September 11, 2012 3:26 am
1. Determine the platform.
Consult a web designer to determine what platform the new site needs to be hosted on. Usually this means choosing between a Linux or Windows server. Generally speaking, Linux servers deliver much faster performance. Either format works just fine for static websites but dynamic sites with special database requirements often find Windows servers are better. This is because a Windows server allows developers to use popular database coding languages like Structured Query Language (SQL). Online stores need e-commerce functionality so it’s important to choose a host offering a shopping cart and secure transactions.
2. Uptime Percentage
The most important aspect of web hosting is Uptime Percentage. It’s also the part that should go unnoticed. In short, uptime means the time that a website is online. It’s absolutely vital to select a web host that is as close to 100% uptime as possible. All web servers have downtime, but you really want to minimize it as much as possible. Downtime is the equivalent to having a sign on your business door that says ‘Closed.’ Hosts that offer 99.9% uptime or better are highly recommended.
3. Technical Support
Another way a business can be shut down is if their website doesn't work properly. Unforeseen problems do occur, threatening any online business. Sometimes the problem is something the website operator accidentally causes. That’s why it is so important to choose a web hosting provider that can respond with helpful solutions quickly and efficiently.
Technical support has come a long way. Just a few years ago, most hosts had limited technical support compared to what is available now. Some hosts were only available by email, or by support tickets, and they were only accessible during business hours. Thankfully, most of the good web hosts currently realize that the Internet is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Select a web host that provides quick and helpful support 24 hours a day.
4. Storage Space
Storage space is also a consideration, and generally speaking, most hosts offer plenty of space. Most basic sites, even with large databases of products or downloadable documents, are less than a few hundred megabytes in size. It’s a good idea to get a few gigabytes in storage, an easy task in today’s hosting marketplace. The exception would be sites containing a high volume of videos, a streaming live video feed, or thousands of high-resolution images. Obviously, then it’s important to find a host offering more gigabytes in their basic package.
5. Bandwidth / Data Transfer.
Bandwidth is the amount of data that a website is capable of transferring to their visitors. Similarly, data transfer is the actual amount of data that a website really does transfer to the users who access it. Bandwidth and data transfer are usually not a concern to most sites, unless they have a huge database of video or high-resolution images.
Online stores require hosts with e-commerce capabilities. The larger hosts offer many tools such as shopping cart software, payment and e-commerce tools, secure servers and database builders to name a few. Stick with the larger hosts who offer more tools that help businesses.
7. Number of Domains / Domain Pointers
Most new site operators realize early on the need for additional domains. It’s a smart business decision to protect the company brand by securing other top-level domains such as the .net and .org version of a domain and point it to the main .com site. Some site owners want to increase or diversify their marketshare with additional websites in their space. In any event, it's nice to have the option for numerous, or even unlimited domains in a hosting package.
8. Email and FTP accounts.
Make sure to get enough email accounts for each staff member and department. Perhaps different people will be working on the website, making it a security concern to have unique FTP accounts. This allows for access to different sections of a site (general, blog, forum, products), while keeping more sensitive information private.
Published with permission from RISMedia.