Searching for that heavenly host

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Web marketing | 2 Comments

If you are thinking about a new website then it pays to think about where it is going to live. Hosting is very important and only should be handled by experts who can offer 24-hour back up. That’s why we at GeordieMac don’t offer our clients hosting in house. We are a small business and can’t offer round the clock help.

In the unlikely event that something should go wrong with your emails, your site goes off line, or you need all-important technical assistance at a moment’s notice you need to know that someone will always be there. So chose your host with care.

Over the years we’ve worked with several different hosts and there are some that we would recommend and others we wouldn’t. So what should you look for when choosing who will host your website?

  • First I would look for a host that you can ring up and talk to. Try calling their service line and see what happens. Are they friendly? Do they know what they are talking about? Can you send them an email if you need to? You should also look to see if they have online documentation that you can turn to if you need help with common problems/questions.
  • Check that the host offers the kind of hosting you require. For example, a WordPress site will need Linux hosting. And if you plan to include a lot of multimedia files in your site – images, audio, video – ask if there will be server space for this.
  • Look at bandwidth. This will be crucial if you are expecting a lot of visitors or expect people to download files from the site.
  • Does the host handle domain name purchase and management? It is so much easier if they do, and usually cheaper when hosting and domain names come as a package.
  • Ask how many email addresses are included. You’ll want at least five included in the price to give you some kind of flexibility. Avoid deals that just include one, and check data limits. I would expect to send and receive emails of up to 10MB. Anything less can be very limiting if you are used to getting lots of attachments.
  • Consider cost but don’t be swayed by seemingly bargain offers. Avoid any host that charges per month, particularly if they want to set up a direct debit from your credit card. These deals are never as good as they look and perilously difficult to get out of once you are in. Any reputable company will charge you on an annual basis and I think £45-£60 a year for hosting and email is a good price for a basic package.

PS The gratuitous pic is Salisbury Crags in the park opposite our office, taken with the hipstamatic app on my phone. Nice, eh?

2 Comments

  1. David Cole
    25/04/2012

    Hi guys,

    I’d be really interested to hear what hosts you’ve had good and bad experiences with, as finding genuinely good web hosts can be tricky.

    Apart from that, I have to take issue with one of your points:

    “Avoid any host that charges per month”

    You must have based this on a bad experience with one web host, as honesty this is nonsense (sorry!) Paying monthly gives you the flexibility to leave your contract at any time and has nothing to do with the quality or ethics of the hosting company, unless you’ve signed up with a bad web host, in which case they’ll be a bad host whether you pay monthly or annually.

    You also haven’t discussed the differenced between the various main types of hosting: ie. shared, dedicated, virtual dedicated, cloud etc., which I think is one of the first decisions you need to make.

    (I’m a fellow Edinburgh web developer who’s happy to share his experiences – just holler)

  2. Jane-Ann
    25/04/2012

    It’s more the direct debit to credit card monthly that I take exception with, and a client had a very bad experience with that. But thanks for your input, very welcome.

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