Web Hosting - What Does Your Site Really Need?

Submitted by Justin Whelan | Category: Web Hosting | Published on Nov 29, 2007
Looking at buying some web space but don't unsure what to look for? Does the amount of bandwidth and diskspace prove confusing? Or are you simply looking to find out what a website really needs? Look no further.
Diskspace Most hosting providers display large amounts of disk space as an attractive incentive in an attempt to catch your eye. This can mean that normal home packages come with vast amounts of space in the tens of Gb range. This is simply not a realistic amount. Most websites range from between 2-20Mb, not Gb. You may use more space if you are uploading vast amounts of pictures, but even then, 200 JPEG images will still come in less than 70Mb. This means that if your hosting package is providing you with 1500Mb diskspace you will only ever use 10% of that space and the remaining 90% is still available to the hosting provider to sell to someone else. Some providers also offer unlimited disk space. Unfortunately this is normally far from the truth. Please see the Unlimited section at the end of this article for more information. Bandwidth This is extremely similar to the Diskspace. Again, hosting providers entice you in by increasing the bandwidth offered and only marginally increasing the price each time. After doing some research into this area I found that from the 5 websites I investigated the averages were as follows: Number of unique visits: 1338 Pages viewed: 46399 Number of hits: 205003 Bandwidth used: 2.28Gb The websites investigated were all paying extra for bandwidth as they were running small online businesses. When they initially purchased their hosting they were advised to take the 40Gb a month bandwidth option over the cheaper 20Gb a month option. Now, after examining their log files we can see that even 20Gb is more than sufficient unless their small companies traffic increases by a factor of 10. So, unless you are planning an extremely active forum or plan to have around 1000 unique visitors per day, you are definitely better of asking similar websites to the one you are hosting just exactly how much bandwidth they use per month before paying for more than you will ever use. And remember, if you ever use more than you are allocated, the hosting companies will be more than happy to increase your bandwidth at any time during your contract. Again, unlimited bandwidth is often offered. Please see the section below reference 'unlimited' offers. Additional Packages Another frequently employed tactic is to offer Open Source packages (such as some e-commerce packages, Content management systems etc) and make the customer pay extra for them to 'appear in the control panel' with an easy to use installer. Now, if you have no idea how these packages work then this isn't a bad idea. However, if you do know how the packages work then it would probably take you less than 30 minutes to download the package, configure it to your needs and then upload it to your webspace ready for your users/customers to use. The only advice I can really offer in this regard is, if you are thinking of purchasing the package from your hosting provider ask them the names of the products they supply and look around the internet to see if the package is open source and whether you can find a script or installation guide. If you can, do it yourself and save yourself the money! 'Unlimited' Offers Unfortunately, no hosting company can ever provide unlimited space or bandwidth. This is because bandwidth is simply to much of a valuable commodity to have it all taken up by individual customers. There are also far too many external factors that are outside of the hosting companies control. Factors such as local network conditions, actual network throughput and even network congestion due to volume of internet traffic mean that there are times when your website could become in-accessible through no fault of your hosting provider. As the internet becomes more and more congested the ISP's that supply the backbone infrastructure look towards different ways of using the congestion to make money. Recently ISP's have been looking towards websites to pay for extra privileges (ie faster access). If this becomes reallity then websites that want more bandwidth may find themselves paying the hosting company for the bandwidth AND the ISP's an extra fee to ensure they are getting the fastest possible access. Justin Whelan Web design Specialist Customizeable hosting Solutions


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