Website Hosting Tips

Dell Poweredge ServerWeb hosting is a way of uploading your website to the Internet. This is done by looking for a web hosting company and having your website uploaded to their web server.

You could set up your own computer to host your website but getting another company to host it for you is usually the most practical way to do it.

A web hosting company allows you to rent space on a web server. Your web pages are then stored on their server and other people connected to the Internet can view them.

Across the planet, there are literally hundreds of web hosting companies so how do you choose the right one?

As with trying out any new product or service, you won't really know how good a web hosting company is until you try it. Therefore, ask around and see whether you can get any good recommendations from those who already use a web hosting company. Another good idea is to search the Internet for reviews of hosting companies. When you finally narrow down your list of prospective hosting companies you should consider how long each company has been in business, how reliable it is known to be, and how expensive it would be if you wanted to upgrade your plan at sometime in the future.

Other key areas to consider are:

How much disk space do you need?

If your website has less than 10 pages you'll only need a small amount of hosting space and this is often very cheap to buy. If you have a large site that has hundreds or thousands of pages you'll be needing a lot of disk space. Most web hosting plans limit how much space you will have, so make sure the web hosting plan you choose meets your initial and future needs.

How many email accounts do you need?

You'll probably need at least one email account for each employee and one for each department (sales, accounts, marketing, support etc). Even each member of a family may want a separate email account. So make sure you purchase a hosting plan that has enough of these. Also, do you want full POP3 or IMAP access, Web-based email, or both? Fortunately, the number of email accounts offered by the big hosting providers are generally in the hundreds, so this requirement is usually well covered.

How much data do you need to transfer?

Most hosting plans limit how much data transfer you are allotted each month. If you expect a lot of people to visit your site and you host stuff that can be downloaded or you have online video's people can watch, you'll need a plan that allows for plenty of data transfer.

E-commerce Options

Will you be selling goods or services through your site? If not, there's no need to sign up for an e-commerce web hosting service. If you are, e-commerce web hosting services such as shopping cart software, SSL support and a payment system will be vital. Virtually all the hosting companies will be able to supply these e-commerce tools.

Database, script and extension support

Some hosts will try to blind you with all the features they provide: MySQL, MS Access, MS SQL, Perl, PHP, ASP.NET and SSI support.

Do you really need all these features? If not, make sure you are not paying for extras that you'll never use.

Operating systems

Do you want a Linux hosting plan or a Windows hosting plan?

Linux is the most commonly used operating system among Web servers. It is known for its flexibility, reliability and stability. It is the only choice for sites that use PHP, MySQL and the Apache Server.

Windows hosting plans are often used for sites utilising ASP, MS Access databases, MS SQL Servers and other Microsoft applications.

Support

Is customer and technical support available 24/7? Can you easily get through on the customer support hotline or are you kept on hold for hours? Is there a good technical help section as part of the hosting providers website? These are important considerations as you never know when you might need the help of a good tech support area.

Awards

See if the hosting company have industry awards or special mentions in web design or pc based magazines.

Reliability

Check the reliability promises of each web hosting company you check out, and look for 99.9% uptime promises. This more or less guarantees that your website will be viewable all the time.

Web Hosting Control Panel

Look for a simple, user-friendly interface which makes web hosting simple for you. It should be as easy as possible to set up domains, e-mail addresses, design your own website, or access a database – all with a few mouse clicks. So ask if you can have a demo.

The Top Web Hosting Companies

At QBS PC Help we do not recommend any one host over another although we do use Fast2Host for our own hosting solution. In fact we host several website's with Fast2Host all under one 'master' account.

We also use Fast2Host for a site we designed for our local North Eastern Education & Library Board - www.inputyouth.co.uk.

So that you can make your own web hosting choice the following list is compiled by the Top 10 Best Web Hosting website and is regularly updated to reflect the top hosting companies based on user reviews and their own research. QBS PC Help will also add a few other top performing hosting providers that are highly rated by computer magazines such as PC Pro, PC Magazine, Personal Computer World and PC Advisor. We will also include good web hosting companies recommended by web design magazines such as .Net and Web Designer.