Choosing a Web Hosting Package

In recent weeks we’ve had cause to acquire web hosting for a number of our clients. In each case the needs were slightly different and while explaining what each needed I realised that in general it’s a very misunderstood category for companies and indeed individuals.

There are a hundred and one options when it comes to hosting packages and detailed below are the main ones relating to what most SME’s require from experience. What you’ll pay will vary from place to place and bear in mind if you’re moving provider then you will need to factor in the time and cost of moving the site and be prepared for some down time on the website and potentially email.

Service Details
Domain Name Included A free domain name is great but if you already have one then this isn’t of any use (unless you want a second) and may be inflating the cost somewhat (even if it says free).
x Gb of Storage Where x is usually in the 10 – 20 range. Most sites are less than 100 Mb and while offering more looks great it is just for show – unless you have a specific need, maybe you want to be YouTube mark 2.
x Gb of Traffic This is where you could get stung if your site is generating a lot of traffic as they’ll charge you nicely for going over – quite like your mobile broadband price plans – but the question is will your site really be generating that much traffic.
OS (Windows / Linux) This is dictated by your website designers as the OS will dictate a lot of what they can do. If transferring try to make sure the OS is the same on both sides.
WordPress / Drupal / Joomla Content Management System (CMS) driven sites work usually off one of these platforms. If you’re using it make sure your host supports it.
PHP / MySQL If your site is going to be anything other than static (i.e. doesn’t change or all written in HTML / CSS) then you’ll need these services to serve the pages most likely. Again ask your web designer.
POP 3 / IMAP If you are going with the basic forms of email and do not have a mail server onsite capable of SMTP or you are not going to use a cloud based service like Office 365 then you should make sure there are enough accounts to cover your staff needs.

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