Web hosting is an essential element of owning a website, but it’s not the most exciting aspect for most people, and many new website owners may have no idea how to go about selecting and paying for a hosting package. Prices across the market will vary wildly, and whether it’s for personal or business use it can be very confusing trying to make sense of what’s on offer. Here is a very basic guide to help you work out your requirements and compare them against any hosting package.
Traffic – Do you know how many visitors you will be getting per day, or per month? It’s important to be realistic here, as a higher level package will definitely come at a higher cost, but it will give your site the capacity to deal with high levels of traffic with sudden increases. Cheap web hosting packages will support lower numbers of visitors, but still offer enough support for most sites.
Location – To optimise the loading speed of your website and its ability to handle high levels of traffic, you will need the server (where your site is hosted) to be geographically close to your users. If they are all likely to be from one country, ensure the server is located there. Your choice of country may also depend on laws regarding data protection and other legal issues that could affect your website.
Software – Depending on what programs and systems your website will require to function, your choice of free web hosting package could change. Some content management systems (or CMS, commonly used as user-friendly frameworks for websites) will be better suited to certain servers, depending on how demanding they are.
Security – You always need to factor in security when it comes to your personal or business information, so it will always apply to web hosting no matter what your objectives are. Shared web hosting is the cheapest type but also the most vulnerable to attack. More expensive options may be a lot more secure, so you need to understand and quantify the risk involved.
Price – For a large proportion of people, this may be the most important factor, but it has to be stacked up against everything else for you to make a wise choice. Not only do different web hosting providers offer different features, but you may be enticed in with attractive introductory offers but fall victim to hidden costs later. Do your research to confirm what constitutes good value for money once you know your requirements.