There are plenty of hosting options available everywhere you turn – even free ones connected to your Internet account. So much selection can make it difficult for you to decide where it’s best to host your personal website. Before you make that important decision, you need to have a grasp on what your needs truly are. The fact is, you don’t want to pay for a year’s worth of hosting service, or settle for a free but low-grade site, only to find out that you aren’t satisfied with it.
For the individuals that are new to the whole web thing, here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind.
1. You don’t actually have to have a domain name chosen (like http://www.whatever.com) to have a website. If you are just looking for somewhere to put family photos, so that people can view them, you can check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to see what free offers they have. If your site is going to be used mainly for fun, then why not make use of what you already have? You’re paying for it anyway. However, you might not get the same features as you would with a hosting company.
2. Be sure you know how big your site is going to be. Photos, videos, and music take up a lot of space, much more than just the text in a “blog” (web log) or “digital diary” would.
3. Do you need ASP, PHP or PerI? If you knew how to use these, you wouldn’t be reading this introductory level article. Unless you are going to change jobs and become a webmaster, you probably don’t need these tools.
4. You need to know if your website is going to have FrontPage compatibility built in. A Microsoft application, FrontPage is a widely-used website construction tool, though not the easiest one in the world to use. If you are going to use different software or your ISP’s built-in, web-based site-building tools, you don’t need to know about it.
5. How important is “guaranteed uptime”? If you are not doing business it isn’t that critical. Every major ISP will keep your website up over 99% of the time, which should be plenty to allow your folks to check out your vacation pics.
6. Will you build your own personal website or are you going to have someone else build it for you? If you are building it yourself, you may want to choose hosting that has a lot of easy to use website building tools. If you are going to have someone else do the work, choose a hosting company with a lot of flexibility and that let’s you add pages without incurring extra cost.
7. How much money are you willing to invest if you’re not going to do it yourself? You can still have someone build an inexpensive website, but the less you wish to pay, the less functionality can be built in the site. Also, if you are investing less, than your builder may have to use some pre-constructed modules that may not have the flexibility of modules created from scratch.
8. What are the features that will be most important to your site? If you want a guestbook or a forum, you may or may not get that capability from a freebie site. If you decide to pay for hosting, make sure you get the tools you need to have the kind of site you want. This also might mean having to buy some software to build the site.
With all these questions and items to take into consideration, take your time so you make the right decision in the end. If you go with a free site from your ISP, fine, but if you want to have more control and flexibility to do everything you want to do, you will need to pay for hosting. The good news is it often starts at just three or four dollars a month (really!).
Help when you need it
Another important aspect to choosing a web host is the technical support they offer. Make sure they are reliable and that their e-mail support has guaranteed fast response times. They should offer a toll-free help line for all technical issues seeing as you might need help in a hurry. Customer service is the category, as the various “editor’s awards” at print and web tech publications make clear, that separates winning companies from the pack.
Once you have made a final choice on a web hosting company, you’re going to want to stick around for a while, so be sure it is the one you really want to go with. It can be a major pain changing hosting providers. The hassle of transferring domain names, ensuring compatibility with the prospective host and moving files can be as difficult as switching banks. This leads to a last tip: Consider registering any domain name you create as part of your hosting deal. Hosting with one company while registering your domain with another can lead to costly confusion.
Making the right decision for a web host provider is a crucial element for all citizens of cyberspace, corporate and individual alike. It’s not difficult to stake your claim, and with the great deals and strong support now available, making the wrong decision shouldn’t even be considered an option.
Source by Amy Armitage