Alternatively, I do think you can find the perfect professional web hosting package to meet your own needs. There are so many web hosts out there, so make sure you do your research and find a company with a good money back guarantee, high uptime, great customer service, and a good reputation. Take note that higher prices do not necessarily mean higher quality.
One of the most important features when purchasing your web hosting package is to find out what type of web logs are available and what information will be included. If you want to effectively market your site you have to make certain to know where your customers are coming from, what pages they are viewing, how they exit the site, which visitors are turned into customers, and what keywords they are using when searching for your site and other statistics to track your visitors. The more you know about your visitor, the easier it will be to turn those visitors into customers and repeat visitors.
Finding good web hosting is one of the top priorities for a web developer. First you should make a list of the requirements which are most important to you such as FTP, server reliability, email, customer support, log file access, bandwidth, etc. There are thousands of possible choices for affordable web hosting so the best way to find a reliable server is by recommendation. Talk to everyone you know and find out if they have a web host they like. If you can get 3 or 4 recommendations for the same hosting service, generally you will have a good experience as well.
When selecting a web hosting control panel it is generally best to view a demonstration so you can actually see how it works and what features are available. The more access and control you have over your site, the better. You should expect easy navigation, the ability to add email accounts, determine how much disk space you have used, and determine how much traffic your site has generated. Most web hosting providers say they offer control panels, but you should research how much control you will really be getting because they vary widely.
It is important to compare web hosting services before making a commitment. The best web hosting companies will offer several different web hosting packages for you to compare and find the one that best fits your needs.
First determine the number of websites you need to host. Many web hosting companies offer a discount on multiple websites from the same customer. For each website, determine how much disk space your website needs. The best web hosting companies offer a variety of gigabyte space ranging from less than 5GB to 300GB or unlimited plans.
Also consider your monthly budget, your email needs and the total package price when you compare web hosting plans. The best web hosting companies offer free domain registration and setup. When it comes to web hosting, free options usually do not meet the needs of the website and offer very little in terms of space and usability.
However, the most expensive plans do not necessarily come from the best web hosting companies. Compare web hosting plans carefully to ensure you get exactly what you need and are not paying more for unnecessary features.
After making the purchase of the domain name and deciding to build the web site that will take over the world, choosing from a variety of web hosting plans is next on the list of things to do. Many plans are available that offer a variety of services. Consider what is needed to reach the goal desired and get started.
A domain name can be used to build a multi-page web site with video downloads, lots of pictures and tons of information or products. Or, it can be used to put a simple business card type contact information page that allows people to call over the phone or contact by email. The difference between the two types of web sites are the sizes of the downloads. One site with video and multiple other options can take a lot of bandwidth which increases the cost of the web hosting. A simple one page site is quick and easy to download and so it cheaper.
Costs for web hosting will vary depending on the purpose of the web site. Be sure to plan well and visualize what is going to be shown on the web site. It is the beginning of the branding of the domain name and the business.
The best enterprise business hosting provider gives the customer what they need, when they need it, at an affordable price. As consumers it is our responsibility to make sure we do the research to determine if the service being provided is exactly what we need. The good thing about having so many choices is that we can find the best web host for us personally. If you itemize your specific needs then when you find web host options, you can make certain you're getting what you want. How much web storage do you need? How much do you want to spend? Do you want a full web site or simply one or two personal web pages? Do you want to design the site online using a pre-made template or would you rather design your site with Dreamweaver or FrontPage? Don't settle for a mediocre hosting service when, with a little research, you can find the best web hosting for your specific needs.
You will see a hosting plan with options, such as an SSL certificate and a shopping cart. As a small non-merchant business, you will likely not need these options from a hosting plan unless you need to take money directly through your Website. Other things that a small business probably doesn't need to worry about is multiple domain names. You will likely only need to host one domain name, so there will be no need to search for a plan that allows you to host several (unless your online business involves reselling Web space).
When you are shopping for a hosting package, the selection of your new control panel should factor in as a major part of your decision. There are several control panels currently on the market, and many hosting companies favor CPanel, which is regarded as one of the easiest control panels to use.
Your best bet when it comes to selecting a control panel is to try a variety of different demos so that you can get a true feeling for how each one works. Several web hosting companies offer these free demos, and most companies that create control panels will provide a demo.
If your web hosting company has a proprietary control panel, make sure that they offer a demo before you sign a contract. This will help avoid confusion in dealing with a control panel you're not used to.
