How to Choose a Hosting Provider
Important factors to ensure the best hosting are Speed, Support, Security. As your site grows you need to be sure your bigger, more popular website can still load fast and allow all large surges of higher traffic.
Hosting services are available in a wide range of prices ranging from a few dollars a month to thousands of dollars. A small business just getting a web presence, a shared hosting service is the best way to start. This gives you all you need regarding disc space, bandwidth and support. Leaving the support and management to the experts.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) is an open for a business that has outgrown shared services. Maybe you need more space or need to run applications that aren’t available on shared server. However you will need to manage it all yourself. After all a VPS is YOUR server so you are responsible for the running and management of the server and your websites. So a high level of knowledge is required.
Hosting prices can vary from just AU$4 / month up to AU$100 / month. This will depend on your needs and what you get for the plan.
What does Hosting and Support Mean?
All Hosting Providers offer similar offerings. Web and Email Hosting, Email Only, DNS Hosting. Basic customer service provides access to email, ticket and phone support.
The main difference is in support. Turnaround time on requests, Ticket Response times, Even just answering the phone. Some service providers will offer 24-hour phone support.
Bear in mind hosting support includes,
1. Server Maintenance and support
2. General troubleshooting and advice
3. Domain and hosting related management
4. Service renewals to ensure you don’t lose your domain or your services go offline.
5. Regular backups (used as a last resort for restores if required)
Hosting Support Doesn’t include
1. Website maintenance
2. Web development or changes to site
3. IT related issues such as fixing your email client, exporting email
However at Hosting Australia we do provide the above support but it will be charged at a reasonable rate. This means you don’t have to go find a developer to fix or maintain your website.
Although the above support isn’t included in the normal hosting package, Hosting Australia can help with development and management with our Managed Services Packages. This allows you to leave it all to us. Your site is managed and updated on a regular basis to keep it all up to date and secure. It also includes changes to content and images as required but does not include design changes.
If you don’t want to use a monthly Managed Services Package then we will still support your site as required but quote on an ad hoc basis to work on the site when you need.
Estimate the amount of traffic you expect
Some plans will include a limit on Bandwidth. This is the amount of traffic coming to your site. Just starting our your site won’t generate a lot of traffic but when it does upgrading your site to a higher level is very easy.
Also your site may be seasonal. If your normal traffic is low but when you have an event and promote it you may find that your traffic suddenly spikes for a few weeks before the event and during. So you will need to allow for this and make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle the traffic. Rather than upgrading your hosting package you may just need to use an Add On package for the period of the event.
Where are the Servers?
Server location is important to a lot of people. Having servers overseas can affect your site speed and even more important support level due to time zones. Hosting Australia staff and servers are all in Australia and fully Australian owned.
Choose a portable application to avoid lock-in
There are some hosts that promote a simple web builder to instantly build a “great” site. Companies such as WIX, Weebly among others offer this server. What they don’t mention is that once the site is built it is locked to their servers because you are using their site building software. This doesn’t allow you to move your hosting if you find they don’t provide the support or service you expect. This means you need to build a whole new site just to move away from them.
You most probably will prefer the option to move if you need so a portable hosted CMS is the best way to go and your host can help you with migrating your site and email when you pick a new provider.