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With so many web hosts out there how do you even start to compare? I know one site that I visit to review hosting companies they have 403 pages of sites and 10 sites per page, that is 4,030 hosting companies and I know they don’t have them all there are a few I know not on the list. This week I want to give you some tools to help you start to compare the hosts you are looking at side by side.
This is part two in a three part series all about finding a good web host. Last week you learned some basics in the lingo used by hosting sites. Please make sure you didn’t miss it!
Comparing Side by Side
When you are going to compare hosting you are thrown a lot of freebies and extras, but this makes it even harder to tell what you are really going to need and what the important features are. I’m going to give you a spreadsheet you can use to write down each host and compare the options side by side. On this sheet you will find 10 items to use to compare each host.
Cost per Year
Make sure and find out what it will cost for just 1 year of service. I usually recommend when you are just starting or switching to a new host just do one year. You may find that the host you chose isn’t right for you and you do not want to be stuck in a 3 year contract. Click through make sure the price they are advertising is only for one year.
Break this down to MB (if they offer 10GB that equals 10,000MB of Disk Space) if every site you are looking at is offering space calculated into GB you don’t have to convert this.
It is best to have this converted into GB, most hosts you are looking at should have 1 GB of data transfer or more.
How many domains are you allowed on the Package you are looking at? How many domains do you really need? If they are offering a package with 10 domains and one with a 100 if you are only going to have 1 domain this really doesn’t make a difference for you.
How many email accounts are you allowed? Same as domains how many emails do you really need? I recommend having at least one or two but do you think you would really use 100?
How many My SQL databases are you allowed? This is important if you are going to use a blogging software on your site or are going to use any scripts on your site. Even if you are going to just host a blog on your site you may still want more than 1 MySQL database because sometime in the future you may want to add a script or other software on your site. Really more is better but you will probably not need 100s of databases.
Easy to Use Control Panel
I put this on the spread sheet because this is really important for you or your web designer. If you can try a demo of the control panel the host uses that would be great. One control panel that I tend to like is Cpanel, but then this is the one I have been using for years.
PHP is one of the most used specialty languages used in web design besides HTML, XHTML and CSS. You want PHP5 available to use for any kind of scripts or web software on your site you will need these. There are lots more languages that you may or may not want or need, but this one is very important. If you are going to be hiring a web designer ask them which languages they recommend your host having. I have not seen a host not have this option but it is always good to make sure.
FTP Access or Accounts
Make sure that you are allowed at least one FTP Account. This is used by your web designer or you once you are comfortable to update and edit your website.
This one will be a little harder to find the info on because each host may use a different program to install scripts. One of my favorites is Fantastico. You may just have to look through there features to find if they offer something to install WordPress or another script you are looking at. Or you can jump on the hosts live chat and ask them if they have a script installer (you can even say like fantastico). But most hosts also have this feature so don’t be in awe because they install WP for you, this is pretty normal.
Now it’s time to use this spreadsheet I would find 5 hosts that fit what you need. Fill out their name and the package you are looking at and the details for each package. Now you can see who has the best price, but you don’t always want the best price you want the the best host for the price. This next step is crucial, but you will have join me next week as we talk about finding and using user reviews.
What are some of the things you are struggling with as you research hosting companies? Is there something more you would like to know more about? Please let me know in the comments!
Continue in the series:
- How to Research Web Hosting: The Lingo
- How to Research Web Hosting: Side by Side (current)
- How to Research Web Hosting: Finding Reviews