A Web hosting company provides everything that you need to put up a Web site online, including the server space and all the required softwares. You just need to upload your website files to a location specified by the Web hosting company.
About 1000’s of companies offer Web hosting services. Most charge a monthly fee (often quite small), and some are even free such as 000webhost. Usually, the monthly fee varies depending on the resources provided for your Web site.
When looking for a place to host your website, make sure that the Web hosting company offers the following:
- PHP and MySQL: Not all companies provide these tools. You might have to pay more for a site with access to PHP and MySQL; sometimes you have to pay an additional fee for MySQL databases.
- Latest version of PHP: Sometimes the PHP versions offered aren’t the most recent versions. As of this writing, PHP 8.1.2 is the latest version. However, you may have trouble finding a Web hosting company that offers PHP 8. In fact, you may find that most Web hosting companies still offer PHP 5 or 6, although we hope that will change over time. It is worth the time to find a Web hosting company that offers at least PHP 7.4, if not PHP 8.
Other considerations when choosing a Web hosting company are:
Server reliability is something that is governed by how well a server is managed. You need a Web hosting company that you can depend on one that won’t go broke and down tomorrow, and one that isn’t running on old servers.
Web pages that running slowly are a problem because users will get impatient and go elsewhere. Slow pages could be a result of a Web hosting company that started its business on a shoestring and has a shortage of good equipment – or the Web hosting company might be so successful that its equipment is overwhelmed by new customers. Either way, Web hosting companies that deliver Web pages too slowly are unacceptable.
Use the following speed test websites to analyze the load speed of your websites.
3. Technical support
Some Web hosting companies have no one available to answer questions or troubleshoot problems. Technical support is often provided only through e-mail, which can be acceptable if the response time is short. Sometimes you can test the quality of the company’s support by calling the tech support number, or test the e-mail response time by sending an e-mail.
4. The domain name
Each Web site has a domain name that Web browsers use to find the site on the Web. Each domain name is registered for a yearly fee so that only one Web site can use it. Some Web hosting companies allow you to use a domain name that you have registered independently of the Web hosting company, some assist you in registering and using a new domain name, and some require that you use their domain name.
For instance, suppose that your name is Alex Designer and you want your Web site to be named alexdesigner. Some Web hosting companies will allow your Web site to be alexdesigner . com, but some will require that your Web site be named alexdesigner. webhosting . com, or webhosting . com/~alexdesigner, or something similar.
In general, your Web site will look more professional if you use your own domain name.
Backups are copies of your Web page files and your database that are stored in case your files or database are lost or damaged. You want to be sure that the company makes regular, frequent backup copies of your application. You also want to know how long it would take for backups to be put in place to restore your Web site to working order after a problem.
Select features based on the purpose of your Web site. Usually a hosting company bundles features together into plans — more features equal a higher cost. Some features to consider are
- Disk space: How many MB or GB of disk space will your Web site require?
- Data transfer: Some hosting companies charge you for sending Web pages to users. If you expect to have a lot of traffic on your Web site, this cost should be a consideration.
- E-mail addresses: Many hosting companies provide you with a number of e-mail addresses for your Web site. For instance, if your Web site is alexdesigner . com, you could allow users to send you e-mail at contact@alexdesigner . com.
- Software: Hosting companies offer access to a variety of software for Web development. Some hosting companies might offer other databases, and some might offer other development tools such as FrontPage extensions, shopping cart software, and credit card validation.
- Statistics (Access Logs): Often you can get statistics regarding your Web traffic, such as the number of users, time of access, access by Web page, and so on.
One disadvantage of hosting your site with a commercial Web hosting company is that you have no control over your development environment. The Web hosting company provides the environment that works best for it – probably setting up the environment for ease of maintenance, low cost, and minimal customer defections. Most of your environment is set by the company, and you can’t change it. You can only request the company to change it. The company will be reluctant to change a working setup, fearing that a change could cause problems for the company’s system or for other customers.
Access to MySQL databases is controlled via a system of accounts and passwords that must be maintained manually, thus causing extra work for the web hosting company. For this reason, many hosting companies either don’t offer MySQL or charge extra money for it. Also, PHP has many options that can be set, unset, or given various values. The hosting company decides the option settings based on its needs, which might or might not be ideal for your purposes.
The best way to research Best Web hosting companies is to ask for recommendations from people who have experience with those companies. People who have used a hosting company can warn you if the service is slow or the servers are down often. After you gather a few names of Web hosting companies from satisfied customers, you can narrow the list to the one that is best suited to your purposes and the most cost effective.