Website Hosting Parameters
Choosing a website
hosting company process
Free Website Hosting
• Operating system
• Site load speed
– MySQL, Access, MsSQL
– PHP, ASP, JSP
• Control panel
• Website statistics
There are two main operating systems for internet servers – Windows and
Linux. Hosting on Linux servers is more reliable and cheaper. On the
other hand, Windows has the advantage of supporting ASP, .NET and also
PHP. You can see a survey of servers worldwide at Netcraft – web server survey
Site Load Speed
Will your visitors wait 10 seconds between pages? I don't think so!
Your site load speed is a very important parameter in marketing your
site and in getting the results you expect from the site. Today,
internet users don't have the patience to wait. They want a response
and fast! A fast response speed shows professionalism and gives your
site visitors a pleasant surfing experience.
your load speed depend on?
• The communication lines to the server and the
amount of traffic on them. In
general it is best to host on a server located as close as possible to
your target audience.
• Server load – how many processes are waiting at any
moment to be performed by the processor. This has nothing to do with
the number of sites on the server but rather on the load these sites
cause. This data can be viewed in some control panels.
• Size of the page.
• How the site is designed (use of CSS).
How to check
the site load speed?
• Ask the provider what the average server load value
and the maximum server load value were during the past month. A load of
more than 2 is too much.
• Another way is to send a "ping" to different
hosting companies' servers and compare the results.
• Find sites hosted on a company's servers (through a
list of recommended sites or by asking customer support) and ask them
to load a 10MB test file for you. Download the file and see the rate.
• Use TraceRt
performance test to compare between hosts.
More details can be found in Monitor your website
Try sending an email. Try the chat. Visit the site on different days
and at different times to see if the chat is active. It is also worth
your while to try calling to ask questions.
Reliability is composed of a couple of factors:
• Security – protection against hackers and viruses.
There are companies that suffer from attacks for numerous
reasons, stay away from them. You should ask if the company has been
attacked in the past and what were the results.
• Backup – Make sure there is a backup. Check to see
how much it will cost to reconstruct if there is a failure.
• Good server farm.
In order to receive good service, the hosting companies must be able to
make a living! This doesn't mean you need to pay exorbitant prices. 90%
of websites don't need to pay more than $10 a month for hosting on a
or $13 a month
for hosting on a Windows server
. On the other hand, beware of
companies whose prices are too cheap. Less than $5 a month for more
than 500MB of space is too cheap.
When you are checking prices, you need to be wary of hidden costs, a
painful subject for all of us in the computer industry. Make sure all
your needs are met with the hosting package. Points to pay special
attention to are:
• Shared SSL
• SSL costs – the price of SSL depends on the company
providing the service (Verysign, Thawte, etc). It is important that
the SSL supports 128bit of encoding and comes from a recognized company
so customers will trust the system.
• MySQL database
• MsSQL database – there is almost always an
additional fee because of the high license costs. It is worth a while
to compare prices.
• Locking folders with a password
• Parked domains
Traffic is the amount of data that travels from the server to the
surfer and back from the surfer to the server in a month. Most websites
don't need more than 1GB of traffic a month and most packages offer
more than 10GB. You should find a package that allows you to increase
the monthly traffic (for example, during an advertising campaign). Be
wary of unlimited traffic – this offer attracts sites that clog the
Calculating monthly traffic:
X – Size of the average page in KB
Y – Number of page requests for a month
The monthly traffic in MB = X*Y/1000
This calculation provides the highest expected amount. In reality, the
number will be much lower since internet browsers save in their local
cache parts of the website like pictures, CSS files, etc. During the
first visit, these parts are downloaded and saved. On later visits, the
data is then retrieved from the memory on the internet user's computer
and not from the server.
