To Pay or Not to Pay; That Is the Question.
The first consideration when choosing a web site hosting service is simple: free or paid service. Free service providers have restrictions. Maximum file sizes, ad banners, limits on file types, and some deploy frames. SEO proponents counsel avoiding frames because they can be a rank-killer with search engines; others argue that properly used frames make no difference. A link about frames follows this article. The bandwidth of free providers varies and is known, at least for some of them, for crawling to a literal halt at times. Paid providers offer more bandwidth and storage space, better tech support, and numerous customization options free providers lack.
Server OS and Languages
The operating system and the programming language that is used by a web host matters. If you code Windows-only apps with VB, ASP and similar languages, Windows servers are necessary. UNIX-based hosts outperform its Windows counterparts across the board. As far as languages, PHP, Perl and Ruby are some of the most common to work with web site hosting. Ruby on Rails hosting with a Ruby language base, is very beneficial to work with, as it can help optimize website speed and customize configurations, two important aspects to have with web site hosting.
Bandwidth, Space, Access Options
How much bandwidth does a new site need? Estimates range from 2.5 to 3.5 gigs. Do you expect your site to have a visitor explosion, higher search engine ranking, and increased sales? Upgrade to four or five gigs. Sudden spikes in web traffic increase your costs with paid providers, so scalable bandwidth plans are a must for those who wish to grow.
Disk space: How much is optimal? That decision depends on the content hosted. What will be hosted, text, audio or video files, or streaming services? A tight estimate to extrapolate from: 1MB of disk space equals about thirty pages sans A/V files.
Downloadable content is handled by FTP or anonymous FTP. If you have apps or files for others to download, add this option to your checklist. UNIX-based hosts (including Solaris, Linux and BSD distributions) require the use of Telnet or SSH for access. If you have never used SSH, fear not. If you can program or script in any language, learning SSH is a breeze.
Sites that sell services or products need a way for customers to pay. Security of these transactions is a must, and handled by SSL. However, SSL is unnecessary for non-commercial blogs or sites.
Additional Web Site Hosting Service Concerns
Variants of SQL communicate with databases. This is imperative for running a good blog or implementing content management systems (CMS). Some CMS scripts modify XML and text files, while others work with databases.
The quality of tech support service is critical. Are they available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, especially on holidays? Holiday customer purchase spikes happen. It makes no difference if a business is brick-and-mortar or click-and-order. Prompt and competent tech support availability is crucial during holiday purchasing sprees. Other major determinations must be made regarding tech support. Can you modify passwords, email accounts and other critical settings without having to wait for the approval of tech support? You should be able to perform such common tasks on your own site without permission.
Show Me the Money
In this type of investment a dichotomy rears its ugly head: You don’t always get what you pay for, and, you get what you pay for. Establishing your site’s needs renders these diametric quips trivial. Client review is a decent tool for aiding a decision about how much to pay. Compare satisfactory reviews with unsatisfactory. Keep an eye out for scalability in pricing plans. You will need a flexible plan when your site tops the search engines.