As a medium sized business, you will likely need more space and security than many other individuals, groups, and small businesses. The top 5 things to keep in mind when looking for a hosting plan for your medium-sized business are:
- First, you should make a firm decision between shared or dedicated hosting after laying all the pros and cons out on the table. It will cost more on a monthly basis, but should be considered if you are exchanging information with your clients via your Website.
- If you do decide to go for a dedicated hosting plan, there are different sizes you can choose from. You may be okay with one of the smallest plans, as long as your space and bandwidth requirements are small enough.
- If you do decide to go for a shared hosting plan, it would probably be wise not to settle for a cheap hosting plan. Hosting plans that are less than $20 per month are usually better suited for individuals, small groups, or very small businesses.
- If you do not know how to build your own Website, you may want to consider hiring a team to create one for you. A website builder will not be sufficient, as you will want a Website that looks professional.
- You may need an SSL certificate, especially if sensitive information will be transmitted through your Website. You may also find that a good Website analysis tool will be very beneficial when it comes to understanding how effective your marketing strategy is.
The most important thing for you to remember is that, the more well-known your company is, the more likely you will become a target for those who want to get their hands on your clients' sensitive information. This is especially true if your clients have made a name for themselves as well. For this reason, Internet security should be your top priority. A dedicated server hosting plan will be most beneficial in this area, especially if your Website and bandwidth requirements are large enough to warrant it.
As a small business owner, your Website may be the main or sole source of your income. A large percentage of small businesses begin on the Internet and maintain most of their business this way. For this reason, it is very important that you choose the right hosting plan, while not overspending your budget. It can be hard to strike a balance between cheap hosting intended for individuals and expensive hosting intended for those who sell a slew of products on their Website. The top things to keep in mind when looking for a hosting plan for your small business are:
- First, since you are not selling any products online and will be using your Website to promote yourself and your services, a shared hosting plan should be sufficient.
- You may be able to find a good shared server hosting plan, with a good amount of space and bandwidth, for as little as $9 per month. Although there are cheaper hosting plans available, a plan that is $8-$10 per month will usually have certain extras that you will need to help promote yourself and measure your visitor activity, such as Google AdWords/Yahoo! Search Marketing credits and Website statistics.
- If you do not know how to build your own Website using a program like Microsoft FrontPage, and you do not have Website builder software on your computer, then you are going to need to make sure that you have a plan that includes web hosting with site builder.
- An SSL may be appropriate if your are collecting/sending customer information – including non-credit card data.
The most important thing for you to remember is that you should try to offer payment options outside of direct payment through your Website. If you are a services based business, you are likely to have returning clients which will make check, money order, or Paypal payment options easier. Accepting money directly through your Website may end up costing your more money than it is worth, and should be reserved for those who sell products via their Website on a daily basis.
It is difficult to state that one control panel is the best. However, you can find a control panel which will work best for you. It is easiest to find the panel best for you by viewing demonstrations on various web hosting sites as well as viewing control panel software vendor's websites. There are quite a few software options for a web host to use. It is good to research what other customers have said about various web hosting control panels and ask questions if you are not sure something will work for you.
In order to choose a hosting plan with the best Web hosting service, look for packages with these features:
- Enough room for your entire Web site. For most, this will be a few gigabytes of space; however, some many need more than that.
- Great customer service. It is important to know that the company you purchase from has a great customer service staff. You can evaluate this by calling with a question before you purchase.
- How much bandwidth you are allowed. Be wary of smaller hosting companies who offer unlimited bandwidth. You have a greater chance of downtime, slowly downloading pages, or a backlog of traffic.
- Offers at least one free domain name. Some companies may offer several.
- Gives you a free email hosting package with your new domain name.
- hosting with site builder.
These features will ensure that you have everything you need to get started with your new Web site. For this reason, a hosting plan that offers all of these services is sure to be the best Web hosting service for your needs.
As a Web merchant, you are going to have very different Web hosting plan requirements than many other individuals, groups, and non-merchant businesses on the Internet. A secure, professional Website will make your customers feel safe ordering your products, whether you are selling out of your home or out of a warehouse. The top things to keep in mind when looking for a hosting plan for your business are:
- First, you will probably want to invest in a dedicated server hosting plan. This will give you all of the space and bandwidth you will likely need, as well as provide you with an extra level of security.
- A small business may have a limited number of products, which may not necessitate a dedicated server.
- With a dedicated hosting plan, there will be different sizes that you can choose from. The more items you have and the more traffic you expect, the larger your hosting plan will need to be. You can start out with a small plan and move up as your business grows. If you currently have a Web hosting plan, you can evaluate your current statistics to help you choose a hosting plan that is right for you.
