What is the best web hosting company?

When it comes to choosing a web hosting company, there are many things to consider. Most web hosting companies offer various plans ranging from the very basic to the top of the line. The web hosting company you choose depends on what features your web site requires.

So from the above explanation we have established that any website needs a server or web host that houses a remote computer. The remote computer stores files and pages from multiple websites. This is a shared server.

Features you need to look for in a web hosting company include:
  • Set-up fee
  • Monthly Cost
  • Domain Name fee
  • Guarantee
  • Bandwidth
  • Disk Space
  • Plan Type
  • Platform
  • Uptime
  • Domain Options
  • Site Management
  • Multimedia features
  • Support
  • Database Limits
  • Blog / Forum Capabilities
  • Scripting
  • eMail Features
  • Content Management
  • eCommerce Capabilities

Each of these features will vary, depending on your web site's needs. We'll look at each of these features to give you a better idea of what each is so that you can better decide which web hosting company will best suit your web site needs.

Set-up fee The set-up fee is exactly what you thought it is. It is a fee which a web host company charges to set up your web hosting account. It usually ranges anywhere from free to a few dollars. It is a one-time fee. Most web hosting companies do not charge a set-up fee (free).

Monthly Cost The monthly cost is the amount that web hosting companies charge per month to maintain your web site on there server. It is usually your biggest consideration when deciding which web hosting company to choose from. Monthly cost can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Average monthly cost is about $6. It is recommended not to pay any more than $10 per month unless your site has specific needs requiring special features.

Domain Name fee The domain name fee is usually a yearly charge that you pay for your domain name. You don't have to get your domain name from your web hosting company. You can get your domain from one place and your Web Hosting from another. The domain name fee can cost anywhere from a couple of dollars to about $15 if it is available. If you want a domain name that isn't available (owned by someone else) you will probably have to pay quite a bit more for it.

Guarantee Most web hosting companies offer some sort of money-back guarantee. Some are 30 days; some 60 days; some 90 days; and some offer an “anytime” money-back guarantee.

Bandwidth The amount of bandwidth your web site requires will depend on the amount of traffic your web site gets. Obviously, the more traffic your web site has (or expects to have) the more bandwidth you will need. Most small and medium sized web sites will require about 30 to 40 megabytes of bandwidth. Most web hosting companies have basic plans starting at about 10 gigabytes (more than enough for most web sites).

        FYI: 1000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte.

Disk Space When it comes to disk space, most web sites don't really need that much. As an example, if you have a web site with 10 to 15 pages with a top banner and 2 images on each page, you'll probably only need about 5 megabytes of disk space.
  • Most images should be about 30 kilobytes.
  • Text usually uses about 40 kilobytes per page.
  • A banner (big image across the top of the page) should be about 80 kilobytes.
  • If you have ads, expect another 30 kilobytes each (depending on size).
Even if you only have 10 or 15 pages now, you may in the future, decide to have 40 or more pages. It is therefore a good idea to get more disk space than you currently need. The good news is that most web hosting companies have cheap plans starting with 50 megabytes or more.

Plan Type Most web hosting companies offer a few different plans ranging from basic to high-end. Of course, the basic plans are cheaper and you can upgrade to a higher plan later, if needed.

Platform When it comes to choosing a platform, you have 2 basic choices: Linux or Windows. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Some web hosting companies may charge a little more for Windows but if you need to use specific programs such as MS Access or ASP, you will have to use Windows. Many web designers go with Linux because of its higher speed and reliability.

Uptime Uptime refers to the amount of time a web hosting company's server is running properly. Uptime is usually measured in percentage. An uptime of 99.5% is good; 99.9% is great; 99.99% is excellent.

Domain Options Domain options refer to what options a web hosting company offers regarding your domain name (or names). This may include whether or not you can have multiple domains, sub-domains, add-on domains and if they allow domain parking.

Site Management Site management refers to how web hosting companies allow you to manage your web site. Most have some sort of control panel. Almost all allow you to use FTP. Web hosting companies vary on back-ups; some do and some don't. Of those that have back-ups, some back up your site on a daily basis, some on a weekly basis. Of course, it is always a good idea to keep a complete copy of your web site on your own computer.

Multimedia Many web host companies offer some multimedia features such as: Flash, Shockwave, Real Audio, Real Video, Streaming Video, Gallery, Zen Photo, etc. If your web site is going to have any multimedia features, then make sure you chose a web host company that handles them.

Support If you ever have a problem with your web hosting, you may need to contact customer support from your web hosting company. Types of support are phone, email, forums, etc. Also, it is highly recommended that your web hosting company has support 24/7.

Databases If your web site is going to require a database, then make sure your web hosting company allows databases. Although you may not need one now, you may require one in the future.

Blog / Forum If your web site is going to have a blog or a forum then you're going to need software to run it. You should make sure your web hosting company has a program like Drupal, Word Press, b2evolution, PHPBB, or other blog/forum software.

Scripting / Programming The programming requirements for you web site may include programs such as PHP, ASP, CGI, Ruby on Rails, PERL, Python, SSI, Front Page, etc. Make sure your web hosting company handles the scripting / programming that your web site requires.

eMail Features Most, but not all, web hosting companies offer some sort of email with their hosting plans. Many hosting companies use Post Office Protocol (POP), which allows you to get email from your provider. Some use Microsoft Exchange, which works with Microsoft Outlook. A web hosting company may also be web-based, which is basically like gmail or yahoo. Other email features include things such as mail forwarding, auto-responder and anti-virus & spam protection.

Content Management Content management refers to software that lets you create and update your web pages simply and easily. Joomla and Mambo are both easy-to-use common content management software (CMS).

eCommerce Most web host companies offer various programs for running a shopping cart. Some of these programs are: Zen Cart, osCommerce, Avactis, CubeCart and Miva.

There is a lot to consider when choosing a web hosting company. The Web Hosting Power Search at www.thehosthunter.com is a great way to narrow your search. It allows you to choose a web hosting company with all the features you require.