3. What is web hosting? Web hosting services explained
|> website marketing overview >|
|1. overview||2. domain name||3. website hosting||4. website design||5. website optimization||6. submission|
|7. ranking||8. directories||9. link building||10. pay per click||11. development||12. ecommerce|
What you should look for in a Website Host. A website hosting package should include facilities to host both your website and its related email.
Make sure you have assessed all your potential requirements before committing yourself to a hosting company. As with most things related to the development of your website, there are a whole range of things to consider before making the decision.
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- Web Host Country – Depending on your market, this could be the most important consideration, and often the most overlooked, when choosing a web host. The physical location of your host servers can have an impact on your business if your target market is in your own country. Google UK, for example offer the option of either a UK only or a world-wide search. In a UK only search, Google then determines which sites to feature, based partly on the domain extension (.com/.co.uk etc) and also the physical location of the server. So although you may have a website called www.only-available-in-britain.co.uk, if your hosting company is based in Germany, Google may well see your site as being German, and it will not feature as prominently in a UK wide search. It is therefore safer to choose a web host in the same country as you. Be aware that some web hosting companies who have a .co.uk extension themselves may still have servers abroad. In fact, a well known, cheap hosting company who has been advertising extensively in the UK actually has all its servers in Germany!
- Server space – This used to be an issue, but these days most hosting packages will provide ample space for all your website needs. However, it is a good idea to choose a host who is able to offer you more space should you need it. Once again, this is something most hosting companies should easily be able to accommodate.
- Bandwidth (the volume of traffic to your website) – All basic web hosting packages have enough bandwidth for most small business websites. However the cost of acquiring extra bandwidth should it be needed can vary enormously. We advise you to check this aspect out.
- Support - Be sure technical support is available to you when you need it. Make sure it is support that works for you. We all know how frustrating it can be talking to someone who doesn’t share the same mother tongue and then talks in jargon and “techie-speak”. Often, technical support is only available via email, and waiting for a response can be frustrating.
- Email Control Panel - Some people don’t think they need an email address associated with their website, but it is very important. Having a control panel to manage your email efficiently should be a part of the package.
- Mailbox – Check how many email addresses you have available for you and your staff, and how easy it is to set them up.
- Mail redirect – It may be important to be able to redirect email from one address to another, either temporarily or permanently. This also should be straightforward, and above all, quick to achieve.
- Mailing List – A convenient way of emailing an entire batch of email addresses – staff list; subscribers’ list etc. Check how many mailing lists your package will allow.
- Auto responder – An automatic response to an email sent to you. You may well have detailed product information or instructions for use that you don’t want to keep on your website. A simple email request to your auto responder will result in the right document being emailed back immediately!
- Spam Filtering – Vital! You do not want to be inundated with spam, but you don’t want to filter out important email, so it is useful to control the level.
- Anti-virus – Checking both incoming and outgoing email.
- Tracking – You (or somebody!) will need to monitor how your website is functioning. Your web host should offer you the option to download and analyze your web logs in order to fine-tune your website to produce better results. This information should include:
- Number of visitors to your site
- The entry pages they used
- Search engine keywords used to find you
- Number of pages viewed
- Amount of time spent on your site
- Platform – The two best know platforms are Windows NT and UNIX (which include Linux). The most important aspect of this decision is the kind of applications you will be running.
- Other Considerations – Depending on what your website needs to do for you, there may be other features required:
- Does your website use software (Microsoft FrontPage) that uses non-standard features?
- Does your site offer interactive functions (forms etc) or online credit card facilities/transactions?
- Do your online credit card transactions need a secure server?
- Does your website use specialist software (sometimes even different versions of the same software can be an issue)?
There is a lot to think about here, and these are all aspect of web hosting that need to be carefully considered, before making a hosting decision. If you are not 100% confident about what you need from web-hosting then it is best to ask for help. A good SEO company can advise you on which are the best options for you. In fact, unless you are well experienced, it is far better to seek the advice of an expert. It can save you a lot of grief later.