A webhosting company offers everything that you need to put up a website, such as the cloud storage space and all the website software program. You just need to create the html files for your websites and transfer them to a location given by the web-hosting providers. About a gazillion providers offer web-hosting services. Most charge a monthly fee (often quite small), and some are even free of charge. ( Some, but not all, of the free ones demand you to display advertising.). In general, the monthly fee may differ based on the resources provided for your site. For example, a website with 100MB of disk space for your web page files costs less than a website with 200MB of disk space. When searching for a web-hosting company for your site, make sure that it offers the following:
- PHP and MySQL: Not all companies come with these tools. You might possibly have to pay more for a site with access to PHP and MySQL; sometimes you have to pay an extra fee for MySQL databases.
- A recent version of PHP: Sometimes the PHP versions offered aren’t the most recent versions. Take the time to find a web-hosting company that offers at least PHP 5.3, if not PHP 6 if it is available. Some web-hosting companies offer PHP 4 but have PHP 5 (or 6) obtainable for customers who request it.
Other concerns when choosing a web-hosting company are
You need a web-hosting company that you can depend on — one that will not go broke and disappear tomorrow and that is not running on old devices that are held together by chewing gum and baling wire. If the company has more downtime than uptime, save yourself a headache and look elsewhere. Take a look at Web Hosting Talk at www.webhostingtalk.com or Netcraft at www.netcraft.net for information on reliable companies.
Website pages that download slowly are a problem because users will get impatient and go somewhere else. Sluggish pages might be a result of a web-hosting company that started its business on a shoestring and has a shortage of good hardware, or the company might be so popular that its equipment is overwhelmed by new clients. Either way, web hosting companies that deliver web pages too slowly are unacceptable. Netcraft (www.netcraft.net) frequently posts a survey of the fastest hosting providers.
- Technical Support
Some web-hosting providers have no one available to answer questions or troubleshoot issues. Technical support is often provided only through e-mail, which can be acceptable if the response time is short. Sometimes you can check the quality of the company’s support by calling the tech support number, or you can test the e-mail response time by sending an e-mail.
Backups are copies of your web page files and your database that are stored in case your database or files are lost or damaged. You want to be sure that the company makes frequent, regular backup copies of your application. You may also want to know how long it would take for backup copies to be put in place to restore your website to working order after an issue. In addition, you should always make sure to take regular backup copies of your own data. It’s your files; you should be responsible for it. That way, if the web-hosting provider goes away unexpectedly you can take your latest backup and move to a new internet hosting provider.
Select features based on the purpose of your website. Usually a hosting company packages features together into plans — more features equal a higher cost. Some features to consider are
- Disk storage space: How many MB or GB of disk space will your website require? Media files, such as graphics or music files, can be quite large.
- Data transfer: Some web hosting companies charge you for sending web pages to users. If you expect to have a lot of traffic on your website, this cost should be a consideration.
- E-mail addresses: Many hosting companies offer a number of e-mail addresses for your website. For instance, if your website is example. com, you could allow users to send you e-mail at email@example.com.
- Software: Hosting companies offer access to a variety of software for web development. PHP and MySQL are essential. Certain hosting companies might offer other databases, and some might offer alternative development tools such as FrontPage extensions, shopping cart software, and credit card validation.
- Statistics: Often you can get statistics regarding your web site visitors, such as the number of users, time of access, access by web page, and so on.
With most web-hosting companies, you have no control over your web environment. The web-hosting company provides the environment that works best for it — probably setting up the environment for ease of routine maintenance, affordable price, and minimal customer defections. Most of your environment is set by the providers, and you can not change it. You can only ask the company to modify it. The company will be reluctant to change a working setup, fearing that a change could cause problems for the company’s system or for other customers. It’s pretty difficult to research web-hosting providers from a standing start — a Google.com search for “web hosting” results in almost 400 million hits.
The best way to research web-hosting providers is to ask for reviews from people who have experience with those companies. People who have used a hosting company can warn you if the service is slow or the computers are down frequently. After you obtain a few names of web-hosting providers from satisfied customer base, you can filter the list to find the one that’s best suited to your needs and the most cost effective.