Choosing the right Web Hosting

Please note: I’m not
going to discuss about your privacy when uploading files to your web hosting or
any topics for buying domain names. If you have any questions with those then
feel free to send me an e-mail.


There are numerous individuals and probably some of them are
students who asked me about a good web hosting solution for their web projects.
Although some of them are developers and are very well-aware of the Internet
but they seemed to lack some key points in choosing the right Web hosting for
them. So I decided to post some handy advice and exceptional conclusions of
various web hosting providers and its solutions.

But what’s this post for? Well, it’s for choosing the right Shared Web Hosting.

Now that you’re certain for making the most of the internet
for your business, where should you start? Well, the very first place to
start is to get a website. The cost of developing and hosting a website has
become inexpensive. It is where people that find you on the web and will go to
learn more about you. So, if you don’t have a website, there’s no point in choosing
another internet marketing services and tools.

So you have your site. We know that there are many services
offered in hosting your websites and it adds stress when choosing the right one.
For now, I will just list some of the types that I’ve been using for years.

Shared Web Hosting
– which have the essential or should we say minimal features. This is good for
informational websites that don’t need extensive features. One thing to note is
that your site is hosted at the same server and probably the same medium with
other users in the internet.

Dedicated Hosting – customized
hosting for your business. You can
fully manage all services that added into it. You can have a fully isolated
server for your business.

Virtual Hosting
you can have the full features of a dedicated server but it operates like a
shared hosting. You can have your OS pre-installed (sometimes not) and is
running virtually. You can reboot your server without affecting others.

Collocated Hosting – there
are several collocation arrangements. And if you have your own server with all
the software installed, you can move it to anywhere you like. So your still
taking advantage of a dedicated server but instead of a hosting company
provides the server and maintenance, they host it for you.

In any of those services above, we can also Resell it. So there comes the Reseller Hosting. It tends to provide
customized hosting needs for your own hosting packages.

I hope that explains most of it. Just a concise explanation

So I’m going to discuss about Shared Web Hosting. Now,
before choosing “where” we should look at first on “what” are available and
“what” are your needs. I’m going to list the facts and I’ll try to include some
opinions on it.

Reliability: Uptime
and Downtime. It should have a great uptime level. In reality, we business
owners sleep or should we say, we’re not accessing our own sites for 24/7 but
our customer does. They don’t sleep. They’re exploiting all the benefits of
what we have in our web site. So if a downtime happens they all get mad. So
that should leave the answer of satisfying your customers in every seconds of
what they want.

Support Services:
let’s make sure we can contact the service provider easily after we subscribe
to them. Good hosting providers will have a great deal with support services.
You can contact their sales reps anytime you want. You can ask support to their
technical personnel when you have problems. You can contact their
administrative personnel for customer relations and groups. You can contact
their billing personnel to arrange an order. A good hosting provider should
have time to their customers and its called transparency.

Bandwidth: next
is the data transfer rate. It is not more like how fast BUT it is how much
amount of bytes you can transfer from your site to your visitors. This happens
when your visitor we’re attempting to access your website. So your host will
probably forward the request to your shared account then your host will send
some amounts of bytes to your visitors to see the contents, pictures,
presentations etc. In all of that, your hosting should be capable of handling
those request overtime.

Web Space: this
is how much space you can have. Normally, they separate disk usage of e-mails
and databases. But don’t get confused. There should be a reasonable web space
for your web applications to fit in. Overtime, our sites usually exceed the
maximum web space they provide because of user comments, private/public
messages, forums, and blogs etc. into our sites. So be sure to use your web
space wisely. Sometimes it’s good to use flat files just like XML’s for
database solutions since we normally have a bigger web space than a database

Features: this
will summarize all the necessary services you need for your business, private
or corporate web sites. Important services should have the following:

Email service – almost all shared hosting have
e-mail service added but you should have the number of e-mail you require in
your company.

Dynamic Pages support/components – if you’re
accepting payments online then you probably have developed your own e-commerce
web site. So be sure you get what you need. Let’s say in Windows, you require having
ASP.NET and in Linux you require PHP.

SSL support – really an important feature for
your web pages. The whole point of purchasing a certificate or using an ssl
certificate is that it is signed by a source that is already recognized by your
visitors. Anyway, there are lots of aspects to look at when it comes to SSL
certs and we’re not going to discuss it here. My opinion is that; buy this if
you want your visitors to trust you with their credit/debit card details.

Multiple domains and sub-domains – been having
problems with this since I started this blog. I have one shared hosting and I
need to host more than one site. Good thing is my shared hosting provider can
add up to 100 domains pointed to my account. Great! So now I can host some of
my client’s web sites to one shared host.

Multiple Web Applications (not applicable for
Linux servers) – this has been my problem last year with my shared host. They
can only provide 5 web application per account. The problem falls to IIS6 with some
limitation in the server itself. If you’re going to have a windows server, be
sure to have a good deal with multiple apps. So even if you have many domains
pointed to your account but you can run ASP.NET pages for selected folders
because it should run as a web application in IIS.

Database solutions – just be careful with the db
space. Sometimes, your db space will be a fraction of your web space. So be
sure to ask them. Database engine will vary with your site requirements. If you’re
into windows hosting then you probably require MS SQL Server. And the most
friendly of all, MySQL.


