5 Things to consider when choosing a web hosting

No Comments » Written on July 27th, 2016 by
Categories: Hosting & Domains

hosting-serversSo you decided to get a website done: you have the idea down on a paper, you know how you would like to organize it, probably the pages and categories to be included in your web project. With the numerous options out there, choosing the perfect web hosting for you and you project could be overwhelming.

Well, maybe overwhelming is a strong word, but the idea is that choosing the right web hosting or not could mean the difference of your website's successful start or not.

1. Hosting platform

If you have started development of your website or have a script that you will be using to build the project, than the answer for the first point would be simple: Windows or Linux hosting.

Linux hosting environment is the most popular hosting platform on the web, supporting a wide range of development languages, from PHP, Pearl, Curl, Java and databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL. Most of the scripts you will find out there, like WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, phpBB are perfectly suited for Linux web hosting.

On the other end, Windows hosting supports mainly native development projects built in ASP.NET and databases such as MSSQL. Of course you could host PHP projects on Windows as well, but these would be better optimized for Linux.

2. Hosting performance

Performance of the web hosting plan will result in your website to load smoothly and deliver quickly the content to your visitors. It is important to know what kind of resources your website will use and what is the expected traffic (number of users).

For most websites, a standard shared hosting plan is more than sufficient. Shared hosting means that the server where your website will be hosted will be shared among more clients, each of them hosting and sharing the same resources of the server. Nowadays, shared hosting accounts are quite well optimized so traffic spikes of one client's website will not affect another client's website performance. Shared hosting can easily accommodate websites with 1-2000 users / day.

If you're aiming at more traffic, and maybe you're also using a web script like WordPress or Joomla or PrestaShop, than VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server) is the next choice. VPS is still some sort of shared hosting, but in VPS case there are fewer clients hosted on a single server, and the server resources are well delimited in terms of what each client can use: space, CPU power, RAM memory. This way, you are sure to have certain server resources dedicated to you, regardless of what happens for other clients hosted on the same server.

Dedicated server is for higher demand websites, with more traffic and calculations in the process. Dedicated hosting is an entire server resources set for your use - no other clients are hosted on the same server, hence all the server power is at your disposal. This is a most expensive option, but as it used for bigger projects, usually the cost of the server is easily covered.

The latest availability in terms of hosting option is Cloud hosting. Cloud hosting offers several advantages as it may be easy to scale up and down based on the website's success. In this case, a large number of servers are interlinked together, making it into a supercomputer. As a client, you can choose a plan that dedicates a certain amount of resources for you, and in the case of needing more, scaling up to get more power will be much easier than moving your websites between hosting accounts as you would be required for shared hosting, VPS or dedicated servers.

3. Hosting space

Hosting space is another ingredient that should be considered. Now most web hosting plans are advertised with unlimited hosting space. Is that really unlimited? The answer is simply No. Unlimited hosting space is a space set without a limit, a space that would simply fit for most clients' demands, but it is truly not unlimited. If you are looking to host large volumes of data, you will soon find out that unlimited becomes limited. If you know you will need to use more hosting space, my recommendation is to read the fine print of web hosts advertising Unlimited Space.

4. Bandwidth required

Bandwidth is what measures the amount of traffic your website would need. Every time a visitor comes to your website, every time the search engine bots scan your website for content, the server hosting the website needs to deliver the pages, backgrounds, images and content, and this uses bandwidth. In most cases, standard web hosting accounts are enough to take on regular traffic of 1000 visitors / day. However if you expect more traffic, or your website uses a lot of graphic or will be used for downloading any files / videos etc, than you may require a guaranteed bandwidth which can be purchased on higher performance hosting accounts like VPS, dedicated servers or the scalable solution: cloud hosting. Although most standard hosting accounts will be advertised with Unlimited / Unmetered bandwidth, there will be a limitation on accounts that use too much resources.

5. SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization from a hosting point of view is something that indirectly affects your website performance. Among the main factors are website speed, IP location, domain location. If you expect visitors to come from a specific region, like Sweden, than it would be wise to have a hosting account located on servers in Sweden. This will deliver faster content to users than when using a server in the US for example. Page speed is a ranking factor used in Google. The IP of the website may also be used as a ranking factor in search engines. Although this is a bit more unclear, most SEO specialist would recommend to have a dedicated IP or an IP that is local for your targeted visitors. This could tell search engines that content served from that IP may have higher relevance to users in that region/country. Domain location - or TLD (top level domain) - is also something that may be used as a ranking factor in search engines. Therefore, for our previous example a domain ending in .se rather than .com may rank higher for Swedish searches. The TLD is another way of telling search engines that content from that specific website should be better targeted to users in a specific country.