A website hosting charge is the charge for the disk space on the hosts’ server that is taken up by your websites files and also includes a charge for the bandwidth used by the visitors to your site. There are pros and cons for where to host your site and how much to pay. Following are some explanations and tips that will help sort out the minefield of jargon filled choices available.
HOW BIG IS YOUR WEBSITE?
Most information websites on the internet are under 100Mb in size, so beware of a company that is offering you unlimited disk space to host your site – they know also that it is unlikely to be larger than 100Mb. Don’t go paying for something your are not going to needChoose a plan that is what you need with the opportunity to upgrade in the future if you require – it will be much cheaper than an ‘all you can eat’ type scenario.
HOW MUCH TRAFFIC DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO YOUR SITE?
Once again, the same rule applies, only pay for what you are likely to need. Most new websites would find that 1GB of traffic a month is more than adequate for their needs. However, make sure you can upgrade where necessary as your site becomes more well known and there are more links back to it. Beware again the offer of ‘unlimited bandwidth’. The hosting company has to pay for the bandwidth, so somewhere in their fine print will be a ‘limit’ to their ‘unlimited ‘offer.
Make sure if you are using an overseas hosting service that they have good support either by email or phone. We use both New Zealand and offshore hosts, based on our customer requirements. Ask us for our recommendations.
Most web hosts will show their servers with a ‘guaranteed 99.6% uptime’, or something similar. This is the guaranteed time that the servers are online and available to provide access to your site. Whereas it would be most inconvenient if someone went to visit your site and the servers were ‘down’ and they couldn’t access it, the reality is, most hosts today promote their servers as being ‘up’ a large proportion of the time. If you found that you were having constant problems with a host – change!
FREE HOSTING – A GOOD DEAL?
There are promoters, usually offshore, that will offer free hosting. As well all know – you get what you pay for, and if you are paying nothing there will be limitations, so read the fine print carefully. With a free host you are likely to suffer any or all of the following; they will impose advertising on your site, usually in the form of banners or ‘pop-ups’. They may go out of business, giving stuff away all the time is not usually the way to run a viable business! Some free hosts expect you to build your site with their online site builder, this generally does not allow for the site to expand and develop further sophistication and functionality down the track.
FREE WEBSITES – WHAT A BARGAIN!?
Once again, examine the fine-print; a free website may tie you into expensive monthly charges for hosting with a long term commitment required. If you have a small brochure-style website beware of paying more than NZD$25 per month plus GST for your hosting if you have a ‘brochure style’ website. You will pay more for a shopping cart and merchant facilities for an ‘online store’ and you will also pay more if your email is being hosted as well – is likely will depend on the number of email addresses you need.