Choosing The Right Web Hosting

I decided to write this post to remember my early years as a web developer when I only wanted to offer the best price for the client, including to suggest the cheapest web hosting provider without having a slightest clue how to qualify it as a ‘good’ or ‘better’ service. It might be just me back then, but web server was probably the last thing I would decide or search in the whole development process. They are just servers that are contantly connected to the Internet and host your websites so they are all pretty much the same, right?

Wrong. If you have the principle that a web project does not end after you launch a website and get the final payment, you should realize the extra work you need to do if you chose or suggested wrong hosting provider. You want your client to be happy with the website you built, not to get frustrated because it goes down every now and then while you can do nothing about it.

So, what makes the differences between the right providers with the rest? To me it would be quality, support and transparency. Put prices in consideration after you are confident with those three first. Remember, web hosting is a very competitive business. It is rarely a company is trying to overcharge you unless it has much better quality than the rest.

Now to the most important question: what type of server that you need?

Shared Hosting

Most companies and developers usually put this as the first option for a very reasonable reason: price. Nowadays, you can get the good shared hosting plans from $5-20/month. Are there differences between one with another that costs 4-5 times more? Most of the time, yes. Usually providers that offer more economical plans gain the profit by trying to sell more with the same server resources, this might mean they put more restrictions for the account like outgoing email and databases limitations.

When you are researching for a shared hosting plan, be sure to check on the limits for those. The next thing you might also want to know is SSH support.

The good things

  • Economical
  • Best money for disk capacity offered
  • Can be set with minimal web server knowledge
  • Easy to upgrade, although mostly only for space and bandwidth

What you might miss

  • Limited resources
  • Limited access

Things to check

  • Disk space capacity
  • Email, database, etc limitations
  • SSH access support

Ideal for…

  • Websites with minimal or no plan of expansion
  • Static websites
  • Companies or clients that plan to host many email accounts so require a big disk space

Recommendation

*Note: recently MT has been having stability and security issues on their gs (shared) plans, but I cannot overlook the fact that it has the nicest interface. This is important because it encourages the clients to browse through their control panel and do not get overwhelmed by it.

Virtual Private Server

This is the next upgrade for regular hosting, above this then it means you are developing a website in a very huge scale. Virtual Private Server gives you much more flexibility when it comes to resources and access. You can practically install anything that you can do on your local computer/server. It can easily be an overkill you opt for this if you only plan to host a simple company profile without any server-side processes.

When do you need to upgrade to dedicated virtual? When your blog is listed as the top 10 blogs to follow by Smashing Magazine, kidding. You should start considering it if you are developing a web project or installing a web app that requires more than average resources, like a newsletter system with thousands of subscribers or e-commerce system with many customers.

The good things

  • Better flexibility
  • Installable with almost any type of web based applications
  • Can be reselled
  • Guaranteed resources

What you might miss

  • Cost more than shared hosting, usually with less disk space
  • Simple access, more knowledge is needed

Things to check

  • Type of server: unmanaged/semi-managed/managed
  • Control Panel system: CPanel/Plesk/etc
  • Disk space, actual memory, server processor

Ideal for…

  • Websites with few applications installed
  • Dynamic websites and blogs with very high daily traffic
  • Companies or clients who are planning to expand the website with new sections and features
  • If you want to host the projects from your clients yourself

Recommendation

At the end, when comes the time to choose one, look for direct references and do your research to find the most suitable plan for. It is worth to mention about WebHostingTalk as one of the best source to find web hosting reviews and coupon codes and promotion!

I am sure you have your own opinions and suggestions about this, please feel free to post your comments.

2 Comments Choosing The Right Web Hosting

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