Today, there are thousands of web hosting companies available in the market with different types of selling plans, facilities and prices. It is very difficult to choose a hosting plan from thousands of web hosting plans in the market, especially if you are new to web hosting.
In the process of preparing this article, I GOOGLED many times to search criteria for the selection of good hosting plan with different search terms. And most of the time, I got comparative charts (comparative rating) of different web hosting companies. The interesting thing is that, these comparative studies on web hosting companies have considered many common features which I have listed down for your reference.
Price is the first thing that most of us will look at first while considering a web hosting plan. In this age of competitive marketing, there are lots of offers, discounts and promotional plans offered by hosting company. However price, discounts and offers should not be the deciding factor while choosing a web host.
In most of the cases, the price offered by the web host for the first year is less than the renewal cost. A closer look at the first time price and recurring cost (annual renewal charge) helps you to plan for your long term budget.
When we talk about hosting price, we have to keep three things in our mind:
a. Annual /monthly cost
It is the actual cost you are going to pay to your web hosting company either on monthly or on yearly basis according to their payment plan. But most of the hosting companies only offer yearly accounts
b. Cost of domain (If you are buying a new domain)
While hosting a website, you need a domain name. If you already own a domain name, you can simply host your website on that domain. Otherwise you have to buy a new domain.
You can either buy this with any domain registrar available in the market(for example, www.godaddy.com) or ask for the same hosting company for new domain for which you will be charged certain amount for domain name registration.
c. Setup fee.
Some hosting companies charge for one time setup fee for new account. The cost varies from as little as $10(for simple website) to as high as $1500 (for dedicated server hosting). But the comparative study on web hosting companies found on different websites shows that the top hosting companies normally do not charge for website setup.
In web hosting terms, a platform refers to an operating system on the top of which your website runs. Today, customers can choose from a variety of operating systems according to their business needs. The key players in today’s market of web hosting platforms are: UNIX/Linux, Microsoft Windows and FreeBSD.
3. Programming Language support
The development and use of variety of programming languages on web programming business has forced the web hosting companies to provide support for each of them. Some of the popular web programming languages in use these days are PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, ASP, .Net, Java and Cold Fusion. Before hosting your site, you can visit the websites of respective web hosting company to confirm the language support required by your website
4. MySQL Databases
This refers to, how many MySQL databases you can create within the disk space allocated to your account? Today, many hosting providers allow unlimited number of MySQL databases on all their web hosting plans. The only restriction would be the web space allocated to every hosting account. However, there are still some hosting providers who limit this facility to let's say 10, 20, 100 or 200. So, it is wise to review this number before you purchase any hosting plan.
5. Control Panel
In web hosting, a control panel is an interactive web interface provided to manage their various hosted services in a single place.
Control panels provide services which simplify tasks such as uploading and managing web pages, creating email accounts, installing web-based applications like blogs, shopping carts, and forums, backing up data, generating and viewing statistics about visitors and reviewing error logs to locate broken links and other problems.
Today, almost all web hosting companies offers control panels in one form or another. Cpanel, Plesk, Ipage and Vdeck are some examples of web hosting control panel.
6. Bandwidth (transfer/month)
Bandwidth is the measurement of data that is sent from your web host's server down to the visitors computer. If you have a lot of visitors and they download large files from you, then you will need a great amount of bandwidth.
A variety of bandwidth options are provided by the web hosting companies in their plans. The main difference between the basic and expensive plan of any hosting provider is the difference in the amount of bandwidth per month. Most hosts will define the bandwidth amount in GB (Gigabytes).
Uptime refers to the amount of time that your web host's server (on which you have hosted your website) has stayed up and running. Uptime is a great measure of how good a Web hosting provider is at keeping their systems up and running. This is usually measured in the percentage like "99% or 98% " uptime.