I'd like to add one more company to your list: Wowrack is a local Seattle hosting company that runs a couple of data centers, one of which houses the Biznik servers. They have been fantastic for us to work with, and I highly recommend them. Their service is excellent (somebody is available 24-7 for emergencies, which we've had to call on several times), and Jimmy Pandra, who runs Wowrack, is one of the most cheerful people I know.
Webhosting for the Non-Technical
Time and time again I’ve heard the horror stories about “web consultants” who have overcharged and oversold. When you go shopping for a host, you’re going to encounter a variety of “packages”. Let's take a quick look at these packages.
Here is the scenario…you need a website. It might be a one-page lander that resembles an enhanced phonebook listing or maybe an interactive blog to reach current or prospective customers. Regardless of what purpose your website will serve, they all have one thing in common: they need to be hosted.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous small business owners. Many of them are clueless when it comes to anything related to the web. Time and time again I’ve heard the horror stories about “webc onsultants” who have overcharged and oversold.
When you go shopping for a host, you’re going to encounter a variety of “packages”, these packages are usually very similar across hosting companies. Let’s examine these.
Shared hosting and web hosting accounts
This type of package is inexpensive, on average anywherefrom $5-10 per month if you prepay. You pay a small fee and are allocated a set amount of resources: bandwidth, disk space, and some other features such as email accounts and the like. Most of the time, you are limited to the number of websites you can host off your account. You’ll find everybody selling this package in some iteration or another. Essentially, the host company has one or more computers that hosts multiple clients’ websites.
While not necessarily a bad thing, often these hosting companies will “oversell” their machines. This is similar to how airlines overbook their flights, but instead of a flight voucher and another flight you end up with a website is slow, or won’t load because the server is overloaded. If you were to talk to a “web consultant” they’d likely tell you to skip over this type of hosting package.
From the analytics data of small businesses that I’ve supported, their daily traffic average is anywhere from zero to 15 visitors throughout the day. This type of traffic is easily supported on a shared hosting account.
Reseller accounts are essentially shared accounts with more resources. These accounts cost anywhere from $20-$100. With a reseller account, you are able to…well..resell hosting services.
Remember those shared hosting accounts? As a reseller you can often host an unlimited number of websites through shared accounts up until you consume all your resources. That being said, if you plan on maintain more than one site, spring for the reseller account.
Dedicated hosting or virtual private servers (VPS hosting)
This type of server is geared towards high traffic sites and more demanding applications. Perhaps you’re streaming video of local events, running a moderately sized message board, or have some type of ecommerce application.
How is this different than a shared account? Shared accounts don’t allocate hardware resources like memory or CPU utilization. As the name states, the hosting company is offering a dedicated portion of their hardware resources for you, and only you. Because hardware resources are guaranteed,other users don’t bog your site down.
Prices start from $75 onwards.
I won’t spend too much time on this, because a majority of small businesses do not require this type of service. Co-location services are when a datacenter leases you space for your own hardware. Unless explicitly stated, the datacenter will not maintain your hardware or software. If your power supply dies, guess who is going to replace it?
With the advent of cloud computing and virtualization, unless you have a very specific reason…it’s probably not the solution for you.
I’ve had decent experience with the following:
Site5 - http://www.site5.com
HostGator - http://www.hostgator.com
NationalNet - http://www.nationalnet.com
Joyent - http://www.joyent.com
Liquid Web - http://www.liquidweb.com
AVOID GoDaddy, NetworkSolutions, etc.
Caveat emptor! In the past, I’ve run many of my sites offshared hosts with minimal problems. Looking at my analytics data I receivedanywhere from 200-600 visitors a day. This article is by no means the definitiveguide, but hopefully it’ll give you some insight when you do go shopping.
Learn more about the author, Jonathan Ng.
Comment on this article
Posted by Dan McComb, Seattle, Washington |
Oct 05, 2008
Posted by Jim Carney, Bellingham, Washington |
Oct 06, 2008
We have used power to live . net which also has been good but I think they farm out a lot of their stuff. I am now looking into who actually has ours. As our IT guy switched us a few months back and now we get a TON of junk emails daily. I have been slowly learning how to filter it all out without losing my clients emails. Any tips there?
Posted by Jonathan Ng, Seattle, Washington |
Oct 07, 2008
Jim- I'm putting together an article now. I'll post here once it's finished.
Posted by Anita Elder, Seattle, Washington |
Oct 11, 2008
I'm curious to know why you say to avoid GoDaddy?
I've been quite happy with them and manage a lot of client accounts that are hosted on GoDaddy. I mainly use them because I know exactly what to do to set up a form and I know that I can easily install WordPress.
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