How To Choose The Right Web Hosting Plan For Your Business Naveed Ahsan (C62260)
Topics • The First Step • Key Web Hosting Features • What are they and why are they important? • How different features benefit different websites • Types of Web Hosting • Value and Pricing • Read Before You Sign
The FirstStep • The first thing to consider before you set out to choose a web host is what type of website or websites you will create. • Different types of websites require different features in a hosting plan. • What are your needs and goals for the website(s) you are working on? • Are you a new webmaster or an experienced one? • Are there specific features or scripts you will need?
Key Web Hosting Features Monthly Bandwidth Storage Capacity Number of Domains Email and FTP Web Site Control Customer Support Security and Data Center Software and Script Support Server Operating System
Monthly Bandwidth • Monthly bandwidth is the amount of data transfer to and from your website within a given month. • Every time a visitor looks at one of your web pages, watches a video, posts to your blog or downloads a file, bandwidth is used. • The correct bandwidth allotment is essential to a successful website because it determines how many visitors, or hits, your website can support. • Some web hosting providers charge fees if you exceed your allotted bandwidth. • Others simply shut down your site until the next month unless you upgrade to a larger account. • Be sure to look at this feature first when choosing a web host. • Larger files, such as movies, music require more bandwidth. • Downloadable files can also be high-bandwidth items. • Be sure you know what kind of site you will have and what you intend to put on it so you can choose the appropriate amount of bandwidth in your hosting plan.
Storage Capacity • Storage capacity is the amount of hard drive space on the host computer (the server) allotted to you in your hosting plan. • This is where your web pages, media files, scripts and other content reside. • To determine how much space you require, you need to decide what types of web pages will be on your site and how many (roughly) there will be. • Pages that are mainly text and have a moderate amount of style graphics (header, menu, buttons, logo, etc. but not high resolution photos) are around 20 - 30 KB in size. • Pages with a lot of photos or an abundance of style graphics can range from 50 - 250 KB or more. • Videos can range from 1 MB to 50 MB depending on their length, quality and format. • Downloads also count toward storage. • When looking for disk space, try to get as much as possible for your money. • Even if you think your site won’t use even close to that, it's good to have it as a backup. This way, you can expand your website in the future without worrying about running out of space
Number of Domains • How many domains will you host on your account? Your webhost should support unlimited domains. • Multiple domains on a single account means multiple websites on that account. This translates to significant cost savings. • Websites remain completely separate. • Business site & personal site on same account. • Multiple blogs • Internet marketers with various landing pages, affiliate pages and product pages. • Webhosts often call multiple domains “add-on domains”. • Always choose and register your domains before you sign up for hosting.
Email and FTP • How many domain based email accounts you are allowed? • If you have a staff of several people, each of them needs an email address that goes with your domain or website (email@example.com). • The same is true if you need different contact points (such as a customer support email address and a business email address) • How many auto responders are included? • Do they allow email forwarding? • Does your email have SPAM protection? • Is there an emails-per-hour send limit? • How Many FTP accounts are allowed? • FTP is a fast way to transfer files to and from your webhost. • Do you need anonymous FTP?
Web Site Control • Regardless of the web hosting company you choose, the ability to operate your site and make changes or adaptations when needed is essentialcPanel is excellent, and also the most common control panel • Your control panel allows you to:Log into your hosting accountUpload and manage files like web pages (HTML) and scripts (PHP, CGI, etc.) • Control web email accounts, auto responders and SPAM filters • Add domains and subdomains • View your website logs and traffic statistics • Back up your site • Enable hotlink protection and create password protected directories • Install scripts like blogs and shopping carts • Manage your MySQL databases • Many other more advanced hosting features. • Don’t settle for anything less than a high-quality control panel with a graphical interface (like the desktop on your computer).
Customer Support • Make sure the web hosting company you choose has experienced, helpful support staff that are easily accessible when you need to make contact. • Be sure you can call someone and get a real, live person if you need help or have questions. • Quality hosting providers will offer live phone and chat support along with a support ticket system that has a quick response time. • The top web hosts offer 24/7/365 phone, chat and trouble ticket support. • Most hosts will tell you the support they provide right on their features or main page. • Since this is a major selling point for web hosting, good companies will support their sales page with great customer service.
