How to choose web hosting?

by Chief

What is web hosting?

It is a service in which hosting provider offers IT infrastructure and on top of its web services for rent.
Usually, it is some sort of web server that provides services needed so that web documents can be accessed, viewed and in some cases edited by web browsers. Simplified, when you enter the web address in your browser or click a search result in your favorite search engine, it is a link to the website. Service called DNS than translates that name to IP address and that is how your device (computer, smartphone or any other web-capable machine) knows where to go. What waits at the end is a web server.

How much does it cost?

It cost anywhere from 0 to hundreds of $, or even more, depending on what kind of service do you want. Don’t get scared, if you need just a regular website for a project, small company or personal blog it is just a few bucks per month. There are even “free” options, but you will get commercials on it since there is no such a thing as a free lunch.

What to look for, and how to avoid being cheated.

This is very important,

so pay close attention to the following. There are many traps that hosting providers use to catch new customers. When you purchase web hosting and build your site or even worse,  sites, it can be a real pain in the ass to change hosting provider. They all make it sound so easy, and even offer so-called “migrating” tools designed for migrations from other providers to your new shiny and best, most reliable and cheapest provider.

There is no such thing as unlimited hosting!

They made it sound so great – Unlimited. No limitations for traffic, databases, websites, domains……… no boundaries at all. When you think of it that way, you could host service like Facebook on that kind of hosting, right? Wrong. The thing is that they moved limitations from the main description of service to the “terms of use”. There you will find some shady info about what “unlimited” really means. Here is the example fro iPage hosting.

Hosting unlimited
Unlimited hosting

Let`s dig a little deeper, and see what do they mean by unlimited.

Hosting capacity

Of course, more details are on next link.

Unlimited files and sql

So, the real question is why do they sell it as unlimited if in fact there are so many limitations. It`s simple, it is a marketing trick. It`s stated that files must be used for websites and not for storage. So if we install an app like Own Cloud on our hosting and use it for uploading our pictures and videos on our hosting, those files are part of a website, yes? Correct, but the hosting provider will not allow you to do that. Yes you have an unlimited hosting plan, and all your files are part of a website, but if you go to tens of Gigabytes, you will be asked to reduce the number of files. If you do not comply very fast, they will shut you down. That is the fact. As I mentioned before, it is a marketing trick. It doesn`t mean that it is a bad product that should be avoided. On the contrary, few regular websites or blogs will fit and work like a charm. You just need to know what to expect.

Beware of the renewal!

Hosting and renewal

Many hosting providers are “fishing” their customers by price. It is often to see that you could get the great hosting plan for few bucks.Or even for a 1 $ price. Comparing to other products on the market it is much better and cheaper. You are so happy that you found that deal and you take it. You build your websites, set up your email accounts, and everything is just perfect. Then comes time to renew. Price now is doubled or even tripled. You start looking around and found plenty of cheaper products. But you already did set up everything and don’t know how to migrate everything to another provider. So you decide to pay your old hosting only this time.It will get you enough time to plan and migrate everything. Another year passes. Again it is a time to renew. Now price went even more up. You pay again swearing to yourself that this is the last time. Been there, know how it feels.

Here is an example. At least they stated that on renewal it will be a different price. Sometimes it is not stated at all, and you do not know until renewal time when you get the invoice.

Hosting @ HostGator

Look at this next example. You can figure out that something fishy here only by this little * after the price. On next page if you have a magnifying glass you can find this:

Hosting @ HostGator

So you can start with 6 $ per month but you will end up with around 15 $. Great service!

Coupons for everyone.

There are also coupons for many providers, and usually, they are baits on providers hook. They just wait for you to take them. Again if you plan to keep the product that you purchase for more than a year, renewal is gonna get you. Usually, coupons work only for a new product and they are worthless at the renewal time, so keep that in mind. They are great for short-term projects that last less than a year.

Customer comes first!

There are also some honest hosting providers that do the marketing the old way. For example, after more than ten years of struggle with different companies, I found one that sad that they will do their best to keep the same price of the product for as long as I use it. It is the fourth year now, and price did not go up. If you compare the price with others, it was not the cheapest, but when you take out that marketing tricks and calculate what you actually pay in let’s say three years period, it would be among the cheapest. I still pay the same price like I paid for the first time. I did not write this article to be an advertising for anyone, so I will not mention any names ar the addresses, but the Internet is huge, and it is a wise thing to do some research before purchasing a service.

Few pieces of advice at the end…

  • Think about what you actually need, don`t take the biggest package just because price looks great and the discount is unbelievable. Companies do not have fools in the Marketing department, they will take what is their one way or the other.
  • Do some researching, compare the prices, while watching out for the details about renewal price and things like that. If you do not understand something, feel free to contact the company and ask them about it. Believe me, they will answer.
  • Most hosting providers have multiple data centers worldwide, and when purchasing service you can choose the geographical location. Choose the location closest to the place where you expect that most of your customers/visitors will be.
  • I will say the same thing one more time, start with the smallest package that will do you a job, it is easy to upgrade/expand. Shrinking is the problem. Every company will allow you and even assist you to switch to a more expensive service. Usually, for a hosting, it is just a few clicks, and a payment, and you get, more space, databases, traffic, etc.
  • Figure out do you need Windows or Linux based web hosting. These days the difference in price and supported features is getting smaller and smaller, but there is generally an easy way to know which one do you need. If you are going to build or use something that requires .asp and .net use the windows hosting. For .php related stuff , use Linux.

You may also found interesting the article about Cloud computing.

Thank you for reading,


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