So you have decided to build a website – that is great news! Hopefully you know what it will be about and have a good plan for design. Next you need to think about what kind of web host you want.
Who knew there were so many things to consider?! First, you need to know what a web host is. It is defined as a company that stores your files on its servers. Next, you need to figure out what exactly you need from them. Here are some options to consider:
Shared servers: these are often cheaper than dedicated servers (more on this below), but it does mean that your resources are being shared by more than one site. This can lead to some problems if another owner’s site suddenly changes their site and needs more of those resources for themselves, as it will take away storage availability from your own website. This could have an effect on the performance of the domain, and users might complain of slow connections or even web pages not loading at all.
Dedicated servers: these are servers that, unsurprisingly given the name, are dedicated to your website. This eliminates the risk of shared resources being used up by another so you can be more confident in your domain’s consistent performance. However, these are more expensive so you need to weigh up whether it is worth it.
Virtual servers: these are somewhere in-between – they are technically shared servers but they have a dedicated space for your site so the shared resource issues are no longer, well… issues.
Other things that will have a big impact on your final decision are:
Support: does the host provide technical support in case of any problems? Is it 24/7 or office hours? Often you will pay more for good, available support but there is nothing worse than your website going down with no way to fix it before morning comes.
Linux vs. Windows Servers: believe it or not, like anything else servers require operating systems to run. Linux-based servers are generally more affordable and popular with smaller to mid-size companies. One thing to consider is the functionality of any in-site apps: do they need Microsoft software to run? If so, you should look towards a Windows-based server in order to eliminate the risk of any malfunctions. Windows-based servers are definitely more expensive but worth it if you are using any kind of integration with Windows apps.
Once you have answered these questions, you will be in a much better place to research specific web hosts and see whether they will fulfil your needs or not. Check out our next post on the top web hosts to use, and why for more information.