Most companies don't need a lot of disk space for their sites. The
average company image site is between 20-50 MB. If the website uses a
database, you need to take into account the size of the database. We
recommend taking more disk space than you need to last you through the
Email is a necessity today for every company. Email that ends with the
company's domain name shows you are a serious company and helps spread
the company name. The number of email accounts isn't the only parameter
you have to look at but also the maximum size of the accounts (this
detail not usually advertised, you will have to ask). You must be able
to create email accounts through the control panel. This prevents you
having to ask the hosting company to do it for you, every time a new
worker joins. You
should also check to see if there is a program for accessing email
accounts over the internet, a practical solution for checking email
from home. Other email tools are:
• Forwarders – automatically send emails that arrive
at one address to another.
• Filtering – prevent emails from a specific address
or containing a specific text from reaching your inbox.
• Antivirus program on the server
• Autoresponders – send a response immediately to let
customers know their request is being taken care of.
Databases – MySQL,
Databases allow you to save information in organized tables and to then
perform fast and secure operations on it. If you want to enhance your
site and to add functions, most likely you will need to use a database.
The most popular database used on internet servers is MySQL
This is a very fast database that can be installed for free. Every
major control panel lets you build and manage with MySQL .
Additional databases that can be worked with are:
• Access – recommended only for very small software
systems running on Windows. This is a very slow database.
• MsSQL – A database from Microsoft. This database is
very expensive and you will have to pay for it. MsSQL is recommended
only for very large sites (save your money).
Here are a couple of points to pay attention to regarding databases:
• Is there a limit to the size of the database? Make
sure you don’t need more space.
• Is there is limit to the number of databases you
can use and what is the cost of adding more?
• Versions installed on the server – your website
designers should check this issue.
• With MySQL make sure you have the option of
managing using PhpMyAdmin
or another graphics tool.
Software – PHP,
.NET, ASP, JSP, Perl
There are several major languages on the server side for developing
• PHP – the most popular language in the world today.
The language is very fast and appears on almost all hosting servers
(including those based on Windows operating systems).
• .NET and ASP – developer languages that run only on
Windows based servers.
• JSP – For Java based development. It is a little
difficult to find hosting companies that support this language.
• Perl - Installed almost on all hosting servers. Old
and good software.
What you should pay attention to with regards to software languages:
• Versions – again, it is very important to check
• Can you run automatic scripts at certain times
(called Cron Job)?
• Is there a limit to writing files on the server – important,
There are companies that limit the space
for writing files to a certain folder. If the software wasn't prepared
ahead of time this will cause a lot of additional work and frustration!
The Control Panel
The hosting control panel (administrator interface) lets you perform
most of the operations you need without the hosting company needing to
do anything. Operations you should be able to perform with the control
• Managing email addresses
• Statistics and monitoring of traffic, volume, etc.
• Managing databases
• Performing backups and downloading them (this is
not instead of hosting company backup.)
• Locking folders with password
• Managing FTP accounts
A control panel is not mandatory but I personally cannot work without
one. If there isn't a control panel, check if there are additional
costs for performing the operations described above.
Statistics are the site's most important management factor. You need to
monitor visits so you can improve them. Fortunately, most control
panels provide statistics that include most of the information we need,
• Most viewed pages
• Which sites did the users visit to get to yours
• What keywords were used in the search engines to
find your site
• How many entries were there in a day/ a month
Popular statistics programs are Awstats, Webalizer and Analog. You will
find some or all of them in most control panels. Out of the three
listed, the most recommended and self explanatory in my opinion is
provided by these programs is not good enough
for a serious analysis of what surfers are doing on your site. For more
on this subject, see the article Website Statistics
Upgrading Hosting Packages
Is it possible to upgrade a package? This isn't so important if you
have chosen a package that is a couple sizes too large but it is
important if your package is small. You should check how much it costs
to add a MB of storage, a GB of traffic, additional email accounts,
etc. Oftentimes, it is cheaper to upgrade by adding what you need than
to upgrade to a larger package.
Continue to the next chapter: Free Web Hosting
web server survey
- Netscraft server survey.
Very good testing and monitoring tools.
most used databse.
- Graphical management software for MySql.
Very important article about analyze website statistics.