If you want to set up a website, you’re going to need a web hosting package. But with so many choices out there, how can you identify the package that’s best for you?
Here are five questions that you should look into when it comes to getting yourself online.
1 – How much storage will you get? (And how much do you need?)
Everything you upload to the web as part of your site, whether it’s video, a page, photos or whatever, needs to be stored somewhere. That’s where your hosting package’s disk space comes into play. Exactly how much you need depends on the kind of site you’re running.
If it’s just a personal blog, then 1GB should be more than enough for you, but if you’re planning on including high definition video or other files that take up a large amount of space then you’ll want to go for something bigger.
Remember though, more space usually costs more money, so going for the biggest package available “just to be on the safe side” could be a costly mistake. It’s worth checking to see how easy it is to upgrade your package so you can expand your site in the future if you need to.
2 – How much bandwidth will you get?
Bandwidth is also important – too little of it and your site could be inaccessible during busy periods, too much and you’ll be wasting money on something you don’t need. Again, if you’re starting off small it doesn’t make sense to pay up front for a huge amount of bandwidth if you’re not going to use it.
However, if you’re planning a big launch that you expect will bring in a lot of visitors, you’ll want to make sure you can handle the influx. If people can’t access your site, they might not come back.
You should also consider what impact the hosting package will have on the overall speed of your site, and this can be a consideration when it comes to search engine optimisation and customer experience – Google and potential customers don’t like a site that’s slow to load.
3 – What kind of support can you expect?
As with any tech-related product, support is a significant issue. If you need it, will it be up to the standard you require? There are a few basics you should check out – such as where the web hosting company’s support service is based, how you can contact them and the hours in which the team operates.
You should also look at customer reviews as these often mention the level of service someone has received – remember though, online reviews are usually extremely good or extremely bad with no middle ground, so don’t take everything on face value.
4 – What kind of technical skills do you have access to?
Even the most basic of web hosting packages will require you to have some sort of technical knowledge, even if it’s just the ability to install a content management system so you can use that to build you site.
However, the more complex your package the more knowhow you will need at your disposal. Make sure you understand exactly how much technical knowledge you’ll need for the hosting package you’re considering and that you have access to it, either personally or through an employee, otherwise you could end up with a mess the hosting company’s support team can’t sort out.
5 – Will the package meet all your other needs?
Those are four of the most common issues you’ll deal with when looking into web hosting, but there are a whole range of other things you’ll need to consider. If you’re planning on using a content management system, does the hosting service support it properly? What extras are on offer? Does the small print match your expectations and requirements?
If you don’t ensure everything about a web hosting company matches up with your requirements before you buy, you could be making a mistake. However, get things right at this stage and it should be much plainer sailing after that.