There are thousands of Web Hosting Companies out there and
counting. How do I choose the ideal plan for my Web Site? The
key here is to understand what your Web Site's needs are. Once
you know what is required, you can eliminate many options. These
are the most important points that you need to focus on:
- Determine the requirements of your site.
- Choosing an Operating System.
- Choosing between shared and dedicated solutions.
- Determine which hosting company is better.
So, what are the requirements of my site?
Answer all the
following questions. If there is any question that you do not
know the answer to, try to work with your Web Designer. If you
do not have a Web Designer, try to ask any Web Hosting Provider.
If you do not understand any of the terms, see Web Hosting
Terminologies at http://www.sirunet.com/WebHostingTerms.com.
- How much Disk Space does your Web Site require?
- How much Monthly Transfer (Bandwidth) do you need?
- Is a Database required? If so, what Type of Database is required for your site?
- What Scripting Languages does your web site use?
- Does your site require Servlet Technology (Server-side scripting language)? If
so, What Servlet Technology does your web site use?
of the questions above may have approximated answers. Try to do
your best and it will help you when choosing your hosting
provider and plan.
Most of the sites out there need less than 100 Megabytes (MB) of
disk space. Notice that one Megabyte is equivalence to eight
Megabits, so do not be fooled by numbers. If your web site is
not for heavy media downloads, in most cases you do not need
more than 10 Gigabyte (GB) of Monthly Transfer. There is an
equation that can be used to calculate your bandwidth: Monthly
Transfer = Monthly Visitors x Average Hits per Visitor x Average
Unless you have a web site hosted already, otherwise it is
impossible for you to determine the site's monthly visitors and
average page hits per visitor. So lets put this aside for now.
There are many types of databases. The most commonly used
database types are MYSQL (Windows & UNIX), ODBC (Windows), and
MS Access (Windows). By knowing what type of database you use,
it will help you decide which Operating System to go for.
The most popular Scripting Languages are CGI and Perl. While
most of the web hosting plans include these as standard
features, you do not have to worry too much here. Note: some
Free Web Hosting plans DO NOT support scripting languages.
Choosing a Web Host with Servlet Technology is very hard because
it is not commonly supported and even for those who say they
support it, they do not have sufficient technical support. The
most commonly used Servlet Technologies are Active Server Pages
(ASP) and Java Server Pages (JSP). While JSP is best supported
in both Windows and UNIX environment, ASP is currently well
supported only in Windows. Although Sun Java System Active
Server Pages do work on UNIX environment, it is still in testing
stage; as of July 2004.
What Operating System should I go for?
hosting plans are usually more expensive than those are UNIX
based. Why would I need Windows Hosting then? There are many
factors. If you use ODBC or MS Access database you may be
required to use Windows Hosting. If you use ASP you may be
required to use Windows Hosting. If you or your Web Master is
more familiar with Windows environment you may consider using
Windows Hosting. If you do not need any of the above, I would
recommend you to use UNIX based Hosting. Why? Because they are
much less expensive in terms of service fees and software
licensing than Windows Hosting. Windows hosting are often slower
than UNIX hosting in performance. If you have two servers with
exact hardware specs, one in UNIX and the other one in Windows,
the UNIX server will have better performance in terms of speed,
reliability, and security.
Should I use shared hosting or dedicated hosting?
are only a few reasons that you will need dedicated hosting.
Your site contains sensitive information that you need better
security and dedicated hosting does that. If you need flexible
software support, you should consider dedicated hosting. If you
need total control over your account, you should consider
dedicated hosting. If you need to host a large web application,
dedicated hosting is your choice. So who should choose dedicated
hosting? Any Web Sites that need any of the above should choose
dedicated hosting. If you do not need any of the above, I would
recommend you to use shared hosting because it is more cost
effective than dedicated hosting.
Hints on choosing a Web Hosting company
Ok. Now I know
the requirements of my Web Site and which type of hosting to
choose, but how do I know which Web Hosting company is better?
There are two factors that you should focus on. First, check if
the company offers all the things your Web Site needs. Second,
check if the company is reliable in terms of services and
support. The only way for you to know if a company is reliable
is to try them, so sign up for the plans that have at least 15
days Money-back guarantee. This way you can always cancel the
account if you do not feel comfortable with the company. How
would you know if they have what you want? Well, the best way is
to ask them. Make sure to provide them all of the requirements
of your Web Site. There are other ways to know more about the
companies, such as finding reviews on hosting community sites.
But the reviews are often misleading, thus the best way is still
trying it yourselves.
To summarize, make sure to know both what your Web Site needs
and what Web Hosting companies are offering before making your
About The Author|
Shawn Si, is an editor and Marketing Director of Sirunet.com, a
leading ecommerce enabled web hosting service provider. He can
be reached at email@example.com
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