Website Hosting Services – How to Decide

May 31, 2010 by  Filed under: Web Hosting 

If you are setting up your first website or blog the first thing you need to do is register a domain name and chose from the many website hosting services available.

You can usually get your domain name and hosting from the same company but, whilst this is the easiest route, it will probably not be the cheapest. The exception is where the hosting service includes a free domain but this will probably be a name with a less common extension which is no good if you want

Prices for domain names do vary so it is time well spend to look at several domain registration web sites. If you do get you hosting and domain name from separate suppliers it is easy to setup the DNS later.

A control panel will be provided to enable you to set-up and manage the various aspects of the hosting service including ftp, email, databases, backups and activity statistics. Cpanel is generally considered to be the best and it offered by many hosting companies.

Given the large number of companies selling web hosting services it is very difficult to select the most appropriate one for you. You might think that the various hosting review websites might be of assistance but unfortunately these are too plentiful and of varying standing. It is, however, well worthwhile checking out impartial forums such as and

Going for the cheapest service you can find is not the best way forward as there are likely to be service limitations. On the other hand going for the most expensive would not be worthwhile as the service would likely over-deliver. You should aim to fine the service that provides what you need at the lowest cost.

Though there are many aspects of a hosting service to weigh up the most crucial are:

Speed of Display – Pages/posts must display swiftly otherwise your site will provide a inadequate user experience and people will not return.

Availability – Downtime is always unhealthy as people will not be able to locate your website and may perhaps give up on you permanently. Your website hosting service should offer an guarantee of 99.9% uptime.

Customer Help and Support – Good technical support will give you the comfort of knowing that in the event of problems you will get help quickly. A high-quality website hosting service will offer support 24/7 by email and phone (in the best case toll free).

Web hosting providers like to offer “unlimited” disk space and bandwidth (which is really meaningless) but these resources need not be a concern for a new website, even where limits are set they are reasonable. Your initial hosting will be on a shared server (which is what most people use) and will be fine unless your site (or sites) becomes very busy. If that is possible at some future time you will need to see an upgrade path which ultimately leads to your own dedicated server.

Most hosting accounts are “shared” which means that server and bandwidth are shared by many customers. This is okay for most people but, if your website might become very busy in the future, seek an upgrade path to VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting and then to Dedicated Server hosting.

Andy Nataghi is an enthusiast and writer about all things technical and has a particular interest in Website Hosting Services. To see more information on the criteria for assessing hosting services please visit our site

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