This article is useful for understanding the hosting industry and studies its dynamics to know what to look for before selecting a web host.
Firstly it is good to have a proper introduction of web hosting chain. It is termed as chain because here about 3 upstream providers serve the end consumer. First the web-hosting provider, who is in direct contact, then comes the web host’s upstream company who maintains the servers and sells space to web hosts, and above that, the data center that serves the purpose of providing the connection and houses the servers. There are some web hosts who act as the server administrator and liase with the data centers directly.
The growth of the web hosting industry in at saturation point due to the presence of hundreds of web-hosting providers claiming to provide cheaper and better services to businesses and individuals. The reason for this is the availability of resources in abundance and at cheaper costs with reducing disk space and data-transfer prices. Its easy to enter the web hosting business as there are large resellers of server space providing cheap hosting and reselling plans that provides ground to incomers to join the business.
Due to growing number of suppliers with cheaper reselling plans, more and more web hosting businesses are coming up providing web-hosting solutions to business and individual websites due to lower fixed costs and investment. Not only that this increase in supply is not caused by factors in any particular country. As Internet is not limited to the boundary of any country so the data centers present in any part of the world can easily provide the servers and web space for a local hosting company. Due to Internet it is easy to communicate to each other and providers can easily exchange their services in the global space.
Maintaining a proper balance between supply and demand is quite good for the customers. But imbalance has forced several new web-hosting providers to offer extremely low prices for their web hosting plans or packages in order to make them self stand in the tough market. Now it’s time for customers to choose the hosting providers having lowered prices from the vast number of providers.
However, continuous decrease in prices is quite disadvantageous for both the providers as well as the customers. By reduces prices, companies are able to earn nominal profit and are even not able to cover their support costs. Customers suffer by getting less support with their web-hosting accounts. It’s quite obvious if the profits do not justify the costs, web-hosting companies will easily close down and takes their clients’ sites with them.
The following are the factors to consider while choosing a web-hosting provider: -
The most important factor to consider is Support for any individual or small business looking for a web host for their websites. The Internet web-hosting provider who is unable to provide the facility of responding to emails within 24 hours is probably having problems providing fast and reliable support services. One can’t ignore the validity of these services especially for the beginners who needs guidance with publishing their websites on the web hosting account provided. The success of any web hosting business depends upon the relationships between web host and web hosting customers. To make business success, provider should be able to provide services when and where required also its crucial for customers to know when their site is going offline for sake of maintenance.
After support next important factor is Stability. It refers to how much uptime one can expect from the web-hosting provider, which in turn depends upon the providers’ servers and network. If the providers are not having reliable and stable providers, it would affect their servers and cause problems for the website. It is must to have an uptime of about 99.5% in the industry, as there are other external factors, which may be beyond control of the provider.
Third factor to consider is Cost which depends on the purpose of the website and budget. The budget may be smaller in case of Personal /Individual websites and so they opt to go with a cheaper web hosting provider, possibly in exchange for support and stability. But in case of business sites as they need better stability and support they opt for expensive host providers. It is most often observed that cheap web hosting providers are able to attract customers in the beginning by offering low prices but afterwards fails in providing quality support to their customers thereby creating problems for them. Also the large numbers of client sites cause sustained high server loads which leads to server crash thus hampering stability.
Another factor, which is not so important, is Location of the server. It is not considered important as it depends upon a user’s ISP/country’s connection to the data center where the server is located. Pings to the server normally tells the network latency to expect when people can access to one’s site. Lower ping rates leads to loading of site faster.
Last but not least one should take time to identify and contact a web host to check their service. This helps in providing an idea of the kind of support that one might receive and helps in deciding the reliability of the provider.