STEP 2: SET UP HOSTING
By Jackson Darlow, JD Innovation
Finding the right host for your website can be a challenge. With all of the options and service packages available on the internet, coupled with the 24/7 availability requirements for websites, databases, web based applications and emails; going with any old hosting service can create many difficulties in the months, years and even decades that you may depend on your web resources!
A great way to start is by deciding exactly what you will need from your new hosting setup. Online hosting can be used for many things including websites, emails, databases, shared files, administration tools, sensitive or secure data and can even act as a backup for your important files. With all of these potential services on offer, realising that you may only need hosting for a small website, a safe email backup and webmail login could save you from paying for unneeded services.
Understand your requirements
Hosting options can be found in many different shapes and styles. To help isolate which options meet your requirements, take note of the following details inside every hosting plan:
- Storage Space
- Technical Support
Subscribing to a hosting service that does not provide enough space for your data or too little bandwidth for your popular web resources can result in penalty charges for over usage. On the other hand, choosing hosting that offers too many resources (and in some cases unlimited resources!) can result in unnecessary monthly costs and, in the case of unlimited offers, unreliable services or tricky fine print locking you into an undesirable situation. A good way to determine how much room for resources you will need is to analyse your web popularity and complexity. If you have a simple static website and use your email on a casual basis, an entry level 50MB storage and 100MB bandwidth plan is all you’ll need.
Generally you, the owner of your hosting, will not be the only person to manage it. Your web host, web developer and any other partners in your online activities will also dabble in configuring and updating your hosting resources. Keeping this in mind helps to ascertain what hosting platform and technical requirements you will need. The capabilities of your web developer (this may be you) are the first things to consider: If your developer is a PHP guru who knows their way intimately around web configurations, your hosting should be on a Linux platform and may not require a strong technical support team at the hosting company. If your developer is an ASP or SQL user who knows more about web marketing than web configurations, a Windows hosting service with a helpful and readily available technical support team will be right for you.
Deciding where to host
Speed, support, reliability and price can vary drastically depending on who you host with and where your hosting is located. When browsing the internet for hosting solutions, you may come across cheap plans with unlimited resources hosted internationally. For casual hosting, when urgency of support and a strict need for a large amount of resources can be safely ignored, these services can be great. However, if your audience is local and your hosting needs to be reliable, flexible and have any technical issues resolved quickly, paying more for a local web hosting company where a helpful technical support team is available will mean faster websites, email retrieval and solutions to any issues that arise.
Signing up for hosting is easy. After spending a good amount of time researching the right host, simply complete your chosen company’s online sign up process or give them a call and get started over the phone. Most hosting comes with a monthly pricing scheme, and paying on a monthly basis can help you get out of a tight spot if you find your web host isn’t keeping up with your needs. This often means turning down long term contracts, at least initially, even if they could save you money.
Hosting services come with a large list of access details. Between your hosting account, FTP accounts, databases and email accounts you can end up with a decent pile of usernames and passwords. It’s a good idea to file these properly and have them readily available. This will ensure that you are able to locate them a year or more down the road should the need arise.
Keep an eye on your hosting usage. Sometimes small configuration changes can result in hosting resource consumption over long periods of time, so look into your usage every couple of months to make sure things are in check.
When you set up your hosting, the resources won’t become available instantly. Hosting companies have to process your payments, configure your new accounts and point your web addresses to your new hosting services. This can take up to 48 hours, so make sure you set up your hosting well in advance of when you will actually need it.
Going the extra mile to set up hosting correctly can make all the difference. Hosting is a service you may depend on for years to come, so by considering everything mentioned above you will be sure to get a service that does exactly what you need, when you need it!