11 Oct

How to choose a web host ?

Hello all

This is one of the common question, people ask me – How to choose a web host?

So now I am posting about choosing a right web host for small biz and mid scale business sites.

Unless you are about to use a really complicated script, there is no need to worry about versions of php and MySQL and other complex factors….

Selection criteria will be based on:

  • Web Space & Bandwidth
  • Reliability
  • Support
  • Type of access
  • Cost factor
  • Account limits

So here we go!

Web Space

Web space is NOT much big issue, but I still see people worrying about those.

Let’s see how:

an average page of a site these days weighs around 300KB (having little flash work and rest data and a few pics.) thus if we take average site up to 8 pages (common for a business site.) thus whole site data is about300 X 8 = 2400KB = 2.4MB

Now adding space for PDF Boucher’s, a few more heavy pages like company’s pics. and other product detailed reports; a few video’s etc…..all will hardly cross 50MB

let’s keep a little reserve scripts – 500MB will more then enough for blog, forum, and other similar scripts

Thus saying 1GB space is TOO much for a corporate site!

I just want to make a point to ignore “web space” factor unless space is less then 1GB, rest just consider other important factors

Then comes bandwidth, now that relies on visitors…lets try to calculate it also

average homepage size – 300KB and contact us page size – 100KB, average product detail pages – 500KB so we can assume here that 90% of visitors will go only through these pages

so 90% visitors will be using – 300+100+500×4 = 2.4MB of bandwidth….so now one can calculate based on that.

so 25GB bandwidth means 10,000+ visits which means 300+ visits a day…just for an average site

so here I just recommend considering your visitors and going with appropriate bandwidth and as for an average site, I personally feel 25GB is more then enough


This is an important concept which most of people miss out.

Reliability includes (but now limited to):

  • Type of Web Hosting company
    There can be lot of difference if you choose a reseller as your web host, sorry to say BUT mostly they have poor quality of everything (including support, servers, policies) and thus I do NOT recommend going with a reseller unless that is highly popular.
    Now e.g. as per this Hostgator, Dream Host etc are good BUT still host like Go daddy aren’t up to that level.
    So I just want to say preferably go with a Hosting “company” like thing rather then a “reseller”
    And ALWAYS make sure you are owner of domain. NEVER ever register your domain with a hosting company which doesn’t gives you access to domain control panel or doesn’t allow you to switch registrar. That’s the most common way in which people are trapped up!

  • Type of Hosting infrastructure. Again an important factor. It includes what type of setup your site is on….that might be a “single” server of a reseller OR a cluster of servers by a company like Dream Host.
    While the 1st one is HIGHLY unsecured (anytime your cPanel account could be hacked) and will suck out your hours to restore back your site.

  • Backups – find out if web host is giving free full backups or not. It is one of most important yet most ignored feature.

Check out for frequency of backups, checkout for cost of restoration of backups (it should be free or VERY low cost…) and also ask for time a host needs to restore backup.


This is the thing which you will find in most of articles on choosing a web host. Yea that’s true it’s important. Just consider the following things in support:

  • Should be quick (if replies after 24hrs, its almost useless)
  • Replies should me sensible.
  • Do not give much weightage to chat support, as instant solution to hosting queries is generally not possible. A 24/7/365 email support is good enough.
  • And as already stated MOST of “resellers” have poor support.

An interesting question here could be how to know (without purchasing!) a web host about its support!

So the best way out is…contact support with pre-sales queries about various things I had discussed here. If you get reply in 24hrs then it “could be” a good host but if it’s more then 24hrs then it “is” worst host!

Type of access:

It is important to know what type of access your web host will be giving to you. Check out with your host about:

  • Type of control panel (cPanel is best recommended for Linux but still control panels which hosts like dream host offer are also fine..)
  • Ask about Shell access (you might require them for some script work, etc)

Cost Factor:

Again one of fundamental most factors, here important is MOST of web host don’t give what you want. Let’s take example of Hostagator baby plan; I like it because of great speed servers, good support, no stupid limits. But can ANYONE from Hostgator could explain us which small business site need hundred GB’s of space, TB’s of bandwidth could be an exceptional case for some business BUT 600GB web space, does it makes ANY since when file hosting is not allowed, and you even can’t have more then one backup of your own cPanel account.

  • So it means you are paying $8-$9 per month for many resources which you will never use, so just keep that in mind. Don’t pay for 300GB when you need 1GB 🙂
  • Never have longtime contracts, 1year hosting contract is good enough, and do NOT think about those 5year stuff! yuk!
  • Make sure about things like domain transfer fees, cPanel account transfer fees, account restoration fees, etc

Account Limits:

There are some “heavily frustrating” things which just cause web host huge loss of customers and customers to just ignore that host.

Make sure about the following limits:

  • no. of sub-domains (must be unlimited or at least 50+)
  • no. of add-on and parked domains (must be 20+)
  • no. of MySQL databases – SHOULD be UNLIMITED!!!
  • no. of FTP accounts – should be unlimited
  • no. of auto responders, mailing lists etc in cPanel – should be unlimited
  • How much CPU resources you can use (including memory, processor load) and for how long? Typically it is 25% allowed maximum for 90 seconds. (if you have extensive scripting work, you must check it up with host)

I hope you will find this helpful 🙂


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