Availability is the technical term used in the industry for reliability and what you need to look for is a web host that can offer high availability. In other words, they will guarantee that your website will stay online and won’t fail due to errors with their servers or be taken offline for long periods during maintenance.
2. Bandwidth limits
Bandwidth is a term used to describe the amount of data you send from your server to your visitors’ browsers. Every time someone loads one of your pages on their computer or smartphone you are using up bandwidth. If you have a site that has lots of heavy content, such as large media files (videos, images, music, etc.) you may use quite a lot of bandwidth.
3. Disk space allocation
The amount of disk space you will need depends entirely on your personal circumstances. If you are a small business wanting to run nothing more than a website, then you are not going to need huge disk space at all. However, if you are a large enterprise collecting enormous amounts of data and running powerful applications you will certainly need much more space for all the information and programs you need to store.
4. All day, every day, technical support
Managing a website can get quite technical and sometimes problems occur that either you don’t know how to solve or which need solving by your web host. For this reason, you need a web host that provides 24 hours a day, 365 days a year technical support. You don’t want your website going offline on Friday night and not being able to talk to someone until Monday morning.
5. Technical freedom
To enable your website to function in the way you want it to, there is a range of technical operations that you may want to carry out. Whilst, you may not have come across such things as FTP, PHP, .htaccess, MySQL, or cron jobs yet, it is likely that you will as you develop your knowledge of running a website.
6. Ability to use SSL
In simple terms, SSL is a small piece of software that enables websites to encrypt data sent from a user’s browser to your server. You can recognise sites that have it as they have an address that begins with https instead of http. If you run a website that takes payments or personal information from customers, then it’s likely that you will require an SSL certificate – especially now that Google is warning customers that websites without https are not secure.
7. Great email
When you are purchasing a hosting package, you should also check out the email service that is provided with it. You need to make sure that you can set up email accounts that have the same domain as your website (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and that you can use a range of access methods such as POP3 and IMAP. In addition, you want a service that can be accessed anywhere online and which allows you to set up email forwarding, autoresponding and email newsletters.
8. Do you get a control panel?
A control panel is the place where you manage your website and server. It allows you to make changes to your site, add new features and install new software and updates. It’s also the place where you can upgrade your account and add new hosting services if needed.
9. Security is key
Web security is becoming more and more important and your choice of web host can make a big difference to how well your site is protected. You need a web host that can offer strong firewalls, intrusion protection, and monitoring to defend against malware. In addition, your host should provide a backup service so if your site is taken offline, you can restore it easily and in no time at all.
10. Choosing the right operating system
In general, most web hosts offer either a Linux or Windows operating system for their websites. The confusion for most new users is that whilst Windows is the predominant OS for home computers, Linux is the main choice for running websites. For many, there isn’t a choice as the software you use to create your website will determine which system you have to go with. So, for example, if you are going to build a WordPress website, you’ll need to choose Linux.
From reading this article, you should now have a much clearer picture of what you need to look for when choosing a web host. You should understand that there are quite a few technical considerations you need to think about as well as looking at the service and support offered by the host.