If you Google “web hosting provider”, you get 105 million results. So how do you know where to get your hosting? And just as important, how much should hosting cost?
If you are looking to build a website for your business, these are factors you are considering. You may be wondering how to choose the right hosting provider and after doing a lot of contradictory research you may find yourself wondering, “How much should I pay for hosting?”
Free Hosting, What’s the Catch?
While the “free” hosting providers might seem appealing, service is often inconsistent. Imagine a potential client visits your website and there is no website to be found. What do you do? Even worse, these “free” service providers tend to have lesser customer service. When there is a problem with your website, you will want to make sure you are working with a company with excellent customer care representative who can be reached when you need them. You should be sure to choose a service provider that is able to address your hosting issues in a timely fashion. “Email us your issue and we will get back to you within 48 hours” does not cut it when it comes to your hosting provider. If your website is down, you need to feel confident that every measure is being taken to rectify the issue.
Another major issue with using a free hosting provider is ads. Someone has to pay for your “free” hosting and many providers will offset the cost by putting ads on your page. Now you may be thinking, “Hey ads aren’t a big deal. Facebook does it and people still go there.” But there is a big difference between selling ad space to support your business and having ads on your website that you have no control over. These ads could have nothing to do with your business or industry and, in some cases, can be quite objectionable. Protect your professional image and purchase hosting. Remember, even Facebook approves all ads before presenting them to the visitor.
But How Much Should I Pay For Hosting?
The price of hosting can vary quite dramatically, from a couple of dollars to several hundred a month. So where do you fit in? For typical small business or online entrepreneur, quality feature-filled website hosting can be purchased for $3.99 – $7.99 per month. Why the range? As you might imagine, the $3.99 hosting will offer fewer features than the $7.99 package.
So What Features Do I Need?
The two major considerations when choosing a hosting package are bandwith and storage space. How much you need of each depends on the type of website you are building. If you are building a trypical 100 page or less website,
Bandwith refers to how much traffic or visitors your website can handle. Simply put, your bandwith is the amount of gigabytes of data your website can transfer from your hosting provider to your users in a one month period. One gigabyte equals approximately one billion bytes of data. Now, if you are just starting out getting a dozen hits a day might be an achievement. However, it is wise to set yourself up for growth. Where might you be in 6 months- or even a year? Although unlimited bandwith might seem excessive to start, it is a great choice for a website with growth in mind and there are hosting providers who include unlimited bandwith in packages for about $5 per month. If the bandwith is restricted, ask the company to define it in terms of daily or weekly site visitors. Again, be sure you are factoring in potential growth rather than just your current analytics.
When considering storage or disk space, you will need to consider what kind of website you have. A static HTML website will need less disk space than a page that houses a large photo gallery, streaming audio or a user database for example. The aforementioned static page could be hosted with a package with 10GB storage (which really is almost overkill but is on the lower end of what is offered with even the least expensive hosting plans), where a more media rich site would benefit from a package with 150GB of disk space.
Now what kind of website do you have exacly? We love to set our clients up with WordPress because it it easy to use and easy to update. If you have a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla you will also need 1 MySQL database per every website you host. MySQL is a relational database system and allows your content to be able to talk to your CMS. Ask your developer what CMS your website is utilizing before selecting a hosting package.
Another important feature to consider is security. SSL can be added to hosting packages for an average of $30-50 per year. SSL is an excellent feature to add if you are processing payments through your site, selling products with an eCommerce store, or keeping any private customer information stored. This includes websites with user databases in which the user adds email or home address, phone number, credit card or bank account information or the like.
At Stellar Web Studios, we generally direct our clients to our Deluxe package for $5.30 per month (when you buy 1 year of hosting). This low monthly rate includes:
- unlimited bandwith & websites
- 150GB of disk space
- 500 email accounts
- 25 MySQL Databases (1 GB ea.)
You may also choose to add SSL for $23.06 a year. For a full list of hosting packages, visit us on the web at stellarwebservices.com.
The Bottom Line
So what do I need to be spending? For most businesses who aren’t big business, $5-7 per month is a safe bet. The bigger the website, the more bandwith and storage you need, so paying a bit more is completely worth it. Those free and $1.99 per month hosting site may catch your eye, but you will grow out of it quickly and isn’t really worth the headache of inferior customer service or fighting with frustrating ads.
However, if you are only planning on hosting one website with limited media, you may be able to get away with a $3 economy package. Stay away from the big packages unless you are a web developer and will be hosting a ton of websites or you are planning on being the next Facebook with many of user accounts which will be doing a great deal of uploading data like pictures, videos etc.
Have additional questions about hosting? Email us at [email protected]