There are literally thousands of so-called “Web Hosting” companies out there, so, how do you choose which one to go with? There are several things you need to confirm with the hosting company before making a final decision, because hosting reliability and features can make or break your web site.
The first major consideration should be price. Though most companies will price a basic hosting package around the same, the cheapest is not always the best. When shopping, I have found that the cheapest hosting company is typically a reseller and has limited features available to you. I have seen hosting offered at prices as low as $1.99 per month and as high as $39.99 per month for a shared hosting plan. What is the difference? The company for $1.99 per month is likely a reseller with nothing invested into the servers that your will be hosting on. Also, you probably will not get any sort of customer service should you have an issue. On the other end, $39.99 should get you top notch customer service, but that price is extremely inflated considering you can find a decent VPS provider for the same amount. Granted you will probably get a lot of features plus 24/7 customer service, the price is just too high for basic shared hosting.
A happy medium would be a host that offers 24/7 customer service, a plethora of available tools and features, all with a price around $10 per month. I have been hosting websites for many years now, and there in no benefit going with the $39.99 plan verses a $10 plan if you are getting all the same features.
Another factor to consider is the means of support you are provided. Some web hosting companies offer only email support or trouble tickets, with others offering email and trouble tickets along with 24/7 phone support. If you web site is your method of making money, wouldn’t it be important that you have access to help right away if something should happen?
Lastly, consider the features you will need for your site. A hosting plan that offers 50 MySQL databases and 1000 Email accounts is not better than a plan offering 5 MySQL databases and 100 email accounts if you only need a few dozen email accounts a database or two. The price may vary between these two plans by 10 – 20 dollars per month, so why pay for extra features if you don’t need them. With any decent hosting company you can upgrade down the road if you need to. Also, don’t believe the hype over unlimited bandwidth and disk space. They are never truly “Unlimited” because you can bet if you exceed what the company sees as being an ideal number, they will shut you down or force you to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated Server. Ninety-Nine percent of individuals who think they need unlimited disk space allotments and unlimited bandwidth only use a few Gb’s at most of each, making this over-sold feature unimportant.
With the 1000’s of website hosting companies out there, make sure to do your research and shop around. Only a few companies live up to what they advertise and the rest will likely over charge you or leave you hanging if you need help.
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