When looking at web hosting packages, the features that hosting companies talk about the most are disk space and bandwidth. In years past, these were very important numbers to consider. However, web hosting has evolved to the point where most hosting packages have more than enough disk space and bandwidth for the typical small website.
Why Most Small Websites Don’t Need To Worry About Disk Space And Bandwidth?
For the sake of calculation, I measured a randomly selected static five-page website – it was 350K, including HTML, CSS, and images. If this entire website was viewed 1,000 times in a month, the hosting account would need less than 1MB of disk space and only about 350MB of bandwidth. Most hosting accounts offer far more than those numbers – in fact, many hosting accounts now offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space.
What Are The Features And Numbers That Really Matter?
If your website uses any server-side scripting languages or databases, such as PHP, ASP, MySQL, etc. it is essential that you select a hosting account with the correct support. In addition to ensuring the server supports the correct language, ensure it has the correct version and libraries installed. For example, your website might require PHP5 with the ImageMagick library installed. You should also check to see if there are additional technical features your website needs, such as root access or the ability to edit your PHP settings.
Having your website go down due to server issues can be very stressful, and can result in lost business, aggravated customers, and a host of other problems. However, even the most carefully engineered and maintained servers will occasionally experience downtime. You should look for a web host that has a history of keeping any downtime to an absolute minimum. With a good web host, you can expect 99.9% or greater uptime. Many web hosts offer an uptime guarantee, typically stipulating that if your website is down for more than the allowable amount, you don’t pay for that month of web hosting.
Most hosting companies offer 24/7 e-mail support, but that isn’t necessarily enough. There are several additional factors you should look at:
- Average response time – what is the average amount of time it takes the support staff to reply to an e-mail ticket?
- Expertise – are the support staff able to understand, diagnose, and fix any issue that is brought to them?
- Phone or chat support – in some cases, e-mail support is simply too tedious or slow. In these cases, it is very helpful to have a web host that offers technical support by chat and/or phone.
Most business web hosting packages offer more than enough disk space and bandwidth for the average small website. If you select a hosting package that offers the correct technical specs, excellent uptime percentage, and top-notch support, you will have a web host that serves you very well.