Know Your RequirementsOne of the most important steps to take when you are searching for web hosting service is figuring out what you actually need. You can start by asking these questions: What kind of a website do I want to host? - Will I be serving large content such as images and videos? - Do I need support for a specific programming language (i.e. PHP, ASP.Net, etc.)? - Will my site use databases? How many do I need? - How many email addresses do I need? - What other features are important for me? - How much traffic do I expect once the site is launched?
By asking these questions, you should get a pretty good idea of how much web hosting space and monthly data transfer limit you need. These are the two most basic features you should look for from web hosting service packages. A standard WordPress blog with lots of images and articles will need around 200MB to 1GB of web hosting space. The bigger your site, the more web hosting space it will need.
As for monthly data transfer, you can figure out the average size of your pages and multiply that by the amount of traffic you want your site to accommodate to get a rough estimate. Other features such as FTP accounts, MySQL databases and email addresses are usually included in the package. In fact, you can get unlimited databases, FTP accounts and email addresses with most web hosting service plans these days. Of course, you also need to pay attention to your specific requirements.
If your site is based on Ruby on Rail or ASP.Net, for example, you will have to search for a web hosting service that supports that particular programming language. You may also need root access or other advanced features; list all of them to make your search for the perfect web hosting plan easier.
Set a BudgetIt is easy to get tempted by a slightly better (or substantially better) web hosting service plan when you are shopping for one. The price difference between plans can be so minute that you are tempted to get the bigger, better plan from the start.
Although it is a good idea to have extra web hosting space and other features, it is certainly not the most efficient way to host a website. Instead of just going for that slightly-more-expensive-plan, it would be much better to set a budget before you start shopping for web hosting services.
With a clear budget in mind, you can then limit your search to plans that fall within that budget range of yours. Not only will you be able to get the most cost-efficient plan available, you can also focus your search on finding a plan that gives you more for your money. A shared hosting plan should cost around $0.95 all the way to $50 (or even more) depending on the storage space and other features included in the plan. There is a web hosting service package for everyone, so there is always one that suits your budget too.
Determine the Type of Hosting You NeedThe next and last step to take when you are about to shop for web hosting is to determine the kind of hosting service you need. For most site owners – including personal bloggers and simple websites – shared hosing is the type of hosting to look into.
If you need more performance or if you’d like to have more control over the server, but you don’t want to invest on a dedicated server, then a VPS or Virtual Private Server is for you. It offers a pre-allocated set of server resources along with root access and complete control over your part of the server. Dedicated servers are suitable for more demanding applications. You basically have the entire physical server to yourself, which means you can use the available server resources however you like.
You can also expect a higher service level when you use a dedicated server to host your site or web application. Alternative hosting services such as reseller hosting or WordPress hosting (a hosting plan specifically designed for WordPress websites) are also worth considering, especially when they fit your needs perfectly. WordPress hosting, for example, is usually based on a server configured to run WordPress optimally, giving you that competitive edge you need to succeed. After completing these steps, you are ready to start comparing web hosting plans. Before you know it, you will spot the one that suits you best and have your site up and running.