Web Hosting Services: How to Choose the Best Software
Whether it's for business or pleasure, you need some help running a website. Even those who are technically savvy enough to build their own site need someone to assist with putting it online. That responsibility falls to web hosting services. Today, a number of services, each with their own features and support offerings, are available to those looking to take their website live.
What are Web Hosting Services?
In order to publish a website, you must use a web hosting service. They store the files that make up a website on a data server, which thenuploads them directly to the web, providing an Internet connection and a way for users to access the site through the selected domain name. Web hosting services all provide the same fundamental functionality of publishing websites to the Internet, but can vary greatly in the types of features they offer. Some services are better suited for small-scale file hosting for personal webpages, while others are better equipped to handle more comprehensive hosting with database and script support.
Choosing the Best Web Hosting Service
With so many options for web hosting services, it is critical to understand what each offers before selecting one. One of the most important factors is the types of hosting packages that are available. All packages contain the integral hosting components such as bandwidth and domain names. The type of hosting package needed largely depends on the type and number of websites you want hosted. Smaller, inexpensive hosting packages are sufficient for simple websites, but if you have multiple sites or want a professional website, it is imperative to look for a more robust hosting package.
Another thing to consider are the features. The best options include website builders, one-click installation of supported apps and an integrated control panel for easy site management. The service should include email functionality, with an unlimited number of email addresses that include the site's domain name.
The top web hosting services also provide numerous server access options, as well as unlimited FTP accounts, .htaccess and secure shell (SSH) access.
Rick Whittington, President of Rick Whittington Consulting in Richmond, Va., also believes all web hosting services must be able to ensure a site stays up and running when spikes in traffic occur.
"You want to make sure that sudden increases in traffic don't keep people from being able to access your site, " Whittington said in an interview with TechNewsDaily.
Since website problems can occur at any time without warning, the type of customer service should also be considered when choosing a web hosting service. Consider services that offer tech support 24/7.
"Good customer service is very, very important," Jacob Morgan, Principal at Chess Media Group, a consulting firm in San Francisco, told TechNewsDaily. "It's easy to pick the cheapest service, but it may well end up costing you more in the end."
Top Web Hosting Services
While there are numerous services available, Just Host is rated as one of the best. The web hosting service includes everything needed to build, publish and maintain a website. While offering a host of features for advanced users, the service is also simple for beginners to use. For those looking to launch multiple web sites, Just Host provides unlimited disk space, bandwidth and domains. It also provides one free domain name or domain transfer. The service offers a number of site creation tools that allow you to build a completely new site or add new site components such as blogs, image galleries or message boards to an existing site. Numerous email options, including webmail, unlimited storage and an unlimited number of POP3 or IMAP email addresses, are also available.
Go Daddy is another popular web hosting service. It provides all of the necessities for running a website, including site creation tools, server access and secure facilities that house their data servers. All of Go Daddy’s solutions support several programming languages, including CGI, PHP, Perl, ASP, MySQL, ColdFusion and FrontPage extensions. The service also offers a number of support options, including online forums and FAQs sections that contain a wealth of knowledge for both beginners and advanced users.
iPage is another highly rated option. The web hosting service provides unlimited bandwidth, disk space and emails, as well as basic shopping cart tools, marketing tools and 24/7 support. iPage offers three easy-to-use site builders, which can help you build a basic webpage or a more complex site with multiple pages. It also has blog and photo gallery setup wizards, and supports numerous content management systems, blogs, photo galleries and forum plugins such as Joomla, WordPress, Gallery2 and Gbook. In addition, the service provides several marketing tools, including Google AdWords, Yahoo/Bing Sponsored Search and Facebook Advertising credits.
Other well-regarded web hosting services include Arvixe, which has all-inclusive hosting packages, MidPhase, which provides a range of robust yet easy-to-use hosting features, and Host Gator, which can host unlimited domains under one account.