If you’ve been running your own website for a while, then it might be worth taking a closer look at your web host and make sure that everything is up to scratch, and that you are getting the service that you’ve signed up for.
There are hundreds of different web hosts operating from all over the world, each offering their own range of hosting solutions. A web host has the ability to set limitations on all types of hosting accounts, which is why you’ll have noticed that there are a different range of hosting available, from shared hosting, to VPS (virtual private servers) and dedicated servers.
The host is in charge
The features made available, and any limitations put onto the resources, are all at the hands of the web host. It is their services that they are selling, so it’s more than fair that they control what they offer to clients.
If a web host wants to limit the amount of disc space on a shared hosting account to just 1GB per account, then it’s well within their rights to do so. On the flipside, if a web host wants to offer unlimited disc space, then that’s their decision as well.
There will always be terms and conditions to read and agree with when you sign up for a web host, and there are a number of things that lots of hosts will not want on their servers, such as pirated software, music and movies, as well as forms of pornography and other things that people might find offensive.
Finding a reliable host
If you are looking to sign up for a new web host, then you really need to spend some time researching potential hosts, and comparing the hosting options that they have available.
For an easy to follow comparison between some of the most popular web hosts in the world, head to the Fortune Lords blog, and take a look at some of their very informative articles. They can help when it comes to making your final decision of which web host to use.
Choosing the type of hosting best suited for you
The three main types of hosting are shared, VPS or a dedicated server. Shared hosting is the most popular by far, as it is a lot cheaper than the other options, and also doesn’t require you to have any technical knowledge or experience with servers.
You will be provided with an easy to use control panel, which you’ll use to manage all aspects of your hosting account. Shared hosting is when a web host shares the resources on their servers, and creates various hosting packages with varying amounts of disc space, data transfer and other features.
In most cases, you’ll be using cPanel, which is the most popular hosting management system, and one that is packed full of great features, as well as being relatively easy to use.
Have you noticed a difference in your site’s performance?
Web servers are fragile things, and can be affected by a number of different factors. If you are using shared hosting, then you might experience moments when your site is slow to load, and you also have issues with your email, as well as opening your control panel for the hosting.
There are many reasons why this can occur, with the most common being that the servers resources are being stretched and used by too many people.
Shared hosting will sometimes have hundreds, if not thousands of users, all on the same server sharing the resources such as processing power. If just a few clients on this server start abusing the resources, either through bad script or code on their website, or maybe for malicious reasons such as to send out huge amounts of spam, then everyone on that server is going to feel the effect.
Contacting your host about problems
If you are experiencing such problems, then it’s vital that you get in contact with your web host and explain the problem to them. In most cases, it is a single user that is hogging all of the resources, and they will usually suspend that account, thus bringing everything back to normal.
However there may be times when problems are not caused by any clients, but by the servers themselves. They may have hardware issues, outdated software or operating systems, or are just in need of some maintenance. Whatever the reason, it’s something that the host should be taking care of as soon as it’s brought to their attention.
If you’ve noticed that your website is down and offline frequently, then this is something you need to bring up with your host. Most web hosts will offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and some hosts will even compensate you if your website is down for prolonged periods of time.
When you signed up for the hosting account, you did so in good faith, and in return, expected a certain quality of service for the hosting of your website. If you are not getting the service that you signed up for, you need to make your host aware of this.
The worst thing for a website is for it to be constantly offline. This can cause your business a lot of problems if clients try to visit the site and find it is always unavailable. You could also have problems with Google who may have difficulty crawling your website, and thus believe it’s no longer active.
Most web hosts will offer a high quality of service. They pride themselves on the service they provide clients, especially the smaller, independent web hosts, who you will come across. A lot of the time, problems of a serious nature occur with the more larger, well-known hosts, who have a large number of servers to run and manage.
A lot of people have commented that their experiences with small, independent web hosts are always much better when using a larger company. They get a much better level of support, and problems are always solved much quicker.
At the end of the day, whichever host you sign up with is your decision, but it’s important from time to time to check that you are getting the server that you signed up for and are getting value for money. If not, then it’s time you seriously look to consider switching hosts to someone a little more reliable.