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Posts Tagged ‘web hosting company’

to return to  “Website Development With WordPress: Chosse a design that fits your needs” please click here.
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Ok, now, you have chosen your design and we will have to select a vendor to host our wordpress based website. But … what is a web host, at least, what is a web host ideal for our needs ?

A web host is a place in a public computer (available to anyone in internet) where your website contents can be stored. Understand that any website (yes, the sum of pages you explore via your internet explorer, mozilla firefox, google chrome, apple safari, etc.) is simply a group of files that are stored in this public computer (aka. “host” or “webhost”) and delivered to your computer upon your request (when you tipe google.com and press enter in the address bar of your web surfing software).

There are various options for storage that you can aquire for hosting a wordpress solution, but we will mainly focus on shared hosting – sometimes called virtual hosting – which is usually the cheapest form of paid hosting available. Your site sits on a single web host with sometimes hundreds of other sites. The service is usually pretty reliable and you don’t have to worry about tinkering with the server. However those hundreds of sites can put quite a load on the server, resulting in a slow site at peak times, and you don’t have much control over the server should you need to install and customize complex Web applications. Many shared hosting plans also limit the usage of resource-heavy Web software such as forum scripts. There are also security issues to think about – if the Web server is compromised, all the sites on that server may be affected.

To be prepared for this we will take into consideration mainly four factors:

Technical Aptitude

We need our server to be prepared for hosting a wordpress backed website and this implies various things to be present: the web host must run an Apache Web Server. The web server is the software in the web host that runs it all, shows your files, executes your scripts, balances visitor demand and traffic load, etc. Remember, Apache is a must. The web host must also run PHP. Php is a web scripting language used to program in web servers (well, it’s more than that, but let’s keep it simple).  Also, the web host must have a database, MySQL is prefered, as all information you put into your website (for instance, this article you are reading right now) will be stored in this database.
Additionally, web hosts charge not only for the server configuration, but for space and other services they provide. You should be considering a storage space of at least 25mb and a transfer quota of at least 10 times that. The storage space in the web host is the space needed to store your content in their computer. 25 mb is pretty slim if you are going to host lots of media (like pictures and audio), but for a start up you should be ok. The transfer quota is the amount of information being delivered by your website to the visitors. If a visitor takes a look at a 0.1MB picture or listens to a 2.5 mb audio file, the transfer quota is affected.

Cpanel Main Screen

Cpanel Main Screen

Usually, when more space or transfer quota is required, you can upgrade your plan in the web host, and the problem should be solved.
finally, the hosting should provide a way for you to create mail accounts, manage your backups, even provide good visitor statistics (althouhg we will configure a plugin directly in wordpress for this). A complete cpanel solution is a good recomemdation, as cpanel allows you to manage all of this and more in your server from anywhere.

QoS and Uptime

These to factors are a must for you to consider. QoS (Quality of Service) is very important. In the computer world things go wrong, this is normal, and you must learn to live with it. But the best solution for this problems is a good technical service you can count on. Remember, IT (information technology) is a relationship of trust, and if you can’t trust the hosting company in which you are placing all this effort, this is a major setback. The web host should have a simple orgainzed way in which you can address any problem you have in your hosting experience. Ticketing system (a support form where you explain your problem and receive a solution via mail) is usual stuff. If you have an online chat support or similar, better. If you have a 24×7 phone support, it’s ideal. But remember, usually the faster the service the more expensive it gets. Anyway, besides the support system, if the hosting company is prompt to answer and eager to solve your problems, that is your hosting company!

Uptime is another issue. Your hosting company can usually predict, considering their experience and equipment, a projected uptime. The uptime is a percentile figure expressing the relationship of your site showing / not showing for technical reasons. Say that the host company projects a 99,95% uptime, this means that in a calendar year you may have your website nearly 2 days offline for techncial problems in their service. This can be a lot altogether, but this is usually spreaded along various incidents. All the same, please look for a 99,98 or better uptime projection.

Hosting Lag

Do you wan’t your visitors waiting for your webpage to come on screen? Since you type the website address till it show in your computer there is a usually small time space. This time is what we call a lag. This lag can be due to several reasons. For example a slow internet connection or an old computer can produce lag in website showup. But to simply differentiate your website lag from general equipment and internet lag, compare your showtime with other websites (as this one for example). If it’s similar, then you are ok, if it is faster, much the better. But if it is slower, consider finding another host.

Cost

Finally, the bottom line. It all comes down to money. Usually a commercial reasonable cost for an average website that can cope with all this needs should be around u$30 monthly. In my experience, chaper hosting will have more downtime and a very bad service.

There are endless considerations about the parameters to judge a hosting company, but this four should get you up and going with minimum hassle.  Consider this: a problematic host can cause you a real headache when your website goes down and nobody answers for this !. It is VERY important that the domain registration and delegation is done by yourself, not by the hosting company. You should be in control of your domain registrar account. Please see our article about domain registration to understand this.

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