The beginners guide to web hosting features – what to look for when choosing a plan

posted Jan 2020 in Website Hosting, Website top tips,

There’s a lot to think about when choosing a new web hosting plan. You’ll be faced with lists of features, stats and specs, but which of these really matter? It’s important to focus on what your website really needs, or you’ll be paying for features you won’t use.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common features of web hosting packages, with a few handy pointers to help you focus on the important stuff.

Hosting type

There are a few different types of hosting package – the main ones you need to know about are shared, cloud, dedicated.

Shared hosting plans are very common and involve one server being shared with a number of clients and their websites. This is usually a good option for small businesses and new websites, but you may suffer from traffic surges which could slow down your site.

Cloud hosting, where your hosting company provides you with a cluster of servers, is a great option for businesses of all types. It has little to no downtime, is scalable and your site won’t suffer from server failures.

Dedicated hosting, where you have your own server, is the professional option offering ultimate flexibility, reliability and the ability to customise the hosting environment to your exact needs.

Guaranteed uptime

This is the percentage of time the hosting company guarantees that your website will be available and fully functioning. The higher the better, as downtime can cost you sales, damage your reputation and cause serious disruption.

In terms of what these percentages mean in real time, a site with 99% guaranteed uptime may be down for around 3.5 days a year. A hosting plan promising 99.99% uptime is expected to be offline for just 4 hours a year or less.

Bandwidth

This is how much data your website can send and receive from the server. You may not need unlimited bandwidth if your business is just getting off the ground, as your site won’t realistically receive large numbers of visitors. But if your business really takes off, with a product that goes viral or a surprise listing at the top of Google search results, your traffic could significantly increase overnight. Will your site be able to cope? Bear in mind that web hosting needs to be able to scale up as your business grows. If unlimited bandwidth is available as standard, absolutely go for it.  

Disk space (SSD)

SSD stands for Solid State Drive, a type of data storage device. This is what the hosting company’s servers will use to store your data, offering much faster electronic access to stored data. SSD may be fast, but you’ll need to make sure you have enough space. Many websites use just 5GB, but you can also find plans offering 50GB or more.

Mailboxes

Want company email addresses? Look for a hosting package which offers unlimited email hosting. This means you can create email addresses, and send and receive mail on a shared or dedicated mail server linked to your website.

Have more questions about hosting? Get in touch with the hosting experts here at Ambos Digital – we’ll be happy to help.

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