A website is a crucial part of any business’ operations, and the technologies and services you choose will have a major impact on its success. A poor performing site is almost as bad as having no site at all, so you must choose the right web hosting service carefully.
The web hosting platform
Aside from running your own webserver (a complex task that we wouldn’t advise if this is your first website), the two main choices of platform are Microsoft Windows and Linux. Windows hosting packages are usually the more expensive choice due to the associated licensing fees.
Linux on the other hand is generally more cost effective, flexible and less administratively demanding. Once your hosting package is set up by your ISP, there is rarely any call for additional configuration.
Almost every provider offers a range of packages – including Broadband Cloud Solutions – to best meet your needs. A basic, entry-level service typically includes a small amount of disk space, access to a database engine (vital for the content management system that ‘runs’ the site), and a limited amount of web traffic – just like your mobile phone contract.
An intermediate package is usually very similar, offering more storage, databases and traffic, with a view to meeting the demands of a moderately busy website. Finally, the top level package is aimed at enterprise-grade sites, offering unlimited web space, database storage and network traffic.
For businesses starting their first site, the entry level package is enough to begin with – or an intermediate package if you are convinced the site will be instantly successful. If you do find that you hit capacity too quickly, your ISP will usually help you upgrade your package seamlessly, so you can keep delivering a great experience to visitors.
The availability of your website is now critical. People are almost constantly connected to the Internet, and they expect sites and services to be available whenever they want. So a website outage almost certainly results in lost sales – and visitors who never come back.
When choosing a web host, always ask to see details of their service availability – also known as “up time”. Ideally you are looking for a provide who consistently delivers 99.9% or higher. Such services may cost slightly more, but the advantages should pay for themselves.
The speed at which your web pages load is as important as their availability. Expectations of immediate availability means that your customers will typically wait no longer than a few seconds for each page to load. If the site takes too long to load, those customers will simply go elsewhere – almost certainly to a competitor. Worse still, they don’t tend to come back.
Always ask a prospective host about network connectivity at their data centres, and how bandwidth is shared between customers. You need to be sure that your site has a fair share, and that the base speed of the connection is as fast as possible.
To learn more about your web hosting options and how Broadband Cloud Solutions can help you miss common pitfalls, please get in touch.
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