You may just be about to launch your first online business, or you may have an existing business that you now want to have a website built for.
However before you even go out and buy a domain name then you should have a think about who you want to have your website hosted with.
If you are new to websites then the “Hosting” bit is the company that you upload your website to, and that displays your pages to users as well as dealing with your email setup.
If you are planning on building your own website and know a lot about how much file storage, bandwidth and email storage you are going to need then an Internet search of hosting review sites will probably help you make your decision fairly easily.
However if you have no interest in doing the website design yourself and you are simply looking for someone to do the design for you, then you would be well advised to seek out a web developer before going out and buying a website name and a hosting account, as very often the companies selling those services do not also offer website design as part of the package.
Some do offer automated website builders, but you will not be able to optimise the pages for best search engine results, nor will you have as much creative input into the sites design, look and feel.
A web developer will be able to register your site name, choose a suitable hosting plan based on your requirements as well as being able to help you with all aspects of designing and building the site.
Can you afford a longer hosting package?
When it comes to choosing a hosting package you will often get a discount if you take out a years package at once rather than paying monthly, you will also get further discounts if you take out a contract for multiple years, however if you are going to do this then only do it with a major hosting company, as many smaller ones appear with good deals appear and then go bust, having taken your money you will stand no chance of getting it back.
You will also need to look at your file storage and bandwidth options. File storage refers to the size of the files that will be uploaded on to the web hosting companies servers, whereas bandwidth refers to the amount of files uploaded and downloaded from the site each month. This latter requirement will vary from month to month depending on what your site is as well as how many visitors it has each day.
You can always start small, and up scale later. Don’t be oversold!
Bandwidth can always be scaled up, so it is a safer option to opt for a lower bandwidth to start with to keep costs down until you have had a chance to see how much traffic your site is getting once it is established. The same applies to file storage space, you can also buy more email storage.
Limitations of “Unlimited”
Also be aware of web hosting companies who will provide you with “unlimited” bandwidth or disk space. As with any contract, as is usually the case with mobile and internet contracts, the “unlimited” tag is often hugely misleading. While the web host may be willing to allow you fairly large amounts of bandwidth or disk space, don’t assume that your unlimited bandwidth and disk space is just that; chances are you’ll find your site will go down if you go over what they consider to be a ‘fair use limit’ for their services. Chances are that if a web host is willing to offer “unlimited” services, then they are one to stay away from!
A good web development company will be able to advise you on all of these web-hosting aspects, so do your research, and don’t necessarily go for the cheapest option – a higher cost service can often provide better customer service and can see your site having a much higher amount of uptime.