How much hosting do you need?
Usually, not much. As a rule, a basic (static) website needs less than 1GB of disk space. And that website getting 20,000 page views a month would use less that 1 GB of bandwidth. Add in some heavy e-mail usage and sending some fat attachments and you might use 5GB of bandwidth a month. Of course, more complex sites would need more space and bandwidth. Just check your file sizes and decide from there.
We've used many hosting companies over the years. From cheap web hosting to business class providers. Some have been great and reliable. Others have tricked us with offers of free web hosting only to be followed by additional fees for what everyone else includes in their base pricing.
We surf the industry forums to see who users are complaining about. We have based our web hosting reviews on the following issues:
- Linux vs. Windows hosting
The majority of the worlds websites run on linux servers. They are secure and reliable. Licensing fees make Linux the low cost web hosting choice. However, some websites developed in ASP or .NET may require Windows hosting. But, sites developed in Front Page can usually be hosted on most Linux web servers. Just check that they offer Front PAge Extensions. Recently, Windows has been promoting their Windows hosting software - even offering it at a discount to speed adoption rates. It works fine, but usually costs a bit more. And, the industry is more tuned into supporting Linux boxes.
What versions of software are they running? We prefer the cPanel hosting control panel. Current, fully supported versions make things run so much smoother. How old are their servers? (three years is considered old) A basic website can run great on an old server. However, websites with newer graphics, databases or heavy processing requirements will bog down quickly. While those old boxes can run for years, at some point there will be a hardware failure - and the associated downtime.
Ideally, if you understand how to set up a website and manage the FTP process there is usually not much need for support. However, we expect a quick response to our support tickets, especially during business hours. Also,we want the ability to talk with a real person at some point.
Whether in house or at a remote data center, we like to see multiple connections to independent internet backbone providers. A back up power supply or redundant utility connection also helps with site continuity. MOst major hosting companies house their servers in secure data centers with full redundancy for power and connectivity.
- Back up
Most hosts run nightly back ups. If their web server suffers a fatal crash they can rebuild everything in a couple of hours. This happens more than you would think. Typically, by the time you notice that your website is down, they are already working on the fix. Grid hosting providers like HostingDivision.com never go down due to an individual hardware failure.