Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Web Hosting Providers Guide: How To Choose The Ideal Hosting Solution For Your Web Site

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How do you choose your ideal web hosting provider? Are there specific questions to ask when looking at different web hosting plans? What are the key elements to look at when evaluating a web hosting solution?

Photo credit: Francesco Bisignani

This web hosting providers guide has been designed to help novice web publishers identify and select their ideal web host. It includes:

a) A reference table showcasing key features and price ranges you should expect to get from any qualified web hosting provider.

b) A mindmap illustrating the key criteria and features to pay attention to when analyzing alternative hosting solutions.

c) A detailed list of the above key selection criteria and features with a clear explanation for each.

d) The best available online articles and reports which provide useful information on all relevant aspects of selecting an ideal web hosting provider: from the technical stuff to the economic and legal issues.


How To Choose The Ideal Web Hosting Provider - Comparative Table

Inside the comparative table below you can find four recommended setups for different kinds of web publishers, from bloggers to online entrepreneurs, that are looking for a web hosting provider. The first three setups refer to a shared hosting solution, while the fourth setup is advised for a professional publisher who needs a dedicated hosting server.


Key Selection Criteria For Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

Here below, a list of key selection criteria to help you choose the ideal web hosting provider. These are all critical features that identify what you should request and expect from your hosting provider to save stress and time.

  1. Customer service: Check if your hosting provider has a customer service that is competent and ready to help if you have a problem. Send your requests and see how quick the customer service replies. If your hosting provider claims to have 24/7 support, test it by sending an e-mail during the weekend. You may also want to be sure that you receive help by friendly people, who are not there just because you are a paying customer.

  2. Online reputation: Sign up with a web hosting provider that has reputable credentials that can be trusted. Reputation can be measured just by looking at these simple things: reviews the hosting provider receives from customers, comments inside the forum of the provider web site and whether the hosting provider has been short in business.

  3. Money back guarantee: Pay attention to the refund policy of your web hosting provider. Does your provider give your money back if you are not satisfied with it? Do you get a full refund or just a part of your money? Make sure you read your contract very carefully.

  4. Guaranteed uptime: Look for a minimum uptime of 99.5%. 99% is too low for a web hosting provider that claims to be reliable, because a 0.5% of downtime translates into several hours when your site is down and unreachable. Notwithstanding this, keep in mind that you will need clear and documented proofs to show your hosting provider it has not matched its promise.

  5. Monthly, not forced yearly pre-payments: Choose a monthly solution to pay your bills to the hosting provider. When you are still testing different options and companies, you might opt to go monthly and not to pay in advance for a year-long contract. By paying monthly, you can switch to another hosting provider whenever you want, without feeling forced to stay with a company for a fixed time. You might consider to pay in advance for a yearly plan only after you have long tested your hosting provider.

  6. Quality of user control panel: To manage your web hosting files you need a control panel, which is a personal web page that you use to upload files, scripts and perform other operations on your site. Having a user interface that is clear and understandable for anyone, and not just for geeks, is very important to avoid stress and mistakes. Request a demo or a screenshot of the control panel and judge for yourself if it is the right solution for your competences.

  7. Monthly bandwidth: Check whether the hosting provider gives you sufficient monthly bandwidth to ensure efficient data transfer. The bandwidth is the amount of data that goes in and out of your server when your viewers watch a video, read content, make a purchase or do anything else on your site. Make sure that the amount of bandwidth supported by your hosting plan matches your needs.

  8. Disk space: Be aware of the amount of disk space you get from your web hosting provider. Even though providers tend to give you way more space than your web site needs, you should be concerned if you publish lots of videos, offer large files for download or manage content that requires several disk space to be hosted.

  9. Log file analysis tool: Check with your hosting provider which software is used to analyze log files and generate statistic reports. The standard in the industry is Webalizer, but your hosting provider may go for a different solution. Also check if you are able to export log files to your computer and use your own tool to manage statistic reports.

  10. E-mail management and support: Look at the e-mail management solution your hosting provider gives you. All providers support e-mail management, but not everyone has advanced features like auto-responders, mail forwarding, virus protection or junk mail filters. Check also the number of separate mailboxes you are allowed to create inside your domain.

  11. Number of separate FTP accesses: Having different FTP accesses allows you and your collaborators to manage your web site independently. The site owner can thus allow other people to work on her site without giving away her personal credentials.

  12. Publishing platform integration: Verify if your hosting provider supports a pre-installed publishing platform like WordPress or Movable Type. You may save the time and stress of setting up a publishing platform on your own and also receive support from the same customer service of your hosting provider.

  13. Backups: Having persistent, automatic backups of your data is highly recommended. If something goes wrong, you can always recover your data and start again without losing hours or even years of work. Be sure to check with your hosting provider which data is backed up (files, databases, server settings, etc.), how often (daily, weekly, monthly) and where backups are stored (off-server or off-site).

  14. PHP, Perl, MySQL support: Make sure your web hosting provider supports fully and explicitly PHP, Perl and MySQL databases. You will need all of these elements to run a professional web site which needs advanced customization and scripting.


