Choosing A Web Hosting Service for SEO Purpose

Choosing a hosting service is a critical step in setting up your Web site or Web business. You may be “married” to this service for a long time, and you may find unpleasant surprises when trying to port your site to a new Web host. A lot of UK businesses find it hard to find the best Hosting Service for their online business, here we are going to give you some tips on how to find the best Web Hosting which is SEO Friendly. Choose carefully. Some major criteria are

Price

Performance (Speed)

Reliability

Technical Support

Geographical location

Size limitations (bandwidth and files)

Business features

Technical Features

Hosting Prices — Hosting services can cost as little as $25 a year from companies like cleverdot.com, depending on how big your site will be and what features are needed. Prices vary among different companies, often with little justification. Some expensive packages may include many features you will never use. Try to buy only as much hosting as you are going to need, but beware of “hidden” costs, which may include penalty charges (or shutdown!) for exceeding bandwidth (too many downloads), or additional fees for services you need.

Speed — Web sites that load slowly lose visitors. If it takes a long time (more than a few seconds) to open the main page of the hosting company it is a really bad sign, and if hosted sites take a long time to load, you want to go elsewhere. A small hosting service with limited bandwidth capacity can become overloaded during peak hours or emergencies. Depending on your product or service, it may be critical to be able to reach people at those times.

Reliability — A good server is up 24X7.

Technical Support — Try to find out what sort of technical support and problem resolution facilities are available. Having 24X7 support by Web site or telephone may not be enough, if the staffers are not qualified to resolve your problem. It is best to speak to people who have used the

Geographical location — Search engines localize search results according to the geographic location of the user. If you are in the United States, you may get different results for a search word than you will get in Hong Kong or London. One of the criteria for deciding this localization is the location of the Web host, based on its IP (Internet Protocol) address. If you want to reach a particular geographical market, it may be advantageous to have a host server in that area. Keep in mind that most Internet visitors, the largest market, is the USA. Of course, there is also an advantage to having a hosting company close by, that you can visit.

Total Disk Space — Different hosting packages provide different amounts of total disk space, ranging from 10 MB to hundreds of GB. The average Web page is probably about 25- 50 KB. Keep in mind that your space needs will probably grow even if you are planning for a small site. If you want your Web site to be seen, and have a reasonably size business, you will probably need a minimum of 500 pages and may need as many as 5,000 or 10,000. For example, a little health foods store might have a hundred pages, each describing a product, but it might also want to have a community Web site about nutrition and a Web log with articles and materials that support the products it sells, not necessarily under the same Web domain address. Make sure that the upgrade path is painless and inexpensive.

Bandwidth — A reasonably sized Web site will use about 3 GB of bandwidth a month, but this can grow very quickly. For example, if you have 100,000 visitors a month, and each one views 2 50 KB Web pages that is 10,000,000 KB or 10 GB. Of course, if each visitor is downloading large software files, white paper documents in PDF or large Flash files, the bandwidth demand will be higher. Be aware also that various Web spider “robots” may access your site, either legitimately to extract information for search engines, or to try to “hack” your site in various ways. This can take up bandwidth that you didn’t plan for. Make sure you have a robots.txt file at your site, as lack of such a file can cause an infinite loop in some spiders, registering huge amounts of worthless download.

When choosing a host and hosting plan, make sure that the bandwidth allowance is adequate for your needs, that penalties for exceeding the bandwidth limit are not excessive, and that there is an inexpensive upgrade path. $5 a year hosting for 10 MB of Disk space and half a GB of bandwidth per month is NOT a bargain, if you pay $50 a GB for exceeding bandwidth.

Business features — If you are going to sell products online, the hosting service should support SSL (secure sockets layer) and https pages, and should provide you with the ability to set up your own online shopping cart and credit card acceptance pages. You will probably also want your own email addresses at your domain, and pop3 and SMTP services that you can use through your own email program to receive and send mail. Configurable autoresponders may also be very important for business sites. You may also want a mailing list service that allows you to compose emails advertising your products and information and send them to all or selected recipients in a database you have compiled. You will also want need access to a database such as MYSQL that can be used for the shopping cart, product catalogues, tracking of orders and tracking of sales prospects.