Security and Data Center • The facility where all of the servers are located is called a data center. • The data center should have: • 24/7 monitoring • Back-up power systems • UPS's for the servers • A generator for the building • Primary and backup HVAC systems • State-of-the-art fire suppression systems • State-of-the-art security (locks, keycard and biometric access control) • Well maintained, up-to-date servers • Modern network equipment • High-bandwidth Internet backbone connection • Data security should be a priority • Firewalls and antivirus are a must • Active server intrusion monitoring
Software and Script Support • When creating your website, you may use scripts and open-source or custom applications, such as: • Blogs (Wordpress), chat, photo galleries, forums (phpBB) • Shopping carts, merchant accounts, helpdesks • Banner rotators, site searches, contact forms • Content management systems (Joomla, Drupal, etc.)databases. • Your host should include many of these scripts as part of your account • Your host should support all of the current web application software, including: • PHP, MySQL, Python • Perl, CGI, Server Side Includes (SSI), Cron Jobs • Ruby/Ruby on Rails® • Windows hosts should also support ASP/ASP.NET, MSSQL, MS Access and ColdFusion (Windows-only languages)
Server Operating System • Compatibility is the key. Know in advance the types of scripts and applications you will be running on your website. • The most popular web hosting operating system is Linux. • Linux hosting relies on the LAMP platform • Linux, Apache web server, MySQL and PHP (or Perl or Python) • All of the popular web applications (Wordpress blogs, osCommerce shopping cart and PHPBB forums) were built to run on this platform. • Linux hosting is less expensive than other platforms and offers all of the flexibility and speed to run your websites, hence its popularity (~60% of market & growing). • The other main choice is Windows Server • Typically more expensive than Linux hosting • Still have ability to run PHP, Perl, Python, CGI and databases. • The only reason to use a Windows host is if you plan to use or are already using Windows-specific languages. • ASP / ASP.NET, .NET, Windows Streaming Media, MS Access, Microsoft SQL (MSSQL), MS ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) / DSN (Database Source Name), Adobe ColdFusion
Types of Web Hosting Shared Hosting Reseller Hosting VPS Hosting Dedicated Server Hosting
Shared Hosting • With shared hosting, a server is divided up for use by a number of independent hosting accounts. • Accounts share its storage, bandwidth and processing capabilities. • These accounts are not connected to each other. • Other webmasters with accounts on the same server cannot view or access your control panel or login information. • Shared hosting is inexpensive and perfect for personal websites, blogs with low to moderate traffic and small businesses with sites that don't get much traffic. • Its low cost also makes shared hosting the ideal place to start for people beginning an Internet marketing or ecommerce business. • As your business grows, you will need to upgrade, but this starting point allows you to keep costs down while you build your business and still get all the features you need to run a great website. • Plans typically include all of the software and script support, email support, multiple domains, FTP accounts, control panel, server security and data center facilities discussed so far. • Prices range from around $5.00 per month up to around $20 per month
Reseller Hosting • Reseller hosting is the next step above shared. • Allows you to become your own web hosting company or offer hosting to clients as part of your overall services. Accounts include: • A web host manager that allows you to set up accounts for your customers • A billing platform • A domain name reseller account • You pay the hosting company a flat monthly rate for reseller hosting - any money you make beyond that is yours to keep. • You set up hosting packages for customers and each gets individual control panel. • Provides higher storage & bandwidth than shared hosting. • You don’t need to resell hosting to benefit from a reseller hosting account. • Ideal step up from shared if you have multiple websites. • This type of hosting offers all of the features of a shared hosting account. • Technical support for resellers is typically a little better than shared as well. Though with a good hosting company, there should be no difference (they should both be exceptional).
VPS Hosting • VPS hosting uses a more powerful server with significantly fewer accounts than a shared plan. • You have more control over web server function. • Fixed bandwidth and storage allotments, much higher than reseller or shared. • More server resources allocated to your site. • VPS hosting comes with all of the features mentioned previously. • Also includes dedicated IP addresses and other advanced features. • VPS plans can be used to resell hosting if you choose. • If your site has grown, gets a high volume of traffic or contains a lot of video content, VPS is likely the way to go. • If you outgrow a shared plan, a VPS is often the next step.Especially for E-Commerce sites and corporate sites.
Dedicated Server Hosting • Dedicated server hosting gives you complete control of your own server. • Hosting companies often provision a new server just for you. • This allows you to select hardware, operating system, storage space and overall server configuration. • Main advantage: much more memory, bandwidth and processing capacity. • Grow your websites and increase traffic without worrying about overwhelming the server. • Unmanaged dedicated server hosting: • The hosting company houses your server in their data center and maintains the hardware. • Everything else is yours to manage. • Installing software, configuring the server, troubleshooting software issues, maintaining • your server-side software and performing all of the overall server administration tasks.
Value and Pricing • Quality of service and server / account capability are the most important factors. • If a hosting service doesn't offer the features you need to run your website, it’s useless to you. • Beware of cheap hosting. • Many hosts will advertise a low price, like $3.95/month. • Almost always, you only get that rate if you sign up for 2 years. • The drawback: you’re responsible for the entire amount up front$3.95/month hosting may really be $9.99/month + a $30 setup fee if you pay monthly. • Stay away from free hosting. • Advertisement driven, - meaning there will be third-party ads on or over your website. • You get very little control, limited features and the websites tend to be slow. • Often can’t use your own domain – instead you get ‘yourname.freesite.com’.