- You may want to consider hiring a team to create your Website. Hiring professionals helps to ensure that your Website will run smoothly and that you will have a support team on hand when needed. This step is especially important if you know little to nothing about creating Websites.
- You will need an SSL certificate since you will be accepting payments directly through your Website. This will help ensure that sensitive information transmitted through your Website is not compromised. You may also find that a good Website analysis tool will be very beneficial when it comes to understanding how effective your marketing strategy is and which products attract the most attention.
The most important thing for you to remember is that the security of your Website is going to be particularly important. It is your responsibility to keep your customers' information safe. Additionally, if information does end up compromised, it could cost you the majority of your business.
As a small group who plans to use a Website to promote an image to the outside world and allow members to communicate with other, you will likely have certain basic requirements for the type of hosting plan you purchase. The top 5 things to keep in mind when looking for a hosting plan for your small group are:
- First, your Website will probably be small and uncomplicated enough that you will be fine with a shared server plan.
- You may be able to find a good shared server hosting plan, with a good amount of space and bandwidth, for as little as $4 per month. However, check into each hosting plan carefully, as you may want certain features for your Website that will not be available with the most basic hosting plans.
- If you do not know how to build your own Website using a program like Microsoft FrontPage, and you do not have Website builder software on your computer, then you are going to need to make sure that your hosting plan comes with a Website builder.
- If you want each of your members to be able to create their own space within the Website, then you may want to consider finding a hosting plan that will allow you to host multiple domain names.
- You will see hosting plans with options, such as an SSL certificate, that you will have no use for unless you are allowing visitors to purchase items off of the Website or are accepting donations.
The most important thing for you to remember is that, if you want members to be able to communicate with each other on the Website, you will want to be sure that your hosting plan comes with a bulletin/message board and/or a chat room.
Choosing the most affordable hosting plan may require that you forgo some extras that are often handed out with slightly more expensive hosting plans. For example, a basic hosting plan will not come with Google AdWords or Yahoo! Search Marketing credits. However, if you can live without certain incentives and “extras”, you can save a good deal of money each year.
A cheap Web hosting service will usually be one that is a reseller for a larger company. While bigger companies offer a few gigabytes of space in their hosting plans, smaller companies can many times break their available space down into hosting plans that are one gigabyte or smaller. This means that you will save a few extra bucks per month on Web space that you would not have used anyway.
For someone running a very small business on limited funds or someone who has a great business idea and wants to see where it can lead, having free search marketing credits for Google or Yahoo! allows you to quickly get your new Web site seen. It also gives you a chance to see if these services are worthwhile before you sink your own hard-earned money into them.
For example, you may find that your customer click through rate is high, but your sales conversion rates are low. If you are in this situation, these services can run up a heavy fee quite quickly. Additionally, if you blow your entire credit and make little to no money, then you may learn that using such a service is not a great route for you. You may also learn that your current Web site copy is not strong enough to turn visitors into customers.
Many companies offer such incentives when you purchase a Web hosting plan, which usually range from $25-$100 per service. A majority of these companies will give you a credit for each of the two services. As far as deciding between a hosting plan that offers a $25 credit for one service or $150 for both services, you will need to compare each hosting plan individually to determine if the features and price savings are worth forgoing $125 in valuable marketing credit.
The kind of customer service that you receive with your hosting plan should play a large part in your decision on which hosting company to purchase from. You will likely need to contact customer service more than once, so quick and reliable service is important.
Each person has a different definition of good customer service. This may include:
- Easy communication with the customer service staff. In this day and age, many companies choose to outsource their customer service duties to workers in other countries. While this may be good to keep costs down and prices low, some may find that trying to convey their problem to someone whose first language is not English can be overwhelming and frustrating.
- Customer service response time is another issue that will be more important to some than it will be to others. For example, you may feel that your questions should be answered right away, in as little time as possible. On the other hand, another customer may feel that having to wait for a representative to call them back is ideal, if it means that they will have the representative's undivided attention while they sort through the issue.
- How friendly and helpful a customer service representative is will also pay a large role in customer satisfaction. Anyone can be a customer service representative, but it takes someone who actually cares about customer issues and knows how to resolve a customer's problem to be a good customer service representative.
Whether or not a company's customer service team meets your standards should play a large role in whether or not you purchase a hosting plan from that company. Although you may not be able to get the full picture before you are a customer, you can call the customer service number listed on each company's Web site to determine if you are comfortable with the level of service that you are likely to receive.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|