The most difficult, daunting and thought provoking aspect of building website for your business is how to choosing the right and most effective, reliable web hosting site.
This would have hampered the progress and growth of some sites especially beginners who do not have basic knowledge of web hosting.
No wonder most site owners feel unsatisfied with one hosting plan or the other, having stories to tell in each case. They complain about down time issues, bandwidth provided, customer support issues, cost ratio on value, etc.
To this end, I sincerely feel it is expedient to have some level of knowledge about web hosting.
This would aid your choice and understanding of web host company you intend to host your precious website or blog that would herald your brand emblem so that there would not be any recourse for dissatisfaction down the road. Because really, you’re on a long journey when it come to hosting.
Web host basic components
The basic components of a functional web host comprise physical component (bandwidth, disk space and uptime) and software component (database, operating system, email, cpanel and language support).
1. Physical components
Bandwidth: Is expressed in gigabyte or bits per second as the number of hits/clicks a website gets per month. For instance, one gigabyte bandwidth per month is about 100,000hits
Uptime: This determines the performance of website and gives an insight into the effectiveness and reliability of a hosting plan measured by the uptime percentage they parade.
Uptime is measured by 99. X % where x represents the number of 9.
The more 9 after the decimal point, the more reliable the web hosting plan. For example, an uptime of 99.9% indicates 9 hours breakdown of site in a year while 99.99% is about one hour breakdown in one year.
Anything lower than the above percentage should never be acceptable.
Disk space: The space offered a website/blog to store files. From experience, this may not constitute any problem for most web hosting companies because, they offer large disk space that can ever be used up by a normal sites within a given hosting plan, though their could be exceptions.
2. Software Components
Database: This is the store house of data. There are two major ones- MSSQL and MySQL. PHP is good on MySQL while MSSQL works best on ASP.Net and ASP.
Operating System (OS): This is about the system or platform on which your site will run. There are two major distribution channels.
(a) Linux is good for shared hosting plan with site written in PHP, HTML or Perl.
(b) Window server is good when a site uses FrontPage Extensions or written in ASP or ASP.Net.
However, Linux distribution is cheaper and just okay for website built on WordPress.
Control Panel (cpanel). This is the control room where major alterations and settings are done. Shared web hosting plans usually come with one type of cpanel or the other. Learn how to use cpanel to edit files in these tutorials.
E-mail: Web hosting plan come with email facilities incorporated into the system e.g email@example.com. The number of email accounts offered varies from one hosting company to the other and the cost per hosting plan.
Supported Language Web hosting has different languages on which they run. So, your site must be written and package in the same language e.g. PHP, HTML, ASP.Net, ColdFusion or Ruby on Rails.
Let’s now go over to the types of hosting plans you can choose from for your website.
Types of hosting plans
There are basically five types of hosting plans offered by a typical web hosting company. This should help you figure out which is good for the site you want to host.
Shared Hosting Plan. This is where a server hosts thousands of sites. This type of plan is relatively cheaper but has the tendency to experience breakdown more often, say about 99.9% uptime.
Also, the customer support is often time very poor. Usually, the host company tends to setup forum, help pages and FAQs as a way of responding to issues and resolve perceived problems.
However, it is good for small site or startups on low budget.
Virtual Private Servers. Unlike shared hosting, a certain quantity of resources on a server is allotted to a site on which is expected to manage and run effectively. This type of plan has more control than the shared plan but of course, more expensive. The uptime is also higher.
Reseller Hosting. Just as the name goes, reseller hosting plan are allotted a definite resources on a server where they host and/or manage sites in their hundreds until the resources are fully used up.
This is good for website developer or webmaster that has interest in web hosting but does not have the resources to put up a hosting company.
Dedicated server. A dedicated server plan is when a server and its hardware functionalities are solely dedicated to an account or website. This is necessary for site with specialized configuration that is expected to deliver effective performance without breaking down.
This package comes with high Uptime guarantee.
Managed servers. Managed server is the totality of the management of the hardware and software of a single server which include prompt and professionally inclined customer support services, backup and monitoring.
This type of plan hardly surfers breakdown, but is the most expensive among all hosting plans.
Now that you’ve had a glimpse of what web hosting is all about, it’s time to know the factors to consider when choosing a web host.
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