Choosing the right web host and hosting plan can be overwhelming, even for those who are technically inclined. With so many different types of web hosting plans, it can seem as if there is a never-ending list of plans to choose from. Nevertheless, there are a handful of factors you should consider when choosing a website host. They are –
The most common forms of web hosting are Windows- and Unix-based web hosting plans. Since Windows is manufactured by a Microsoft, a Windows-based web server is guaranteed to be compatible with all Microsoft software such as VBScript and Microsoft Access. Unix web hosting does not provide compatibility with Microsoft software, which means it is not a viable solution for websites that require the usage of Microsoft applications.
Ease of Use and Control
An important consideration is the type of control the host offers. With many plans today hosts provide you with an intuitive control panel or dashboard from which you can easily manage your website and add important functionality to it, including databases, blogs, forums, etc. This is no longer just the territory for IT experts. Mere mortals and business owners can easily manage their websites.
The first thing most people look for when shopping for a hosting solution is cost. When comparing Unix- and Windows-based web hosting solutions, Unix is most definitely the cheaper option because there are free Unix operating systems available, like Linux. Windows server software is not free, and frequently the overall cost of Windows web hosting plan may be higher. That said, with so many web hosts available, the cost of hosting plans are very affordable.
Although both Unix and Windows web hosting are considered to be reliable, Unix-based web servers generally experience less downtime and therefore are slightly more reliable than Windows based web server. Despite that, the actual reliability of a web hosting service will ultimately be determined by the competence of the web hosting company itself. In many cases the host will even advertise the amount of “up-time” for their servers.
This is where the “rubber meets the road.” When an error occurs in a Windows-based web sever due to Microsoft software, the only people that can usually fix the bug in the software is Microsoft. Unix on the other hand is an open source software, which means that anyone with the skill can write code for it and repair any bugs for it within a very short time. Aside from software-specific problems, when choosing a host, you want to make sure that they offer a number of different ways in which to contact them (i.e., email, telephone, real-time chat, etc.). Steer clear of hosts who only provide one way to communicate…they have not made customer support a priority. Also, once you’ve narrowed your list down, let the search engines help with your decision. Check out forums and blog posts to see what people have to say about the hosts.
The Final Decision
We can help you decide on the hosting solution which is best for your purposes. If given the choice, we most always choose Unix/Linux plans because of the flexibility they offer. Over the years we have used a number of hosts, and whether we remain with them almost always has to do with customer support or “the lack thereof.” For the last several years, our preferred host is Hostgator, one of the largest if not the largest web hosting providers whose customer service is outstanding and hosting plans very affordable.