How to: Choose Web Hosting

3rd August 2011

Choosing web hosting is one of the simplest, yet most important decisions you’ll make when you come to set up a new website. Since there are so many providers out there, all offering low cost solutions, which one should you pick? Here are five key questions you should be asking.

1. Space

How much server space will your website need? Think about how much room your website is going to take up at the point of launch and whether you intend to expand on that in the future. Make sure your package is sufficient or you have the option to easily add more space if you need it in the future.

2. Databases

Does your website need access to a MySQL database now or in the future? If you’re running WordPress or any other CMS then it definitely will. You are also likely to need a database if you intend to run an e-newsletter, forums and many other dynamic features. Be sure what is offered with your hosting package, whether you can add further databases in the future, and if there are any size restrictions.

3. Email

There’s lots to consider when it comes to email capabilities. Firstly, how many mailboxes can you setup and can you do this yourself? Secondly, can you access email through Outlook and on your phone? And lastly, what are the other features such as spam filtering and auto-responses? Make sure you cover all of your email requirements straight off because it will be hard to pick many of these features up as addons at a later date.

4. Nameservers and DNS

Do you have to register your domain name through the same provider or can you use one registered elsewhere? Will the provider allow you to edit nameserver and DNS entries?

5. Terms and billing

How long are you tied in for? How often will you pay? Are there any hidden extras or addons you’re going to need which will bump the price up? If in doubt call their customer services or sales line.

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Jo took my simple brief outline of what I wanted and turned it into everything I wanted and more. Jo was very professional, efficient and she was patient and understanding with the fact that I was not knowledgeable about building websites or what’s involved. By the end of it Jo had given me and my team a training session around how to manage the website. I would highly recommend her!

Sharon Mulholland (Sandcastle Mortgages)