The internet has had a dramatic impact on all aspects of our lives. These days, we use the web for our TV, films, and music. We use it to communicate, to shop, to find information, to get directions… in fact, it’s hard to think of a single part of our lives that doesn’t interact online in some way.
However, while the internet is great for giving us things, it’s also had a transformative effect on the way we publish information. It takes mere minutes to set up a Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube page and start sharing your experiences. Better yet, with today’s technology, it’s now also straightforward to set up a website or blog and begin publishing to the world.
One of the first things you’ll need to decide when you set up your website is what hosting company to choose. Here are a few things you should consider when selecting a company to host your site.
What is the most common platform to choose from?
In its short 17-year history, WordPress has come to dominate the Content Management System (CMS) industry. Indeed, these days it’s estimated WordPress powers around 37% of all websites and holds a commanding 63% of the entire CMS market.
WordPress has become popular mostly because of its ease of use, support community, and a vast array of pre-built templates.
If you’re setting up a site, chances are you’ll end up defaulting to WordPress, so be sure your host supports it. Two of the most popular WordPress hosting companies are Bluehost and HostGator. Click here for a hosting comparison of Bluehost and HostGator.
How much storage space do you need?
One of the first things you’ll need to work out is how much space you need to set up a site.
For example, if you intend to set up a video streaming site, you’ll need more space than if you want to run a text-only blog.
All the major hosting companies offer tiered hosting packages with differing amounts of storage. Click here for a guide to how disk space works. You should also check if the host charges for extra bandwidth (the amount of data your site sends to users).
Which type of hosting do you need?
In conjunction with server space, most host companies also offer different types of server space. Options include hosting on a shared server, Virtual Private Server (VPS), or dedicated server. If you’re just starting out, in almost all cases, the shared server option will suffice. However, just for clarity, the definitions are below:
- Shared server: A shared server is shared with hundreds – sometimes thousands – of other websites. Consequently, resources are shared among many clients, so sites often run slower.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS): In a VPS setup, the server is split into dedicated virtual machines, each with its own resources. As a result, VPS servers operate far quicker than shared servers and typically offer more storage space.
- Dedicated server: A dedicated server is just as it sounds; a server reserved purely for your site. Dedicated servers are by far the quickest option but have a price tag to match.
Does the host offer in-built security, back-ups, and disaster provisioning?
Most host companies will offer some security built-in, but you should also check for automatic back-ups, and support options should the worst happen, and your site gets hacked, or you lose data.
Other factors to consider are easiness of hosting installation, price of SSL certificates, customer support, customized email options, etc.
Remember, when choosing your host, you have to take into consideration a few factors. The first one is the platform you will use. Here we gave the example of WordPress because it is the most chosen CMS platform in the market.
Second, you should consider how much space you will use. This can affect the performance of your website. The third factor is what type of hosting you would like to have.
The shared hosting is the cheapest option, but you have to be careful to choose the hosting platform because, in some cases, it also means that you may be sharing the IP address with multiple websites, and some of them may act like spammy. The other options are Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and Dedicated Servers.
Having said that, choose your hosting carefully and be sure of your needs beforehand.