If you’re a designer or any other kind of freelancer, having a website hosted by a professional web hosting provider can bring you immense benefits. It will give you a way to build your brand, market your services to potential customers, as well as easily showcase some of the work that you can do. It also lets you deal with your customers directly, as opposed to going through a freelancing exchange or marketplace. Now that hosting services are more affordable than ever, there is simply no reason not to have your own site.
To get started, you will need to choose the right web host. While there are thousands of service providers out there, the type of hosting services they offer fall into three categories:
Several customers share a server’s resources, which means that a single server could host dozens of websites. This is the most popular and affordable hosting service type. It is also the most likely to suit the needs of beginners.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting
You get a portion of a server’s resources, such as RAM, CPU cycles and disk space, allocated just for you and running in a virtual server. This option is more costly than shared hosting, but offers better performance and increased versatility, as you generally get full admin access to your virtual server and can run any application you need on it.
Dedicated server hosting
With this option, you will be renting an entire physical server and have full use of all of its hardware resources. This makes it the most expensive hosting option. Dedicated servers are used by businesses with large websites that receive thousands of visitors a day, such as companies that run a popular online shopping site.
When you’re starting out, you will most likely want to go with a shared hosting plan. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a hosting company:
It is common for hosting companies to advertise an uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent or more. However, you shouldn’t rely on the numbers provided by a host and instead take a look at an independent website that tracks server uptime.
When it comes to uptime, even a fraction of a percent makes a big difference. While having a website that is up 99 percent of the time might seem acceptable, this means that it will be inaccessible for an average of 14 minutes a day. This adds up to three whole days a year. All this downtime can make you lose valuable customers.
An Easy Way to Upgrade
You might be fine with using a shared hosting service for now, but it is always good to have room to grow. If your website becomes hugely popular and starts getting hundreds of daily visitors, you will need a more powerful hosting option to handle all of that traffic. Because of this, you should choose a host that also provides VPS and dedicated server options, allowing you to upgrade easily.
Information Resources and Quality Customer Support
The best hosting companies are those that offer a knowledge base that customers can use to find answers to their questions and learn how to manage their hosting account. Whether you want to figure out how to install an application like WordPress or create additional email addresses, the information on how to do so should all be there.
Your host should also offer some way of reaching them 24/7. The leading providers offer support around the clock via a ticket system, live chat on their website or by phone. If your website is down after business hours and you can’t seem to figure out why, your hosting provider needs to be there to help solve the problem.
Clear Pricing and Plans
If a hosting company doesn’t clearly show how much their service will cost you and what features you’re getting, they’re not one you want to deal with. You want a host that will be up front about how much you will pay and what you get with their service.