Every website lives somewhere on a physical server, a type of computer designed for serving up web pages each time a visitor comes to the site.
For very large companies or certain high-traffic websites, it occasionally makes sense to purchase a dedicated server and maintain it onsite. But that requires both the space and the staff to maintain the computer, and all of the backup solutions required in case anything goes wrong.
For most small business websites, it makes much more senese to host your website with a hosting company. In that case, the hosting company owns and maintains the server (or typically, dozens and dozens of servers) and you essentially rent a small sliver of it for your website, at a low monthly cost.
So, how to pick the hosting company?
And once you have a hosting company, which hosting plan?
There are several factors to consider when selecting your hosting:
Functionality – Many websites are built using content management software that requires a particular type of programming language and/or database on the server. For example, WordPress websites require the PHP language and MySQL databases on their server, while .NET websites require .NET and SQL databases. Your web developer should be able to list any requirements.
Technical Support – If you’ll be hosting your email, storing files, or housing any other functions on your hosting account, it’s important to know that the company will help if something goes wrong. Before selecting a hosting company, I always make sure they offer support by phone, for easy access. And, if possible, call the number and ask a few basic questions, to get an idea of response time and employee helpfulness.
Bandwidth – Luckily, many hosting companies have started to offering unlimited bandwidth. But for those who don’t, you can get slapped with high charges if you ever go over your limit. If you have a current site, check your average bandwidth usage, double it, and make sure your new hosting company can accommodate that.
If you’re working with us, we’re happy to recommend one of our preferred vendors. Just ask.