As a web designer, we don’t just design a site to stay permanently in our own computers: we push them up to the web for public accessibility and traffic. Choosing a web host could be confusing and difficult if you don’t know features to look out for. As such, I decided to share what i consider as the most vital features to look for while considering choosing a web host.
1.AMOUNT OF STORAGE
When choosing a web host, the storage capacity for site files and database is primary. The storage space for a professional organization will not be the same for a news agency because of the amount of content they will be uploading on daily basis. Small and medium scale websites can be satisfied with 10GB. Analyzing your needs will guide you in choosing the webhost that better satisfies it.
2. AMOUNT OF BANDWIDTH
Bandwidth and storage goes hand in hand. Bandwidth is the amount of data that your host will allow to be uploaded and downloaded (cumulatively) in a given month. For instance, if your monthly allowance is 10MB and you use 2MB to upload your site, you have used up two MB of your bandwidth and you’ll be left with 8MB and supposing your site visitors uses 1MB each to either upload or download from your site, then only 8 visitors will be interacting with your site and your host might decide to either bar the rest or charge you for the extra bandwidth used.
3. NUMBER OF DOMAINS AND SUBDOMAINS
Once you have a site running, there is a tendency that you’ll launch a second and a third and much more… managing these hostings with different account could be boring and stressful. Therefore, choosing a web host that allows multiple domains is recommended. Also ensure that their limits satisfies your needs. You should be able to add domains and sub-domains from your administrative dashboard.
4. EMAIL ACCOUNTS AND FEATURES
Email account is a necessary feature in modern web interactions. Your site will need a site-based email service. Depending on the number of email addresses you will want to set up, your host should accommodate that. You should consider their selections for receiving the mail, apps integration, webmail interface, email client: IMAP or POP.
5. DATABASE SUPPORT
Content Management Systems are popular tools in modern web systems and it works with a database. It is ideal to choose a database that you are conversant with or that best suits your program. Most hosts offers MySQL and that suits popular demands but if you’d prefer Oracle, SQL Server, PostsgreSQL or another, don’t settle for less.
6. FRAMEWORK SUPPORT AND SITE-BUILDERS
Support for popular frameworks and easy to install feature should be provided by your host. Moreso, you web host should provide the tools such as templates and site-builders drag and drop functionality to help you create a professional-looking website without the need to hire a professional designer.
uptime is a factor not to joke with. You have to ensure that your visitors access your site whenever they try. Find our how reliable your prospective host is. You can do a background check on them, google and see what reviewers and users say about them.
8. TECHNICAL SUPPORT
It is very important to know your web host technical support effectiveness and efficiency. What medium is available to reach them? Phone, email, others? At what times of the day can they be reached? How long would it take to be responded? Do they have a live chat? Do they have a blog or library or how-to articles/tutorials?
The modern platforms also offer educational tools like video tutorials to help you get started if you’re new to the service, and user forums where you can seek help for specific problems once your website is up and running.
When choosing a web host, make sure you can easily and conveniently access the technical team.
9. SHELL ACCESS/CRON JOBS
For professional web developers, shell access is an essential feature. The ability to log into the server from the command line over ssh, copying files, changing permissions, installing plugins and other tasks. If you need this feature, you have to have it. Cron is a time-based job scheduler used to perform tasks on the server at given times. Cron jobs are great feature to have on your web host and its mostly follows shell access.
10. .HTACCESS FILES
.htaccess file is a configuration file used by Apache server. It is used to password protect directories, re-write URLs, redirect pages and more. The ability to add your own .htaccess files to your directories should be sought for.
11. PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE SUPPORT
Support for server-side languages you want to use. If you have plans to pick up Ruby on Rails, ensure its on the list of supported frameworks. Python support and others gives you flexibility on your installations.
No web host is less susceptible to data loss. Servers are just big computers that everyone can read files from. Your site files and databases has to be backed-up. You have to know the backup options your host provide. If there is no back-up option from your host, you have to figure out how to backup your files.
13.CHOICE OF OPERATING SYSTEM
For most site builders, OS won’t be an issue. But say you are developing in ASP.NET, you’ll need windows hosting which is a little harder to find and could be a bit more expensive. However, if you are using open source language, you won’t need worry about which Linux/Unix distribution you’ll get though your host may give you the option of choosing.
Inquire about the software versions your hosting company offers. Some host will give you the option of choosing which version to use while others may not have the latest versions of the softwares. For instance you want to upgrade your site from Drupal 7 to 8 and 8 requires PHP 5.6 or higher and your host hasn’t upgraded, you’ll be stucked.
Your web host should provide statistical tools to help you keep tabs on your site’s current status and performance. Details of how much traffic your website is generating, how much disk space is used up, the number of active subdomains, the number of databases you have set up etc should be available at a glance. Before you choose a host, ensure that it provides information you need.
Compare the extra applications and functionality of different web host and see what makes them different before deciding the one to go for. Flexibility in their options and following industrial trends is a good choice for functioning and growing investment.