I’ve put a lot of work into the look and feel of my website but I haven’t given much thought to the hosting/serving of the site. What are the main things I need to look out for to ensure I get a good, effective deal?
Selecting a hosting company is a bit like choosing which suburb you want to live in. You want to live in the best suburb and get all the benefits, but pay almost nothing to get it.
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You also don’t want to lock yourself in for a monster mortgage and be paying it off for the rest of your life. I signed up for a huge hosting contract once and it really hurt closing it down.
Realistically, when you start out you don’t have that much traffic so you don’t have that much at risk. You want a hosting company that is live all the time but cheap. Here’s how to find one:
- What do you need that is not negotiable?
- The right coding language – You must buy hosting with the coding language that your developers need. If you need a database you will need one of those. I would suggest php and mysql as a great language and database as it doesn’t have any licensing fees and therefore makes your hosting a lot cheaper.
- Email Accounts – You will want to have Your.Name@YourDomain.com.au. So just check that you can set up email accounts with your hosting. It’s a tad unprofessional using a Yahoo or Hotmail account for business.
- What isn’t important:
- Hosting Statistics – Hosting stats aren’t that important in the early phases of your website because you don’t have that much traffic. You aren’t really that concerned about how much bandwidth your site is using nor how long certain processes take the CPU to complete. I would just rely on Google Analytics until you get some decent traffic and only then might you want to consider a few of those metrics from your hosting stats.
- Too much hosting space – When you start up, your site is usually going to be quite small (around 5GB max for a text and images website). When websites are small in size, there isn’t much point it buying a 10 bedroom house when you live by yourself.
- What you are trying to find:
- A reliable hosting company that is live all the time but cheap – This is the ultimate. You essentially don’t want to pay that much to get yourself a nice starting place to begin building up your website’s traffic.
- Cost – $25 – $50 per month. That should start you off on a shared hosting account with all the bells and whistles you need.
- Support – You want a hosting company that has decent support so that when your sites goes down or gets hacked they actually pick up your phone call and fix the problem. Finding out that your hosting company doesn’t answer its calls or is located in some foreign country without electricity parts of the year doesn’t help you build traffic on your website. I suggest you call a hosting company a few times before you select them just to see how they handle your call. (I have actually bought hosting that actually went nowhere and didn’t exist – it was a shell website. The phone number didn’t connect to anything!)
- A company that isn’t going to go into receivership – It’s annoying setting up your systems and then for your hosting company to suddenly not be there. I would just take a look at the prices they are charging and make sure that there is a little margin in that so that they can still eat their corn flakes. There isn’t going to be any sugar on the flakes, but still.