You must know your needs before you buy from a web host. Why do you buy a web hosting service? Because you need to store web pages and to store web pages, you need disk space. Before choosing any web host, you need to consider disk space a host is providing, bandwidth, databases, FTP accounts, email addresses (POP accounts), web based email interface, dedicated IP, control panel, add multiple domains and websites, SFTP, shell access, email filters, email aliases, auto responders, PHP 5, CGI scripts, graphical statistics, with and with out www URLs, .htaccess control, Java SDK, mod_rewrite, access to log files, access to script errors, set up account within 24 hour, 24×7 support, automated monitoring, value added services, 99.9% up time, satisfaction guarantee of 60 days, high speed network, customized 404 etc.
Among all these, two essential capabilities are the disk space the host is providing and the bandwidth it is offering. The amount of disk space required depends upon the number of files you have. Remember! All files, images, sounds, emails etc. Most of the web sites use reusability of the header images to save the disk space. It means you need to store logo file once on the disk space and it will be reused on all pages. Similarly, many scripts are reusable to save the disk space. Most of the websites on the Internet use less than 10 MB of the disk space.
The other essential capability you should consider is the bandwidth or traffic. A small website could consume 1GB-5GB of disk space/month. It is easy to calculate the bandwidth. One is average size of the page and other is total page views in a month. Lets say your average page size is 20KB and you get 20,000 hits per month then you can apply the following formula to calculate traffic: –
Traffic= (Average page size/1000)* Total page views
Traffic= (20/1000)* 20,000
The check list for you before signing up with any web host, one is to check is there any restrictions on monthly transfers. Remember, you need to upload and download the pages many times per month. The word “unlimited” is a marketing term used by hosting companies. Does the host close your website if you exceed the limit? Whether they bill you for extra usage? Can you upgrade to better package easily?
The third option, not considered by most of the people, is the connection speed of the network the host is using. Before you buy a hosting package, surf the websites hosted by the same host and check the network speed. You can also contact other customers and get an opinion about the service.
Another service a host must provide is online support. Must check whether the Support Engineers respond you quickly? A very good example you can consider is of Godaddy. Godaddy is a very good domain name registrar but not a good hosting provider because their online customer support is not up to the standard. If you call to their agents, they respond well and solve the problem but if you contact them via email, God knows whether they check customer emails of not.
Before choosing any web hosting provider, you must consider four essential services a web host provides. These are the disk space, traffic or bandwidth, connection speed and online support.