The Web Hosting Providers Guide

How To Choose a Web Host - by Ben Coleman - Real Free Websites

What Beginners Should Check To Pick a Web Hosting Provider


Looking through hundreds of free hosting providers out there and feeling overwhelmed? Learn how to choose the best free hosting provider for your needs and identify the key concerns of using a free hosting solution.

How to choose the best free web hosting companies (Factors to consider) - by mrbrigante80 - eHow


Basic Tips On How To Choose a Web Hosting Provider


If you are a novice in web publishing, choosing a web hosting provider can be somewhat intimidating. There are so many aspects to consider that deciding which one is best for you may be very confusing. In this article you can find some basic tips to help you gauge which web hosting provider is the best for your needs.

How to Choose a Web Host - by Tung Do - WPdesigner


How To Choose Your Hosting Provider If You Are a Novice Or a Pro Blogger


Getting the wrong kind of hosting for your site can be a costly mistake. If you get something too powerful for your needs, you could wind up paying far more than you need. Also, if you get something not powerful enough, you might be frustrated by downtimes and lost business. Read on for some good tips to make the right choice.

What's the Best Web Hosting For Your Site? - by Jonathan - WhoIsHostingThis?


Tech Specs To Consider When Looking For a Web Hosting Provider


In this article, the author suggests a set of advanced criteria to select a good commercial web hosting service. Your main concern should be focusing on a web hosting provider that is reliable and does not leave you in trouble when disappearing after just one month of service.

How to Choose The Best Commercial Web Hosting Service - by Setya Putra - SetyaPutra.Org


Crucial Differences Between Dedicated and Shared Hosting Services


There are basically two different types of web hosting: shared and dedicated. A dedicated solution gives you a personal web server to host your site while the hosting provider is responsible for all the support and maintenance. Shared hosting instead, works by having your web site co-exist with other sites inside a common web server. With a shared hosting solution, all the oversight and control of your site is up to you. Read on to discover in more details the specific differences of each web hosting alternative.

12 Crucial Differences Between Dedicated and Shared Hosting Services - by Amy Armitage - Web Host Industry Review


How To Determine If a Hosting Provider Is Reliable


Before you sign-up a contract with a web hosting provider, you must ensure that your provider is reliable and will not leave you in trouble along the way. Here are 5 tips that will help you evaluate the reliability of your hosting provider.

How to Find the Best Possible Web Hosting - by Gregory Go -


Common Pitfalls When Choosing Your Web Hosting Provider


Have you noticed how many hosting providers are out there? The answer is simple. In most cases, what you see is not web hosting, but rather reselling. What this means is you often get a second-hand web hosting plan run for you by a middleman provider. Learn in this article how to spot resellers from real web hosting providers.

How to Pick a Web Host - by John Stone - Dev Mechanic


How Not To Get Screwed By Your Web Hosting Provider


There are several sad stories on the web of people who got screwed badly by their hosting providers. In this article there are 15 suggestions to protect yourself and learn how to spot bad web hosting deals.

15 tips on how not to get screwed by your web host - by Jerry Low - Web Hosting Secret Revealed


Free vs. Commercial Hosting Providers: What To Look For


What is the difference between free and commercial web hosting providers? In this article you will find a list of the key recommendations to keep in mind whether you are choosing a free hosting solution or a paid plan.

How to Choose a Web Host - by Cristopher Heng - The Site Wizard


Economical and Legal Aspects On How To Choose a Web Hosting Provider


In selecting your web hosting provider, you must pay greater attention to those economical and legal aspects which may not be so obvious at a first glance. Read this article for an overview of some of the aspects of your contract you should not overlook when signing up with a web hosting provider.

What To Look For In A Web Host, an Important Decision - by Mathew R. Miller - Code And Coffee


The Help of Customer Reviews To Choose a Web Hosting Provider


Your website hosting choice is crucial: it's the foundation of your website success. A web host delivers your web site to the world and in case you make a bad choice, you risk getting into trouble. An helpful way to narrow down your choice is to turn to customer reviews.

How To Choose Web Hosting Service: Customer Reviews - by Ann Smarty - Search Engine Journal

Originally prepared by Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on September 14th, 2009 as "The Web Hosting Providers Guide: How To Choose The Ideal Hosting Solution For Your Web Site".

Photo credits:
What Beginners Should Check To Pick a Web Host - Ewa Brozek
Basic Tips On How To Choose a Web Host - Pete Favelle
How To Choose Your Host If You Are a Novice Or a Pro Blogger - felinda
Tech Specs To Consider When Looking For a Web Hosting Provider -Zbigniew Kosmal
Crucial Differences Between Dedicated and Shared Hosting Services - Gunnar Pippel
How To Determine If a Web Host Is Reliable - Sergei Didyk
Common Pitfalls When Choosing Your Web Hosting Provider - Aris Sanjaya
How Not To Get Screwed By Your Web Host - s-dmit
Free vs. Commercial Web Host: What To Look For - Geoff Byrne
Economical and Legal Aspects On How To Choose a Web Host - stustock
How To Choose Web Hosting Service: Customer Reviews - orson

Daniele Bazzano -
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Monday, September 14 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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