When you have created the content for your website with the resources available at the website editing and design software (like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web 2) it would be time to start looking for a Web Host.
It would be fair to caution you at this stage, not to subscribe to a free host; and in preference go for a paid web hosting service through payment of the monthly or annual fee. The resources available at and through paid web hosting put you at an advantage with regard to other website publisher who may be utilizing free web hosting for their websites. Some advantages of paid web hosting would be:
- The availability of better and useful resources and feature, along with technical support.
- Much faster connections to the internet; thereby reducing the loading time of your website on the visitors' browser.
- It is not too expensive on the pocket; and would cost you the price of a burger and coke per month.
Next you would be required to consider which operating system to select. The choices are Windows hosting and Unix/Linux hosting. Between the two, the Unix/Linux based hosting is better and more secure; and runs faster for the simple reason that it starts with a basic package and then the hosting company can add features and functions on a requirement basis; while on the other hand Windows includes most features and functionalities even if they are not required by either the web host company or the website publisher/owner.
Thereafter you would be required to consider the list of features offered by the web host. Chances are that you may not know much about html; so, it would be a point of consideration whether the web host would provide you a free website editing and design software along with the service of helping register your domain name of your choice. Some web host companies also offer free websites along with the various packages or deals they may have on offer. The technical aspects to consider would include the disk space available to you and the monthly bandwidth your website is allowed to generate through web traffic resulting from your website visitors. Other aspects to consider would include the number of email accounts you get with your website, customer support and their response time and also whether they have a money-back policy, in case you decide not to continue utilizing the web host. Look for other additional services, whether daily backup is offered (as this may be of some importance to you). Also check whether the web host package on offer supports PHP; as this has become a preferred programming language with website publishers.
The above may not be as simple as it sounds, as there are thousands of webhosting companies out there offering similar and/or identical webhosting packages. It may indeed be of some importance to consider having at hand predetermined criteria, to enable a best fit selection of the webhosting company.
As a website publisher and owner, your primary consideration would be that the webhost company meets the technical considerations you may have in mind. Some points of consideration are listed below:
- Server platform and hardware requirements. The choices are basically between the Windows and Unix/Linux platforms.
- Disk space and bandwidth requirements. Would mainly depend of your projections with regard to expected size of your website along with its sub-domains and the web traffic you expect in the future when your website is up and running, respectively.
- Other points for consideration would be with respect to the website editing and design software supported by the webhosting platform. The main choices in this regard are between the Adobe Dreamweaver and the Microsoft FrontPage or Expression Web 2.
- Ecommerce support, video clips support and visual resources enabled would be an advantage.
- The number of email accounts, ftp accounts, the web statistics interface, the control panel supported, and the database and scripting languages supported would be some important aspects to consider.
- The reliability and scalability of the webhost would give you insights into the future expected uptime of your website (and the speed of its download on to visitors' browsers) and the hardware and design facilities available to provide for the exponential growth of your website at a later date, respectively.
- The webhost company is expected to provide customer services and technical support efficiently, to enable the resolution of problems and issues on a 24x7 basis. Further that you have access to multiple support channels, including the knowledgebase and frequently asked questions (or FAQ).
- The number of years the webhost company has been in business and the quality of its client list may be of some importance to you.
The above may be summarized or crystallized into a list of questions you would be required to ask the webhost companies to enable the correct selection of the webhost you finally deal with and through. These questions are listed below:
- How long has the webhost been in business?
- Does the webhost have a captive data center at its disposal?
- How many upstream internet service providers does the webhost have?
- Does the webhost company provide 24x7 customer support along with multiple channels?
- Does the webhost company monitor its customers' websites?
- What level of redundancy does the webhost support?
- Does the webhost automatically backup customer websites in case of data loss?
- What is the webhost's billing policy?
- Does the webhost provide all the features that your website needs?
- Does the webhost have the scalability to provide for the growth of your website?
The exposition provide herein is only indicative to help you prepare yourself before you go about looking for a webhost for your website. It is expected that, you would be saved from a lot of heartburns and headaches in your journey to setting up your very own website.
A word of caution would be in order at this stage. If you come across webhost services being offered which are too good to be true; then know it to be the truth, that they really are too good to be true. So, forewarned would be forearmed.