Any websites that want to be put on the internet should be hosted on a web server. A web server can refer to either the hardware or the software that helps to deliver content that can be accessed through the internet. The space provided by the web server can be owned or leased for use by clients from web hosting companies. There are many web hosts to choose from and finding the right web hosting packages can be a confusing process.
Web hosting packages can vary in pricing as well as the features they offer, such as the amount of disk space and bandwidth available, data transfers, number of domains and email boxes, privacy and security settings, website design and marketing tools, technical support and guaranteed uptime. Knowing the requirements is essential to make a smart choice for a website planning.
The essential features of a reliable web hosting are described below:
Web hosting account has an allotment of storage/disk space that can be rented on a server. The amount of storage will include all of the content of the web pages, any graphic or other media content can be used on the pages, any files that are available for visitors to download and any space that can be used for emails. Additional space can be required for various log files that are generated by the server and/or web application that keeps track of visitors to the site and what pages they click on. People can choose a package with additional disk space so as they are able to add more contents, pictures, music, videos or downloadable files that require more disk space.
Databases are usually calculated separately from the storage/disk space allocated. Different web hosting company have different policy.
These two functions are an important factor when choosing reliable web hosting. They are similar but different aspects of the same process that work together hand in hand.
Data transfer is how much data is being transferred on a monthly basis. A website may not be accessible the less data transfer that is allocated on a monthly basis. Going over the allocated limit can result in a fee or even a temporary shutdown/downtime of the website. Choose a plan with more data transfer than needed will allow for additional traffic and content.
Bandwidth is how much data can be transferred at one time. The less bandwidth allocated, the slower a website takes to load regardless of the connection speed of the visitors. Higher bandwidth is expensive because it takes and drains the server’s resources and can affect the performance of other customers' sites on the same server.
Control Panel Features
The most important job that a website owner has is creating and management of the website(s) and its content. The control panel (cPanel) features the tools for uploading and managing web pages, managing domains, subdomains, FTP accounts, creating parked domains, add-on domains, protecting directories, redirecting visitors to another location, website statistics, back up data, virus protection and spam filters, the tools to keep privacy and security.
This is one of the most important features of a reliable web hosting provider. Guaranteed uptime means a website is guaranteed to be up at least 99.9 percent of the time and available to visitors. This guarantee should include network uptime, server uptime, web server and service uptime as well as 24/7 support.
The domain name is a unique name and address on the World Wide Web. Domain registration is the process that an individual or a company secures a website domain. Once the domain registration is completed, the domain name is purchased and available to use for a specified period of time, usually one year, and can be extended anytime. Domain owners must renew their domain names before the registration expires, or the domain reverts back to being available to the general public to be purchased.
Some web hosts maintain control of the domains they register so it is important that the domain owner retain the option to transfer the domain to another registrar. Understanding the “Terms and Conditions” regarding maintaining the privacy and any additional fees to transfer a domain to another registrar.
Dedicated and Shared IP Address
An Internet Protocol address, or better known as an IP address, is the numerical address of the website that tells other computers where to find the server host and the domain on the internet. There are advantages to having a dedicated IP address or a shared IP address.
Dedicated IP Address means that a site is the only one on the internet using a specific IP address number. The advantages of having a dedicated IP address are that the site can have a better SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ratings which make a website more visible and easier to find; there are better security and privacy options. A Private SSL Certificate was created to confirm the identity of a website or server and ensure secure transactions between web servers and browsers. In order to keep clients information secure, a Private SSL Certificate is required for e-commerce websites that accept online credit card payments.
Shared IP Address means that there could be hundreds of websites sharing one server that share a single IP address. Shared IP addresses make it easier for hosting companies to manage and maintain their servers and offer this feature at a lower cost. The downside to this feature is, if other websites sharing the IP address are banned or blacklisted due to spamming or scamming, their actions directly affect other websites that shared the same server. The affected websites could disappear from the search engines and their emails could be blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISP). A Shared SSL Certificate gives the benefits of a SSL Certificate at a lower cost and still provides a secure URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Many e-commerce websites provide Shared SSL to their business clients.
Email hosting offers a variety of features for both individuals and businesses. Some of the features offered are customized email addresses, import/export address book, unlimited storage, webmail accessible from mobile phones, calendar alerts, mail forwarding, auto responders, email filters that protect from viruses and spam, phone and email tech support.
Privacy and Security
The security of communications such as unauthorized or sensitive data are a big concern. Some of the security tools that a web host may include are SSL secure servers, SSL certificates, software that can prevent other websites from accessing other websites' databases and files, antivirus protection, firewall protection, strong passwords, reliable authentication, secure payment processing, email encryption and strict privacy policies.
Even without prior knowledge or experience, Website building tools are often offered as part of a web hosting package. The more advanced website building tools teach how to add a photo album, guestbook, ads, newsletters, blogs, FAQ module, visitor tracker, banner rotator, auto installer software for blogs, forums, galleries and much more.
A reliable web hosting provider should have technical support available 24/7. Get a quick reply to support ticket if any issues arise and getting instant support via a chat service or telephone support.