Choosing a web host can be very difficult, especially for those new to website administration and website hosting. There are thousands of web hosting companies to choose from with most displaying what they offer on their website. If you do not understand what all the terminology means and how web hosting works, this however does not mean much to you. There are a few basic things to look at when choosing a web host for your website.
Although you can still build a website with basic html, css, and php knowledge, there are many open source programs that allow you to create a professional website or blog in minutes. These are programs such as Word Press, Drupal, Joomla, phpbb, Mediawiki, and others. A good web host will offer some kind of one-click install for these programs and applications. Simple Scripts and Fantastico are the most popular of these one-click install programs.
Free open source programs and applications that can be installed quickly and quite simply using Fantastico or Simple Scripts allow the creation of blogs, forums, wikis, auction sites, social networking websites, photo albums, customer support ticket and chat systems, chat rooms, top sites, and anything you can imagine.
Each of these applications or programs will require its own database. Even if you plan to make a huge site with tons of features, you probably will not need more than five databases. Programs such as WordPress, Tikiwiki, and Drupal allow most features to be added by using plugins or modules.
Bandwith is easiest explained by comparing it to a highway or an interstate. The vehicles on the road would be the traffic. The more traffic a website has the more bandwith necessary. If you plan to use a lot of pictures, audio, and video, you will need more bandwith then regular text pages need. Bandwith is not that expensive, and most web hosts offer an unlimited amount without charging too much money.
This aspect of web hosting is extremely important. If the web hosting company has a phone number, call it. Ask questions about the different types of hosting packages offered, technology, and customer support. If you do not get answers that are straightforward and understood easily, that is probably what you can expect from customer service as well.
If the company does not have a toll free number, look for an email address. Email the web hosting company to make sure you receive a reply with the answers to your questions in a reasonable amount of time. Keep in mind that some companies may answer within a few minutes, but your questions and any problems you may be having are not resolved.
A web hosting company that answers their email within an hour or two and always resolves issues is gold compared to one that answers within a few minutes and resolves nothing.
Another essential factor when choosing a web hosting company is uptime. Most hosting companies guarantee 99% uptime. Make certain the web host you choose has a guarantee like this to ensure that your website or blog is not down a lot. If your website is down often, you will lose traffic and business.
Lately I have read quite a few articles that say price should not be a factor when choosing a web hosting company. This is true only in a few instances:
1. You are a millionaire.
2. You plan to have a lot of media files and traffic on your website.
3. You make a living with your websites.
For beginners or those just needing a simple website or blog, there is no reason to choose a huge web hosting company that charges more than $8.99 a month.