Technical Features -

FTP — Every Web host should provide an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) service that is fast, works 24X7 and is easy to set up. FTP is a standard protocol that should work with any FTP client software, but not all FTP services implement the entire protocol or implement it correctly, and tracking down mysterious errors can be a maddening waste of time.

Free online html editors — These online editors are often offered as a gimmick by Web hosting companies. They may be useful for beginners. If you are serious about your Web site, you are going to use a serious off-line html editor and you won’t bother with the online editor.

Statistics Package — Almost every Web host offers a statistics package, but these are of varying usefulness and accuracy. The best packages provide counts of unique visitors and usually require that a Javascript reference be included in each page of your site. Urchin software is one example of a such a service. The statistics package should provide detailed histories, data about accesses to each page, origin of visitor according to IP address, keywords used to find the site at search engines, tracking of visitor paths through the site and similar information. At least, the package should be able to distinguish actual visits from more or less spurious measures such as “sessions” and “hits,” and preferably should be able to tell you if the “visit” was from a person or a search engine robot.

Dashboard Panel — A “dashboard” panel should provide you with easy access to many online facilities such as MYSQL database, the robots.txt file and .htaccess file configuration. At minimum, it should allow you to set up your email addresses, change password, and configure the name of the default file for your Web site.

FrontPage extensions — If you use Microsoft™ FrontPage or Microsoft Web Designer™ and you intend to use any of the front page extensions, be sure that the hosting service supports them. Though Frontpage is a Microsoft product, Frontpage extensions are supported by some Unix-based Web sites

MYSQL — MYSQL is a standard Web database. Unless the server is set up for easy access to MYSQL, you will find it difficult to run may applications such as Web logs, external shopping carts etc.

asp — ASP is a powerful language developed for Microsoft Windows. Usually it will require hosting on a Windows operating system rather than a unix (Apache, Unix, Linux, etc.) but there are Unix-hosted sites that support asp.

cgi — Most sites use cgi for various purposes. The hosting service must allow you to access the cgi directory. Some hosts also provide a number of standard cgi scripts that you can include in your site such as simple contact forms.

php — There are numerous PHP applications that might be used for syndication, Content Managing Systems, Web logs, online surveys, customizing Web pages presented to visitors and many other purposes. One disadvantage of PHP is that it is vulnerable to malicious hacking. The service must provide a recent version of php and it must be protected against hacking. You need to be able to know where the php include file are and other technical information that might be needed by your technical people for writing installing scripts.

Perl — Perl is another popular language for various Web applications that must be supported by a good hosting service, in a recent implementation.

Telnet/SSH — These protocols may be needed for special purposes such as maintaining databases, testing programs etc. Telnet is now more or less superseded by more secure protocols like socat.

crontabs — Cron scripts in Unix-based systems allow you to perform periodic daily tasks. You may need them for sending daily email alerts, updating site contents and other uses. Access to the scripting facility is handy to have, but not usually essential.

Domains and subdomains — You may or may not need to have hosting for more than one domain or subdomain. If you are selling sneakers, health foods, Catholic art and Jewish religious objects, you probably need several different domain names. Some hosting plans include multiple domain names. Multiple subdomains like yoursubdomain.mydomain.com and theirsubdomain.mydomain.com are more frequently included in hosting plans, but they are not as useful.

Reseller or owner?

Many small “hosting companies” do not own their own equipment, but rather buy space and bandwidth from larger companies. They may offer plans that are better suited to your needs, but generally it is better to deal with a company that actually controls their own equipment, and can regulate bandwidth and ensure that the hardware and software are always working properly.

Reviews and Comparisons

There are a number of Web pages that provide free online comparisons and reviews of Web hosting services. It is a good idea to shop around and compare and also to check if there are really negative reviews of a host you have chosen. Examples of such sites are:

www.hostcompare.com

www.findmyhosting.com

www.comparewebhosts.com

www.webhostingratings.com

www.networksolutions.com/web-hosting/compare.jsp

Of course, if you can get recommendations from people who use a hosting service that is also very helpful.

This article is for education purpose and is mainly written to give advice’s to businesses on how to find the best hosting solution. I’m an SEO Expert at SEO Visible who offers their services for seo in kent, london, sussex and all over UK.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Genc R. Arifi’s story.