As someone in web development or blogging industries, there are certain features you need to check if the web hosting package you are about to buy is providing.
Just like in buying a car, there are features you will be looking for: things like if it is a 4WD, automatic or manual, mileage, the cc and the rest, it is also important that you buy a web hosting package that will provide you with everything you need (or will need in future), if you are a blogger, or a web developer or both.
In this blog post, you will find the most important features you should look for in a web hosting package and how you can be able to optimize every feature.
Let’s get started.
1. Amount of Storage/Web Space
This is the amount of data you can store on a web server.
A website mainly is composed of HTML (texts), images, flash or a combination of all.
Many hosting companies, while advertising, indicate that a hosting package provides an unlimited web space which sometimes you get to realize is not the case after purchasing it.
If you are going to purchase a hosting package today, it is important that you check the reviews on the hosting company if what they are claiming to offer is really authentic.
Also, you should not settle for anything less than a web hosting package allowing an unlimited web space because you never know. That simple website/blog you are developing today might grow bigger in days.
Don’t have a blog yet?
Here is a complete step by step guide to setting up a blog at $3.95/mo.
This is the measure of the maximum data that can be transferred in a given time, usually in seconds.
basically, bandwidth is the rate of the data transfer.
This is the feature that enables you to upload and download data within a given period of time. I would recommend that while shopping for a web hosting package, go for one that allows an unlimited bandwidth.
3. Number of domains and sub-domains allowed
This particular feature depends on the size of your business.
If you are a blogger and maybe you are running/managing more than one blog, say two, go for a web hosting package that will allow you to have all your blogs under the same “roof”. Find the difference between a domain name and a sub-domain name on the blog post, Top ten Web Design Terms Every Blogger Should Know.
4. Email accounts and features
Does the hosting package provide Email accounts? If yes, how many? And what is the allowed disk space for the email accounts? These are some of the questions the web hosting package you are about to buy should answer.
Also, you should check if they have a webmail interface and if you can get your mail in client of choice via IMAP or POP.
5. Database support
Most of the web hosting companies these days provide MySQL for database services. The truth is you are going to need a way of or where to store data like passwords or usernames from your websites and therefore it is very important that you settle on a web hosting package that will provide you and your website database support.
Other web hosts provide PostgreSQL, SQLite, MongoDB, phpMyAdmin, MyWebSQL and much more. Yours is to check if the web hosting package is providing one that you are comfortable working with.
6. Framework Support and Quick Installs
If you are a blogger, you need to confirm if the web hosting package is providing CMS like WordPress.
I think it’s safe to say that most of Luminous Blogging’s readers are WordPress fans. It is always nice when your web host provides a quick install for WordPress or your CMS of choice. Which is why I highly recommend Bluehost an Ecowebhosting.
7. Technical support
Clearly find out what your host offers for tech support and if it is convenient for you: Can they be phoned, emailed, Skype or do they offer live chat? And what’s their response rate? Do they have a library of tutorials? This one is very important. Do not choose a web host before knowing the kind of support they offer.
8. .htaccess Files
You will want to add your own .htaccess files to your directories.
And what is .htaccess file?
It is a configuration file used by Apache server. They are used to password protect directories, rewrite urls, redirect pages and more. You can read a blog post I wrote as a guest blogger titled What is an SEO Friendly URL & How Do You Configure a URL in WordPress?
You will find out how you can be able to do 301 redirects using .htaccess file.
9. Programming Language Support
If you are a web developer, make sure that the hosting package you choose offers support for the server-side languages you want to use. If you use php most of the time, don’t lock myself to it alone. If you know you will want to use Django, go for a hosting package that has Python support. As simple as such.
10. Site Backup
Just like your ordinary computer, your web host is also susceptible to data loss. I believe you know that servers are just big computers that everyone can read files from. What backup options are you aware of? Does your web host provide any of them? Trust me on this, you will want to back up your site files and databases. If they don’t offer backup, figure out how you will be able to do it yourself.
Do I really need to convince you that it is important that your visitors will be able to get your site any time they want? I don’t think so.
Find out how reliable your host is. It would be wise if you google around and see what other users and reviewers have said about the host.
12. Free Domains
Bluehost provides its new customers with free domain when one buys any hosting package. Some web hosting companies don’t.
It doesn’t matter whether you already have a domain name, there is no such thing like too many of them. What i know is that a shiny new domain name is a good enough reason to settle with one of the host over the other.
According to Wikipedia, the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and a server on a computer network. FTP is built on a client-server model architecture and uses separate data control and data connections between the client and the server.
As web developer, you will need this feature.
Conclusion: What other feature do you look for?
I’m certain you’ve got other features you look for while shopping for a web hosting package. Please do share them with us in the comment section. Also, let us know of the hosts you’ve found reliable and those that you’d never recommend to anyone.
That’s it, until next time, I wish you a happy shopping.