With the internet being the biggest and one of the most profitable markets in the world, internet marketing is crucial for online businesses, regardless of what they do. Investing in enhancing your website’s online presence is basically ‘internet marketing 101’.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not. But doable of course. Your internet marketing journey starts from the creation of your website and ends when you don’t want to continue with your business online anymore.
Before you gecar up to find the right host for your website, make sure you are armed with these.
- Basic technical know-hows
- An idea of how the website should look
- An idea of the content you will be publishing on the website
- A list of targeted markets
- An idea of who potential customers could be
- An idea of the services you are planning to offer
Now ask yourself if you just want the website for your business or if you want to educate people.
Honestly, there are many more questions that you will want answers for. Let’s just assume this whole thing as a layered sandwich. Web hosting is just one of the ingredients in the sandwich. We will cover that first.
Your Hosting Package
The nature of your business, the targeted markets and the desired audience – these are critical factors that you should consider before choosing a hosting package for your website.
The ideal hosting package can get you everything you need to keep the website up and running without any hitch. This will include the right tools, adequate bandwidth, storage, technical support etc.
Here are a few questions I asked myself when I was introduced to web hosting.
Why is it so hard to find one?
Because there are a lot of companies offering various packages, it’s not going to be easy to find one that fits all your requirements.
Let’s just go for a free hosting service
You could be jeopardizing your whole business with a free service.
Every hosting package will have some kind of limitation. In rare cases, it can have everything you need but will cost you a lot (See? Limitation). However, there are still a few gems that you can easily miss.
Okay then, what’s the best approach?
Take it step by step.
Step by step
These steps are part of practical and tactical approach to finding the right web host. Each step should get you closer to the answer.
Step 1: Size of the hosting package you are going to need
To get an answer, you will have to write down what your website does. Is it a blog hub? Or an eCommerce portal? Web magazine maybe? Is it a place of business?
Once you are sure about what you are going to do with the website, you can start looking for a hosting package that fits.
Step 2: Growth of the website
The potential growth of your business is a huge factor. Do you intend to grow your business? If so, then you will be getting a lot of visitors every day. This calls for more powerful hosting packages. The package should make sure that your website doesn’t go down when the traffic increases.
Step 3: Server – Linux or Windows
You can find hosting offers with Linux/Unix and Windows servers. This could get confusing when you start thinking about which of the two is the best. That debate has been going on for a long time. Technically, both of them are fine. But if you have plans for the server, then it can affect your choice. If you don’t have any plans for the server, simply choose one.
Step 4: The types of hosting
Paid hosting comes in four types – Shared hosting, VPS hosting, Dedicated hosting, Co-location hosting.
- Shared hosting – The most popular type of hosting, shared hosting is also the cheapest. You share a single server with multiple other websites. This means you will be sharing the server resources as well. Ideal for small audiences. But if your neighbors start using more resources, you will be left with a little (bad neighbor effect).
- VPS hosting – Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is where you purchase a virtual machine (which of course will be running in a physical server) with its own copy of OS. You can install any software in the machine as long as it’s compatible with the OS.
- Dedicated hosting – You can buy an entire server for yourself, with complete access to all its resources. You can host multiple sites in the dedicated hosting server. Ideal for websites with large traffic. It is comparatively more expensive, and generally comes with regular maintenance and around-the-clock technical support.
If you want to do it all yourself, you can opt for self-managed hosting. If you don’t want to spend time maintaining your website on top of running your business, you can go for managed hosting. Everything will be taken care of by the provider.
- Co-location hosting – Here you can have your server hardware maintained by the provider. They will be keeping it physically secure. The provider will also give a dedicated internet connection on top of technical support and regulated power.
Step 5: Research
With all your questions answered, you will now have to find the right provider. This is where you are going to spend time researching. You don’t want to do business with a provider who has a history of bad service. You need the package to be dependable at all times. So your best bet is to seek out previous customers of the provider and get feedbacks.
Check third party reviews, and surf through customer support forums. However keep in mind that some bad reviews were posted just out of spite. Make sure every positive or negative review you go through are backed by facts. You can even reach out to the provider to get answers.
By the end of step 5, you will have a clear idea of who you can depend on, and what hosting package will be ideal for your website.