How to choose a web hosting company

If there is one thing you can’t do without when creating your website, it’s the web hosting of it. Here is an article that I hope will enlighten you and if it’s still unclear, please contact Made By You to help you in this process.

Some vocabulary

Web hosting: It’s like the warehouse which house your server or your – hard – drive space.

Server : It’s like your computer but, in a way, much bigger and more powerful !

Shared server : a server and its space are used by several users (particular or companies). It’s the solution for particular or the very little/mid-size companies which don’t have a lot of traffic. To popularize, it’s like shared bikes like Ofo.

Dedicated server : a server and its space are bought or rented by a company or a particular. It’s dedicated to web site which browse a huge amount of traffic and want a lot of resources (like a e-commerce website with lot of good quality pictures). Basically, it’s your own bike.

Domain name : the domain is, to schematize, a group of computers with a common factor (.fr for website which the common point is to be french or .com.sg for international websites with an entity at Singapore). It’s a convention, not an obligation : you can be in France and have a website ending with .com.

Domain names has been created to remember a website more easily. As a matter of fact, an URL of a website (address), without domain name, looks like to 165.67.224.192. Not so pretty and hard to remember, isn’t it?

Domain name are just a « marketing » translation, to popularize, of the IP address : a « myawesomewebsite.com » is easier than « 165.67.224.192 ».

FTP Access (File Transfer Protocol) : To make it easy, it aims to permit the exchange and the sending of files from your local computer to your distant server.

SSL certificate : To schematise, it’s a fichier which going to encrypt all the sensible information on your website including the users datas (passwords, bank details…) You know when a website have a SSL certificate when you see a little lock near the website URL bar of your browser. Your address also has an https instead of http.

SSD drive : remember, in your old computer, you had hard disc (I don’t know why I’m speaking in the past…). This hard disc drive – or hdd – is a mecanical data storage. It’s like you have a turntable in a box with a needle which engrave or read the datas. There are several speeds of rotation.

In a SSD disc, there are no disc, no needle. It’s like the memory stick of your camera but more bigger : it’s flash memory. The big advantage is that since there is no rotation, the access to the data and writing is faster.

For instance, a computer with SSD drive will turn on faster than a HDD one.

Database : Imagine you have a shop in which customers come and buy your products. For each of your client, you have a file with their names, date of birth and, for example, their favorite products… You store these datas on record cards, Excel file or a dedicated software.

The database is the same thing but in computer language. It’s a container which “contains” tables in which there are data. Each table can interact with other tables (“Client” table will be linked to “Product” table) to link datas (John likes the product “lavender soap”).

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Well, let’s get serious !

Criterias to pay attention to

When you choose a web hosting company, you have to pay attention to some things.

Technical assistance

Nobody likes to fight on phone or by mail with a customer service. To avoid to pulling your hair out, check is the hosting company you target has a reactive technical assistance. If there is an issue and your website isn’t reachable during this time, every minutes counts. Online chat is a good gauge.

Do not be fooled, even the best hosts can have problems. How to know that ? Read the user testimonials and above all the general condition of sales to know if they have penalties in case of breach of their commitment (for instance, if they agree to answer within 2 hours and they do not, you can ask for compensation).

Security

It is still sensitive data especially if it is a site with a customer database. Check if the web hosting company make backups of your website (I advise to do on your own too, you can never be too careful !) and if the data are well encrypted. Finally, you can inquire about the data center. The center have to be well secured with enough air-con (yes it’s not an eco-friendly area, these little beasties tend to drop when it’s overheating) and a power generator.

Check also if the web hostings offers a – free – SSL certificate, it’s better than nothing. This is essential if you want to manage customers.

Maintenance and evolution

If the administration interface is a real labyrinthine and you have to contact the technical support at each modification, it will be quickly annoying. Try to see if the ergonomics and the admin interface is well made and intuitive especially your level in this area.

Other features

Web hosting company will suggest you many options : antivirus, antispam, 1-click module (like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla), newsletter sendings or FTP access.
Many of them are optional. Some are free, others note and all aren’t essential. What I think useful could be FTP access (in fact it is essential), the 1-click module if you want to manage your site in WordPress for example and the SSL certificate.

Age, notoriety of the web hosting and server location

So usually, I’m not pro-brand but when it comes to personal and sensitive data, you have to think twice. Would not you like to entrust your baby to anyone? Here it is the same.

Instead, bet on a safe company rather than a young and hipster company.

Depending on the location, it may be that, if you are abroad, the displaying times are longer (depending on the size and activity of your site). If, for example, you are in Singapore and your web hosting is in France (like Made By You), the displaying times may be longer.

If you have an e-commerce or photographer site, this point have to be considered: you would like to have quality pictures and so this can, of course, take longer to load. Do not worsen the case with a server too remote.

Storage

Depending on your activity, you will need more or less storage. For example, if you have an e-commerce site, you will need a large storage. Conversely, if you have a showcase site, you will not need a terabyte (1024 GB) of storage.

In addition, try to find out what physical storage your data is stored on. I think now most hosts have invested in SSD hard drives. If so, disk access will be faster and access to information is faster.

Some PROVIDERS

This is not an exhaustive list but here are the best known hosts (as of September 2018). This is my own interpretation.

I will not list the strengths and weaknesses because I could not personally test all providers. I would not be legitimate.

 

OVH 1&1 GoDaddy Vodien Infomaniak
Best Seller Offre Pro Unlimited Plus Formule Deluxe (shared) Web expert Customisable offer
Nationality France Germany USA Singapore Switzerland
Servers location 18 in Europe, 7 in North America, 1 in Singapore et 1 in Australia Europe and USA USA New-York, Perth, Hong Kong, Singapore Switzerland
Domain name Free the first year Free the first year Included in annual plan To buy on the same website To buy on the same website
1-click module Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price of shared server (cheaper offer) 10SGD on average. – 7€ /month 8SGD on average. – 4,99€ (then 8,99€) / month 8SGD on average. – 4,79€ (then 11€) / month 10SGD – 7€ on average / month from 10SGD on average – 5,75€/month
Amount and size of database * 3 x 400Mb 1 x 2Gb Unlimited x 1 Gb 25 x 1Gb 5 x ?Gb
Amount of website * 10 Unlimited 1 5 20
SSL certificate * Unlimited Included Unlimited Included Free
Storage capacity * 250 Gb 100 Gb 5Gb 100 Gb
FTP access * OK OK OK OK OK
Mail box  * 100 Unlimited 1 pro free the first year 10 25

*details on the cheaper offer

I hope I help you to see clearer in this technical nebula.

Has that enlightened you?

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