Here’s some things you need to consider when looking at the options available to you.
Paid or Free Hosting?
Imagine you are a shop owner. You find a store for lease in a nice part of town and spend years building up the business and a lot of investment is put into renovating and decorating the premises. Then one day the landlord gives you notice to leave the building. Your business is in serious trouble.
Free web hosting is very much like taking a lease on a shop. At the end of the day, the host can change the terms and conditions of what you can or cannot do with your website, change the way it operates, it can even go bust. There is nothing you can do.
There are other problems with free hosting as well. You can set up a blog for free at blogger.com – but you won’t be able to post links to any products you want to sell – they don’t allow it. Weebly.com will allow you to set up a website and will even give you a template to build from – but it’s limited in what you can do and you will have to pay for add-ons you to develop a properly functioning business website. You won’t even get your own domain name instead it will be yourbusiness.weebly.com – which tells everyone you have a free hosting and makes your business look unprofessional.
If you are setting up a business, or want to make money from your website, you need a paid hosting service.
Paid Web Hosts
Before choosing a paid web host you need to consider what your needs are. This is not just your current needs, but your future requirements as well, because once you start building your business, relocating to another host will be a time consuming and technically difficult operation. If you are not particularly savvy with the engine rooms of website and really want to concentrate just on the content, you won’t really want to do this. You want a host you can stay with.
Things to consider when choosing a paid web host:
How many websites will you want to create?
You may start out with just one business idea but as time goes on you may want to add more. Internet marketers, who concentrate on niche markets, often have several business websites, each focusing on a different niche. Some have hundreds of websites, but it’s not uncommon for people to have half a dozen or more. You want a web host who will allow you to host multiple web sites from the same package.
You may also want to set up sub domains – such as having your main website as yourwebsite.com and having your shop on a separate sub-domain such as shop.yourbusiness.com. How many sub-domains does your host offer?
How many email addresses will you need?
If you are intending opening up a business which will employ lots of people, you’ll need an email address for everyone in the company. Some hosts allow you to set up thousands of email addresses. Some are more restricted. Again, it depends on your needs. But check before hand.
How much web space will you need?
If you are intending having a lot of content, such as running several affiliate shops each with thousands of products, you don’t want to have a small online storage space. Most hosts offer quite a lot of space, but some will require you to pay more for extra space.
You need unlimited bandwidth allocation. It’s not an option. If you have thousands of visitors looking at your site at the same time, you don’t want to get to the point where your web hosts takes your site offline every day when you get to your bandwidth limit. Poor bandwidth limit will also slow down the time it takes your pages to load on visitor’s computers – one reason why they might just leave before even looking at your site.
This is a little technical, but an important issue. PHP is one of the main programming languages used to build websites. A lot of programs that you will want to use to run your website will require that your host constantly update their PHP version to a higher level. At the time of going to press most programs require PHP 5.2 or higher. Make sure your host offers PHP at this level.
You need to be able to set up a database for your website if you are going to run a fully functioning website. If you are using WordPress, you won’t have to worry about the technical side of this, as it is done automatically for you, but you need to have a database that has ample size to store the data you need to run your business. This is particularly true if you intend to have a lot of signed up users or members or if you have thousands of products.
How many databases are you allowed to have? You’ll need a separate one for each website.
Shared or Dedicated Hosting?
When you sign up with a web host, they will store all your information on a server. Most packages offer shared hosting – which means your website is on the same server as other company’s websites – this is not really a problem. This website is on a shared server. Shared servers are less expensive.
Dedicated servers means only your businesses are stored on a single server. It’s more costly, but if you are going to run very large websites with lots of traffic and want to host things like running websites for others as part of your business, this might be for you. For example, if you wanted to run an advertising business similar to Google Adwords and put your customers advertisements on other people’s websites, your host might require that you had a dedicated server.
The final thing to consider are the package options offered by web hosts. These are important considerations but not as vital as the ones above. These options include – site builder software, newsletter management, SEO assistance, free images to use on your websites and built in add ons.
If you are going to build your website using WordPress, many of these package options will be unnecessary as you can use the WordPress ones.
To see who we think are the hosts you should consider read our post 5 Best Web Hosts for Internet Marketing