Just about everybody today has a website, from middle school students to high powered CEOs in major cities. If you have a business, large or small, it’s even more imperative to have your own website so that clients can find out everything they need to know. If you’re going to build a website, you’ll have to find a web host. There are several different options, from free to expensive and extremely simple to super detailed. Here are some guidelines on how to choose a web host.
How to Choose a Web Host
Reliability and Speed
It goes without saying that your web host should be reliable, but people often get stuck with a host that they just assumed was dependable even though it’s really not. If your site is often down or the pages don’t load quickly, you’ll lose a ton of visitors and they’ll probably never return. There are a few of ways to determine if a web host is reliable or not: 1. Set up a trial website just to see if it’s steady from day to day. Fill some pages to the brim and leave others fairly empty to see if they behave in different ways. Visit the website at different times during the day to see how it handles peak times and down times. Tell your friends and family to check out the website every few days and ask them for feedback. 2. Read user reviews online to find out what people are saying about a specific web host. 3. See if you can find any other websites that use that same web host. Check out the websites to see how they perform.
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As you search for a web host, you’ll notice that a lot of them offer an unlimited amount – don’t be fooled by this, because there’s probably some fine print somewhere. Web hosts get charged a ton when you exceed a certain bandwidth, and it’s wishful thinking to assume they’re just going to take those costs on their own shoulders. If you find a web host that offers an extremely high amount of bandwidth, check out their other limitations. Odds are that you’ll pay extra for all that promising bandwidth, but you’ll hit the other limits well before you full the bandwidth limit. If you don’t provide music or video on your website, you don’t need more than 3 GB of space to start with. As your traffic grows, you’ll get a feel for how much more bandwidth you need and you can increase your web host package.
Using a Free Web Host
So, You Don’t Wanna Pay a Penny… Here’s what you’ll get when you use a free web host: 1. They’ll probably advertise on your website. That could mean a popup window every time someone clicks onto your homepage, a front-and-center banner or just a tiny link at the bottom. If you find a free web hosting service that doesn’t impose any of their advertisements, you didn’t hit the jackpot. Since these hosts aren’t covering their own costs, they’ll likely close, which means you’ll have to rebuild your website from scratch somewhere else. 2. Limited web space, usually up to 5 mb. Now, that may be just fine for a basic website. However, if you’re going to be adding to your blog daily or uploading high quality photos to the gallery every week, you could run out of space quick. 3. Lack of FTP access, which means that you can’t design web pages on your computer and then upload them to the host. Instead, you’ll be limited to designing the page with the host’s site builder. This doesn’t usually matter for amateur designers, but it can really stand in the way of a pro.
Peter Henson is a professional blogger that enjoys providing information on colocation, managed hosting and dedicated server services. He writes for QuoteColo, a leading colocation hosting service in Dallas as well as colocation in Atlanta.