Essential Features to look for in an Advanced Web Hosting Plan
Web hosting requires a complex integration of software and hardware resources to give you the best experience. These elements make it easier for you to run your website. Therefore, when looking for a web hosting service, enquire about these essential features.
Every web hosting service offers some form of storage service. However, the main thing to consider is the storage requirements of your site. If you plan to run a small website which does not host large files on its server, then a plan with more than one gigabyte is more than plenty for you. However, if your site allows functions such as video uploading and you plan to host these sites on the central server, then you will need more storage.
Bandwidth here does not refer to the common Mbps throughput rating. Rather, the amount of bandwidth relates to the total amount of data that can be downloaded from or uploaded to your site monthly. Therefore, if your site is 10 megabytes and you get five visitors in July who view your full site, then your bandwidth consumption will be 50 megabytes.
If your site hosts videos or other data intensive services or it’s very popular, then you will require a large bandwidth plan.
- Type of server hosting service
There are three main types of server hosting services that are designed for various clients. Each service has its perks that appeal to its desired niche.
- Shared server hosting. This service is mainly suited for static and informational websites that don’t offer much functionality and also don’t require many resources. The setup includes various clients sharing a single server which makes it cost effective and is suited for blogs and personal sites.
- Dedicated server hosting. This plan has a single server running only one website. Using this service is usually costly, and it is suited for websites with high traffic and e-commerce sites. Dedicated servers offer perks such as enhanced security and high performance.
- Cloud server hosting. Unlike the previous two, cloud hosting uses multiple servers to host each website. This option is cost effective and flexible since the multiple servers regulate the use of resources depending on the demand.
- Domains and subdomains
It is possible that you’ll want to run more than one website. You might also opt to affix a new website to your existing site in the form of a subdomain. In such a case, to save you the inconvenience of having to run a new hosting account for each website, hosting services allow you to manage multiple domains from a single account.
If you plan to run multiple domains and subdomains, choose a plan that will fit you as some hosting services set limits on the number of domains you can manage per account, while few others offer unlimited plans.
- Email Accounts
When running a website, you will also want your clients to contact you through email. You might require different email accounts for different queries. Therefore, it is best to choose a plan that gives you the flexibility you need. Further, you can receive the ‘email via POP or IMAP. Both services have some distinguishing features, but POP is the most common in many servers. Enquire whether the hosting service offers one or both services.
- Framework support
Various hosting services support popular content management systems and framework systems. A popular CMS is WordPress which is commonly used by many bloggers and company websites. Support for these services lets your easily install and run these systems on the host server. Some hosts also offer extra features such as easy access to resources such as plugins and scripts.
- Tech support
Having a reliable tech support is very important for when things go wrong. You will want to choose a company that has a reliable and round the clock tech support to help you solve problems with your site anytime. Enquire the host’s communication channels and their response time.
- Cron Jobs
Cron is an essential feature that lets you schedule jobs and tasks to run at a particular time. Website administrators use Cron jobs to schedule various tasks such as deactivate expired accounts or send out newsletters and notifications. Cron makes it easy and convenient for you to run your site through automation.
- Language support
Although PHP is the most popular server-side language, there are many more languages, and you want to choose a host that offers the best service for you. If you are a PHP enthusiast, then almost all hosts will work for you. However, if you use languages such as Ruby on Rails or Python, ten you have to search for a host that offers support for these services. It is always good to choose a host that supports a variety of languages should you decide to switch up your style in the future.
- Site backup
Although web hosts spend a lot on security, their web servers are still susceptible to data loss or data corruption. Having a site backup ensures that you can easily restore your site in case of any occurrence.
Look for a web host that offers regular offline or cloud backup for your site.
- Operating System
This feature mainly affects web administrators who use languages that require specific operating systems. For instance, if you developed your website using ASP.NET then you need to find a server that runs Windows. Most servers use a flavor of Linux as their OS which is convenient as it supports most open source languages.
Downtime harms your company’s reputation especially if you deal in online business. Obviously, most web hosts will claim to have 100 or 99.9 percent up-time. However, some of these figures are exaggerations since even the web hosts sometimes experience technical difficulties or have to take the server down for maintenance and upgrading.
The best way to know your server’s up-time is conduct research from other sources and read user reviews.