Management: I’ve
been into many hosting providers and there comes a time that I can’t modify my
web pages online. That’s crazy isn’t it? So look for Control Panel Demo to try
out or a screenshot of what they have for their hosting administration. Because
managing your e-mail accounts, ftp accounts, changing passwords, managing dns
and all sort of that will require a good control panel. The same aspects as
Reseller Hosting would require. If you want to delete a shared account then you
should have done it easily from your control panel. In some other case, there
are differences when dealing with OS (operating systems). In windows hosting,
you can have minimal control of your account unless its not shared hosting. There’s
also a problem when you implement your site locally and later restore your
databases online but don’t have direct access with your server. There are certain
limitations with these things in windows hosting before Windows Server 2008 was
released. In many years, Linux is very approachable with services like SSH and Apache.
So if you’re into Windows Hosting, be sure to ask if you can do things like
restore/backup your databases. Otherwise you can utilize the easiest and
fastest facilities of a Linux server.

Windows or Linux?
This is not new to me. I’ve been asking the same question before I start developing
websites. Again, don’t be confused with Operating Systems. Be practical in
making decisions. If you’re a developer and your clients wants to setup a
website and probably they leave it all up to you. All they want is “cheap” and
fast hosting. So best check some linux hosting. What if you’re in a company?
And they require a unique hosting that will help their business grow with a
hassle-free deployment? Then you can go to Windows hosting. There are lots of
considerations to look for. If you’re smart enough to use your skills either by
reading some reviews or by having what you got then that’s a plus of being a
webmaster. Some considerations will depend on what you know, what they (your
clients) require, what the solution of the business requires, what’s the least
inexpensive service, how can it help promote the business fast and secure, or
how long do you need to familiarize the operating system. Again, be practical.
Even when just providing your service to other people or business owners. 

How much? I’ve
been reading lots of reviews and they always say like “no need to ask for the
price. What you get is what you paid for.” Well, heh that’s kind of weird
though when the first we thought of buying is we think of “how much”. Every
time you see a hosting company web site, you always see the same prices. Why?
Why is it always like that? Why is there flat rate of $3 or even $10? Well,
welcome to e-commerce world. Fixed rates happen. Many things vary from their
end. Start weighing the features you want if you get what you want for that
amount of money. Start searching at your budget range and see if you can get
any features you want.

MoneyBack! A
great deal of subscribing is to get a money back guarantee. It’s true that
there are real moneyback guarantees that without any questions, they will give
the same amount as you paid them unless it’s still in their moneyback guarantee
policy. So if you subscribe not more than 2 months and you want to stop the subscription
then you can still get your money back. Almost all hosting providers are providing
this kind of facility. So make sure to choose one with it too.

Payment modes: it’s
always the best way to pay your bills. You can choose to pay them in monthly
basis, quarterly and annually. Better choose to pay the same month with all
your major bills so that it will not affect your other accountabilities. Other
firms are very serious with this since they don’t like the story when they woke
up one morning and their site is gone with a little note: “This site has been
temporarily suspended”. So pay your billsJ. In any way, if you can’t
pay your host then it will be held to company’s policy.

Location: Well it
is important too to consider the location of your servers. Decide which city or
what country you like it to be. If you want it close to your home then you can
have a local hosting provider. In this case, if you’re in Philippines then do yourself a
favor, look for pinoy local hosting providers.

Freebies: Be sure
to check if there are promotions and or free tools to use when starting a
website. There could be a Free Website
package included. Also, there are promotion codes that are available for discounting. First time you
subscribe to their services, you can have a discount in each item or to the
actual package. Sometimes there are so called trial accounts that you will not pay for those months or you could
stop using the service until you’re not convinced with the packages they

The case of being kind to them is that they always take-out some importance
components in their packages. Just like in Windows hosting, they take-out MS
SQL Server included. So be careful when choosing them. A customized account is
a good choice. Or buy the addon when you need it.

Summary: Ask more
questions before subscribing. Don’t be too kind when dealing with them. There’s
no such thing as unlimited. If it says unlimited then there’s a good reason for
asking more questions. So now, to get you started, I would like to refer the
following hosting providers. I also include some Pros and Cons in the list.

Brinkster Communication

I started subscribing in 2003 with their Educational
Package (Free) and decided to host my sites in 2004. It’s not long enough to
host my other clients with them.


Hosting features are very unique
with real-time support services at 24/7. 90 days money back guarantee.


I have some frustrations when it
comes to managing windows accounts. I came with a Windows Shared Hosting with
IIS6 in a Windows 2003 server. But I can’t access the Web Server and manage


            Hostnine Inc.

I started subscribing since 2005 when some students
from school require a cheap hosting in linux machines. After that, been
subscribed with their reseller package and keep a shared hosting.


Support services is great!. And
they have reasonable prices for both windows and linux servers. Good thing is
that they have a great reseller package with Linux and Windows servers together.


Spam spam spam. You’re e-mails are
full of unwanted messages. Several downtimes. They don’t answer much with the
problems of shared hosting nor reseller users.


            DiscountASP.NET (Windows only)

I’ve been a trial-user in their hosting from 2004 and
they had the major compenents an ASP.NET web developer likes.


Support services is great. And
unlike any other host, they have fast servers. They also provide a .net shared
class library for their control panel so you can interface to their services in
your own way.


Can’t find any for a trial-user.
Expensive when it comes to a shared hosting.


Others are, and and There is also a great
opportunity when subscribing. A referral program which is common nowadays. Try
to learn on how to make money and in the long run it will pay your hosting
needs and possible make more money.

That’s it. Thanks for reading. Please note that this is just
a quick view of how to choose the right shared web hosting for your web
projects. If any of the text did not meet your expectations then you can contact
me or send your feedback by commenting to this post. In addition, I would like
to refer you to another good source of “How to choose the right Web Hosting” from
thesitewizard here and here. I hope you learn
from it.

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