Today, wherever you are online, you will somehow, somewhere come across a banner advertisement about web hosting services. If companies are advertising a product, this means that there is a market ready for it. Hosting services are directly related to websites. All websites, whether big or small, beautiful or ugly, interesting or bored, need web hosting services to be viewable on the internet. So, what are the services provided by a web hoster and why do we need them.
Hosting providers don’t only offer web hosting services
Services offered by a web hosting company include technical as well as nontechnical aspects. As all businesses, they will have to provide some kind of support and assistance to their customers whether be it sales, financial or technical. But, in order for your websites to be online, you will need some of the main features offered by the company as far as web serving is concerned. A website is viewable online when it is hosted and served by a web server which is always connected online. A web server is a computer, normally a very powerful system that will serve your websites’ pages to people surfing the internet. Since it involves high costs to run these servers, web hosting services were quite expensive. However, with technology advancement, the price of web host has become very competitive and very affordable.
What services are included in your hosting plan?
The services offered by hosting companies may be divers. It sometimes depends on the hosting plan or hosting package you choose. Basically, you will need a domain name before getting web hosting. Domain name refers to the internet address that people will use to access your website online. These addresses will look to something like “http://domainname.com” where the “http://” refers to the protocol used and the extension “.com”, to the nature of the website. Unfortunately, these extensions are no more being respected by many. After you have purchases and acquired a domain name which you will have to transfer or point to your web hosting server, you are ready to start publishing your website’s pages on the internet. Now, website hosting packages also come with databases, traffic statistics, ftp, file manager and more which are all manageable from a control panel. Other items like email addresses, auto-responders, software installers etc… are offered within the packages. Due to the fact that the web hosting market is quite an important niche, competition is very high and the companies offer a range of features with their hosting plan.
How then do we proceed in choosing where to host our sites?
From my personal experience, the first thing I will look at when choosing a web hosting company is not “features”. You don’t really want all the features offered unless you need them. Many will offer unlimited number of email addresses, databases, web spaces etc… but do we really need to have all of these? What in the world will I need 1000 emails for???
The reason why I’ve mentioned that the most important thing I will look at is not “features” is because many hosting companies will offer so many features only to come up with a lot of down-times. Server downtime refers to the amount of time when, because of server issues, your website is online no more. In my several years of experience working with websites and web hosting companies, I’ve noticed the server up-time to be an important aspect while choosing your hosting firm. It is a good idea to try the server before upgrading to paid plan if free trials are available.
Another important area of web hosting is good technical support. You will at times face issues with server configurations and a reliable support services will be crucial. Just think of it this way: your website is showing error messages and you are stuck as you do not have the option to activate the required module to fix the error. During such time, people are coming to your site only to see some error messages! That’s why I will definitely recommend to go for a hosting company offering a reliable 24/7 support service. Don’t just trust what they say, try them!
And don’t just be amazed at the many features or the low prices of a hosting company, but rather carefully test both the reliability of the servers and the support team before hosting a production website, blog or forum!