What you need to know about cheap web hosting
There are literally thousands of hosting companies selling cheap hosting plans. How can you tell the difference between a good host and a bad host?
- First, check out the server downtime. Your host should have a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% or more. Obviously if your host server is down, so is your website, so make sure you're hosting on a reliable server. But note that even an uptime of 99.999% can still have more than 8 hours of server downtime over the course of a year!
- You will also want to find out how long the company has been in business. A cheap web hosting plan is only as good as the company it's hosted with, so look for a company that has a proven track record of at least a few years in the business.
- Make sure your hosting package has plenty of server space for your files. With the increasing popularity of online video, you want enough disk space to hold all your files.
- How many email accounts do you need? Make sure your host provides enough room for adding additional email addresses as your website or business grows.
- With a new website, you don't really have any idea how much bandwith you'll need, but make sure your plan allows plenty of bandwidth for your needs. If you're serving large files, downloads, or videos, an unlimited bandwidth account is a necessity.
- Is your website an e-commerce site? If so, make sure every cheap hosting plan you look at has the capability for SSL or Secure Socket Layers. If your host provides built-in shopping cart or merchant account services, you could save some money rather than having to purchase them separately.
- Most cheap hosting plans are Linux servers running Apache and PHP. If your website is developed in ASP or some other Windows scripting language, then you need to find a hosting plan for Windows, not Linux. These plans are slightly more expensive than regular cheap hosting accounts due to the software requirements (and fees paid to Microsoft).
- You will want to make sure your hosting account gives you access to the backend of your account through either cPanel or Plesk. Both of these interfaces allow you to configure much of how your account works, within the parameters of a shared hosting account.
- Lastly and most importantly, good support is essential for having success with a low-cost hosting account. All the companies listed above are known for having excellent tech support in case you run into an issue. There's nothing more frustrating than having to talk to foreign tech support and explain your problem only to receive a response in broken English. Make sure your new web host has multiple ways to contact support including phone, email, live chat, support forums and other methods.