Web Host: Choosing a web host


Feb 13, 2004
Olate submitted a new Article:

Web Host: Choosing a web host

Choosing a web host

Originally posted on my site - http://www.olate.com

Every website needs to have a host to store the files on, and serve the web pages. However, in the current market, it can be very difficult to choose the right host for you with thousands of companies all trying to get your money. Different companies offer different services at different prices - but what do all these options mean and what should you ask the prospective company?

A web hosting company, or host, is a company that owns or maintains a number of servers which paying customers can rent space on. These servers are usually located in a large data centre with many protection features like air conditioning, backup power and security systems to name a few. Each server is connected to the internet via a large backbone usually provided by a large telecoms provider such as BT or Telewest (in the UK). The servers ‘serve’ the content stored on them to internet users when they request the pages stored on that server.

Most web hosts provide two core services – shared, or virtual hosting, and dedicated hosting. The shared hosting is where you rent space on a server which also has the files for many other websites on. You are sharing the bandwidth and processing power of the server with other paying customers. This is the most common type of hosting and it relatively cheap. On the other hand, if you have a large website, you can purchase a dedicated server where you own the entire server and you have direct control over it. That means only your site has to be stored on it and you don’t need to share it.

I am going to deal with both type of hosting individually:

Shared Hosting:

When choosing a shared hosting plan from a company, you want to make sure that it provides more than you need. If you buy a package that has just what you need, the chances are that you will go over and end up paying more. You should look in the features list and search for features like how many POP3 mailboxes you get, if you can have e-mail aliasing, FTP access, how much diskspace you get and how much bandwidth you get. Added bonuses would include SSL, scripting features, databases etc. Don’t be fooled by the look of high bandwidth or diskspace – many websites only use a few megabytes of space, the entire Olate site, for example (excluding the database) is only 4.7Mb! Bandwidth is also an important aspect to consider. If you are...

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Beanie and Shades
Feb 18, 2004
Very good article.

I would like, however, to point out that an SLA does not automatically come with a dedicated servers.
And some hosts will offer a ridiculously low compensation when/if they honor their SLA. Some companies will just lie to you and never pay a cent.
In a nutshell: SLA do not protect you.

A third option is to get a virtual dedicated server (VDS or VPS). You get the benefits or a root account at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server.