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Hosting Tips: Pricing, Storage Space, Bandwidth, and Extras
Having made several websites for a vast variety of clients, and hosting from several different sites in the process, I have accrued quite the expert knowledge on hosting sites and their services. I have accumulated that knowledge into this document based on several categories, all of which you should consider when choosing a host.
The first thing every person wants to know is how much they will have to pull from their pocket to start a website. Below are several of the hosts I have used and their beginning prices. These prices are with a one-year contract, as is customary across the web. Prices normally vary inversely with time contracted. Also, all of these packages come with a free domain name ($9.99/yr without hosting registration).
“What you get is what you pay for” doesn’t always apply to hosting. The most important factor in developing a new website is the Developer, not the host. In fact, most Web Developers can help you select a host, if not provide one themselves. If you are reading this article, you more than likely have (or are) the developer and thus I won’t go into development any more deeply.
The content of your site is vital in deciding how much disk space you need from your host. If you plan on hosting videos and/or many photos, you’ll need to do some math to figure out, based on the average size of your pictures/videos just how much storage you’ll need. If you have several videos, unlimited hosting space is probably the way to go. Below are the same sites as listed in the pricing section with their respective disk storage.
Disk space is literally the sum of the size of the files that are needed for your website to function. Though, for instance, GoDaddy.com seems to have considerably less disk space that the rest of the hosts, you may not even need 5GB if your site is a good portion text with a decent amount of images.
In order for people to view your website, your files must be transferred to their browser. This process uses bandwidth and hosting sites limit how much of it you can have per month. For low-traffic start-ups, bandwidth, like storage will be overly excessive from any hosting site you choose. To best choose the host that meets your needs, consider the following formula:
Page Size X Page Views/Day X 30 Days = Monthly Bandwidth Usage
For example, suppose you have a page with 20 KB of text, and 80 KB of images, giving you a page size of 100KB. Also suppose that 500 people look at your site every day, giving you 500 page views per day. In the formula, that gives us 100 X 500 X 30 = 1500000 KB which is equivalent to 1500 MB, or 1.5 GB, well below all hosting plans I’ve seen. Below are the same example sites as above with the respective bandwidth plans.
Also, keep in mind that only the pages that a visitor sees are charged to your bandwidth tally. For instance, if you host a video on your site but the majority of visitors will not see it, your bandwidth usage may be significantly less than you’d expect.
Other Things to Consider
Number of Domains Hosted: Some websites allow you to host multiple names under the same host. Consider this number if you are thinking of doing this.
SQL/PHP/Perl/CGI/Ruby: Most hosts provide at least one database (SQL) for you, but if your site will require a database make sure you check out these options.
Support: If you’re a beginner and need a lot of help, make sure your host has customer support both online and through a call center.
Email Accounts: Many people assume that because they own domainname.com they will get all of the @domainname.com email. Not True!! You pay for email service and the majority of providers make you pay per mailbox. Some give it to you with the hosting plan, although this is definitely something to be wary of.
Statistics: If it matters to you how many people come to your site and when, make sure you look at what kind of site statistics the host can provide you.
Web Design Templates/Wizards: If you don’t have a designer already and plan on making the site yourself, you should look at the templates and wizards that the host can provide to help make your site. These can save you both time and money on a designer.