In order to become successful online you really need your own website, but how do you choose which hosting plan is right for you? There are many factors that you need to be aware of before you decide which company you want to use.
Firstly, you may want to use a free hosting service for your first website but there are some major disadvantages such as disk space and data transfer restrictions, banner or pop up adverts which you have no control over, and a lack of personal support if you require any help.
With website hosting accounts now available for as little as $3 per month for 5 gigabytes disk space and 50 gigabytes data transfer there really is no need to use a free service anymore.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider before choosing a website host:
1. The amount of disk space you require. If you plan on creating a large website with hundreds or thousands of content pages and various scripts you will need a hosting plan that offers unlimited disk space so that you never have to worry about how large your websites gets. Some hosting plans offer a set amount of disk space with no ability to upgrade to get more so if you reach the limit you will need to find a new host and transfer your entire website which can be very stressful and time consuming.
2. The amount of data transfer you require. If you plan on sending a large amount of visitors to your website every month you will need a hosting plan that offers a large amount of data transfer (also known as bandwidth) so that you never have to worry about how much traffic you send to your website. If you reach the limit of your allocated monthly data transfer your website will become unavailable for the rest of the month which can result in a massive loss of profits.
3. The number of domain names you require. If you plan on creating many different websites you will need a hosting plan that offers the ability to host multiple separate domains on one account so that you don't have to create a new account for each domain name.
5. Access to MySQL, SSL, and shopping cart. If you plan on using scripts on your website you will need to be able to create MySQL databases and if you want to collect credit card information you will need SSL for encrypted security.
6. Support for both DreamWeaver and FrontPage. Whether you use DreamWeaver or FrontPage you will need a hosting plan that offers compatibility with both in case you decide to switch and use one over the other.
7. Personalized email accounts. Its important to be able to create personalized email addresses for your domain name including mail forwarding addresses, catch all addresses, auto responder addresses, and the ability to retrieve mail with your email software.
8. Shared or dedicated server. The problem with a shared server (also known as a virtual server) is that only a small amount of disk space and data transfer is available and that many other websites will be hosted on the same server which can reduce the loading speed and availability of your website. Its far better and safer to use a dedicated server because your website will be the only one using it and you will have far more disk space and data transfer.
9. Windows or Linux server. In the past there where some major differences between Windows and Linux based servers but recent improvements have meant that these differences have now diminished to the point where you can make your choice of hosting company based on the features they offer rather than the operating system.
10. Live support. This is one of the most important factors when choosing a website host because if you ever have any problems you need to be able to instantly communicate with a professional to solve the issue. It can be very frustrating if you have to wait a few days for your help desk ticket to be answered.
This is a brief overview of what you should look out for before you decide to purchase a hosting plan. Its a good idea to plan for the long term and buy as much disk space and data transfer as you can afford to ensure that you don't run into any problems in the future.
For affordable website hosting plans and excellent support you should consider using a company such as Host Excellence which provides all the essential features for very low prices and if you decide you want more disk space or data transfer you can always upgrade your account to a higher level: www.marketingoasis.com.