Free web hosting service, as the name says, is free and so it is bound by cons that most free services have. It gives limited access and benefits. So, what if your needs are not satisfied by free web hosting service What should you look for when you pay for web hosting service? How to make sure your web hosting provider offers is affordable as well as meets your needs?
This is perhaps the most important factor to look for in web hosting provider. It is crucial that your website is always up so that your visitors get what they are looking for. Also, it should be fast enough so as not to try their patience.
2. Disk Space
Many web hosting providers entice users by claiming they provide unlimited GBs of disk space. Unless you stream music or videos, your requirements would only be in MBs. So don’t let this be the deciding factor.
If the host boasts of providing unlimited bandwidth, make sure to check their terms and conditions because most often “unlimited” is defined limited in some or the other way. Check details on how much traffic your package allows. Most simplistic websites use 1-3 GB of bandwidth at most per month. However, as you grow and become more popular amongst your target audience, your needs might grow. You may need to upload audio/video file or bulkier images, due to which your website will consume more bandwidth. Always be sure that you don’t exceed the specified limits. Check their policies to know beforehand as what steps will be taken if you exceed the limits.
4. FTP, .htaccess, PHP, Perl, MySQL
FTP access is one of the most basic requirements one needs to maintain a website.You might also need to install PHP or Perl scripts. If the host doesn’t allow you to install anything without their approval, you will have to wait for them every time you make any certain changes to your site. Rights to create or modify .htaccess file will be needed if you want to customize an error page and for authorization features. Nowadays, many blogs and content management systems (CMS) use MySQL. Hence, make sure you are allowed to use MySQL database.
5. Tech Support
Look for 24/7 support and check how much their tech support team can actually help you in times of need. You should also check their policy on providing tech support.
If yours is an online business and you plan to collect payments on your own, then you might need to implement SSL. See if your preferred package offers SSL. In case you want to leave it to payment gateway like PayPal, then you might not need this.
You might want an email address at your domain. Today most commercial web hosting providers offer 5 free email addresses. Check if you can auto respond, forward an email to your current email address or place into the mail box on your web hosting account?
8. Admin Panel
It is typically used for performing maintenance activities like add/update passwords, manage email addresses, contact information etc. Most commercial web hosting providers offer admin panel as it hardly makes sense to contact customer care support every time you want to make changes to your site.
9. Payment Plan
You can start with a monthly plan if you want to check the quality of web hosting service. Selecting an annual plan turns out to be cheaper than the monthly rate. But if you are not satisfied with the service, then you can’t change until a year completes.
10. User Experience
If possible, try to contact their existing users and ask them about their experience. Talk to them regarding the reliability, speed, and other important factors mentioned above. Ask them if they would like to recommend the service to you.
Based on my years of experience in website design and development, I have listed some of the key points to be considered before choosing a commercial web hosting service.
About The Author:
The author is a website consultant and digital technology professional from eminentinfoweb.com working with small businesses. Offering a variety of business services like website design & development, SEO services, mobile app development in India. He is committed to helping businesses succeed in an increasingly technological environment.