Before I start the web host video tutorial series, I think this would be a good time to recall what it is that we should look for in a web hosting service. Everyone has different needs, so a good web host for me, is not necessarily a good host for you.
The last time I looked, a search for “web host” in Google, brought back 249,000,000 results. How are you possibly going to find the perfect web host?
Well, for starters, check out the following:
- This is probably the first thing you’ll look at. I mean, there’s no point getting a $39/mth web hosting account if you can only afford $15/mth. A web hosting account can start from as little as $3.00 a month. But such hosting accounts would normally lack a lot features. An average hosting account, would be somewhere between $10 – $20 a month. A hosting account that is more than $20 a month would usually be a good account with all the bells and whistles that you’ll ever need. But each web host is different. So take some time to do abit of research.
- Most hosting companies have several payment plans where you can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually. If you’re trying out a new web host, it would be wise to stick to a monthly payment plan first to make sure that the web host is reliable. When you’re sure, you can always upgrade to an annual plan, which usually comes up a lot cheaper.
Email and aliases
- It would be ideal to have a catchall e-mail address. This means that you can have an unlimited number of email addresses at your domain. Eg: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] But if you can’t get one with your hosting account, you should at least be able to set up enough email accounts to meet your needs.
- Make sure that the web host account you choose has enough disk space to store your web site. Choose an account that offers more space than you actually need. How much do you need? 100MB is more than enough for the average web site. If, however, you plan to host video tutorials like myself, you’d probably want to aim at 1GB disk space.
Fast connection speed
- You don’t want your site to take forever to download. Test web sites that are already using that particular web host.
- You should have unlimited FTP access so that you can make unlimited changes to your web site any amount of time.
- Depending on the type of web site you’re planning to build, you may or may not need ecommerce features. If you do need it, look for a web host with features such as a shopping cart and SSL for secured credit card transactions.
CGI and PHP support
- If you plan to use scripts on your web site, make sure your host supports CGI and PHP. And that you can access the CGI bin. You also should find out if you can use custom CGI scripts or only the ones that are supplied by your web host. Most web hosts now come pre-installed with scripts. You may want to check out the list of scripts they provide. These could include blogging scripts, content management systems, help desk systems and much more.
Data transfer limit
- Everytime someone visits your site, data is being transferred. When someone downloads your digital products, data is being transferred. Make sure you do your calculations before choosing your web host.
Multiple domain name hosting
- Some web hosts now allow you to host more than a single domain name with your single hosting account. Some would allow up to an unlimited number of domain names. This can come in handy especially if you’re thinking of creating several mini sites that don’t take up that much disk space.
- A lot of scripts nowadays use databases to keep your data. Having access to one is definitely a plus. The most common database is MySQL. You only need one database to begin with. But if you’re planning to use several scripts from the pre-installed scripts above, make sure that you are allowed to set up as many databases as you need. Each script usually uses up one separate database.
First class support system
- I can’t even begin to emphasize how important this is. You need a web host that offers support 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When you’re doing business online, you don’t really take days off. You need to know that help is just a phone call away, if anything happens to your site. Call them or email them and see how fast they reply. If they’re hopeless before you sign up with them, they’ll be a disaster after you sign up.
Hmmmm …. I guess that’s it. I can’t seem to think of anymore. If I’ve left out anything, please feel free to add it as a comment.