One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when starting any new site is choosing a good web host. Unfortunately, far too many businesses end up rushing this early decision simply because it has to be done before you can start doing anything else with your business online. Thankfully, these short tips on how to pick a host to get your site up and running will help you to make the right decision from day one.
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The first thing you’ll need to consider is what kind of service you want. What type of website are you planning to put up? Do you need a robust e-commerce solution that you can plug into, a five page site for your small business, or perhaps just a place to host your personal blog? Different needs will point you toward different types of hosts.
If you intend to run a very small personal site and don’t mind ads, you might be best off using a free web host. There are several different free web hosts available, but be aware that they’re not suitable for a business site. Free web hosts generally will put ads next to your content that you won’t have any control over. Most free hosts will also have nonexistent technical support and little to no documentation on how or if features like FTP, PHP, SSL, or any other advanced features can be used.
Most paid web hosts will solve one or more of these problems, depending on the web host and price you pay. Thankfully, some web hosts, like SiteGround, boast a lot of features for an inexpensive monthly fee. These quality hosts will ensure your site gets enough bandwidth to cover you just in case you get an unexpected boost in traffic, and have useful customer support to help you set up cron jobs, POP3, .htaccess, PHP/MySQL, or other advanced features. They will also give you a robust content management system to help you with creating a shopping cart, forum, gallery, or anything else you might desire.
Unfortunately, not all paid web hosts are equal. If you opt for a paid web host, be certain that they have these at a minimum: FTP, PHP, Perl, SSI, .htaccess, telnet, SSH, MySQL, and crontabs. Even if you don’t plan to use one of these features, if for any reason you choose to update your site in the future and hire a professional webmaster, they will, at a minimum, expect access to each of these. Another deal-breaker should be 24/7 customer support; you might think that paying less for a host that doesn’t have support on holidays is a good deal, but you’d be surprised just how often things tend to fail at the worst possible time.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be sure to find the right web host for your needs.