How to find the right Webhost
Every company with its own website requires web space. This means storage space on a server that is connected to the Internet for 24 hours. While some large companies operate their own servers for this purpose, for most companies it is the much cheaper option to rent web space from a web host.
Such Internet service providers offer the required storage space and associated services. Frequently the domain name is also registered at the web host and the shop software is selected. The right web host is the foundation for a well-functioning website, because the quality of web hosting influences the performance of the website, possible functions, the page traffic and ultimately the Google ranking. What you should pay particular attention when looking for the right web host for your web project, is therefore the subject of our blog post today.
Types of Web Hosting
First of all, hosting is not the same as hosting. Although the basic principle, the provision of online storage space, is always the same, but its technical and legal design is sometimes significantly different. Therefore, we give below an overview of the six major hosting techniques and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Dedicated Hosting grants the user exclusive access to a dedicated server with a fixed IP address. Because all the resources of the server are available to a web project, this is the most powerful option with the least downtime. In addition, the server can be configured completely freely and there is high security and privacy. However, the full rights of use also entail self-responsibility for the care: The user has to take care of maintenance, closing security gaps, software updates and, above all, back-ups. Clearly, the necessary hosting know-how is required here. Dedicated hosting is highly recommended for highly complex shops with a lot of traffic and high demands on data protection, which at the same time have the personal or financial resources for server support.
Managed Hosting Service
Beim Gegenstück zum Dedicated Server, dem Managed Hosting, hat der Nutzer keinen vollen Zugriff auf den Server. Dafür wird die Pflege, Überwachung und Aktualisierung des Servers durch den Webhoster übernommen. Das macht Managed Hosting besonders für Unternehmen mit wenig Zeit oder geringem IT Know-how attraktiv. Für Websites, die sich im ständigen Wandel befinden oder eine hohe Individualisierung fordern, kann ein Managed Server allerdings aufgrund der eingeschränkten Konfigurationsmöglichkeiten zum Problem werden.
The most popular subform of managed hosting is shared web hosting. Hereby, the resources like CPU and disk storage of a server are split between several websites. The individual users also have no direct access to the server, which again restricts the functionality. In addition, the performance depends on the consumption of the other websites: If several particularly expensive pages are located on one server, this reduces the overall performance at peak times. But since not only the server resources but also the costs are split, shared hosting represents a particularly favorable alternative. Therefore, for small to medium sized shops with moderate traffic, shared hosting remains a good option.
Virtual Dedicated Server
Virtual Servers are a mix of dedicated and shared hosting. Multiple users share the power of a physical server. However, a separate virtual server with its own IP address is simulated for each customer. This guarantees a fixed computing power and the virtual server can be configured like a normal server. These advantages translate into greater responsibility and lower costs compared to shared hosting. The hosting form is suitable for medium-sized shops and websites, which want more design freedom than in shared hosting, but want to avoid the expense and costs of a dedicated server.
A relatively new trend in web hosting is cloud hosting. Here the resources and data are automatically distributed to different servers. This server system is called “cloud” or, in German, cloud. Cloud hosting is characterized by a high degree of reliability, because in case of failure of one server the other computers can be used. In addition, disk space and performance requirements can be designed dynamically, as the resources used can be continually updated as needed. So there is always just the right amount of power available. It tends to use cloud hosting services for larger web projects or companies with complex apps.
Last but not least, there are some vendors who offer the storage on their servers completely free of charge. However, this is mostly funded by ads that appear on the hosted website. On the advertising content can usually no influence and at the same time no own advertising are involved. In addition, the space offered or supported file formats for free providers are usually severely limited. For a professional website is therefore definitely not recommended by free web hosting.
Important criteria in the webhoster choice
There are a variety of web hosting providers, which usually offer a selection of the above hosting formats on different terms. With regard to service quality, costs and scope of supply, the offers sometimes vary greatly. At the same time, the market for web hosting is becoming increasingly confusing due to ever new providers. To get an overview, webhost comparisons of hosttest.de or netzsieger.de can be a good help. Here are some of the criteria that you should pay particular attention to in the following section.
Storage space, performance and traffic
Mostly the first question with the Webhoster search is: How much webspace do I actually need? Depending on the website type, the answer can be very different here. In principle, however, the minimum requirement for online shops is 1 GB of storage space; those who rely increasingly on multimedia content should set themselves a minimum of 10 GB.
Decisive for the performance of the website is also the memory. The more complex the web project, the more memory is needed. Minimum for very simple websites are 265 MB, larger online shops should ensure memory of several gigabytes.
Another important criterion is the expected number of visitors, because some tariffs set a limit on the traffic volume on your page. For a well-attended shop with a medium-sized range, at least 100 GB of traffic should be scheduled here. However, an unlimited volume of traffic is ideal – fortunately, more and more webhosts are charging with a flat rate traffic bill. If the number of visitors is still limited, it should be checked carefully, which follow-up costs can arise if exceeded.
Availability of the website
E-commerce lives off the fact that customers are not tied to opening hours for their purchases. The availability of the website is therefore a crucial criterion in webhoster choice. Most hosting offerings range in their availability data between 90% and 99.95%. With 90% availability, the website may not be accessible for a maximum of 36.5 days per year. At 99% only 3.65 days, here also begins the area of high availability. Of course, a permanent availability would be the ideal case, but rates from 99% are also associated with a significant increase in prices. Here, you should first calculate exactly which downtime of the website would be the maximum to cope with.
Compatibility with software
In order to make the launch of the website as easy as possible for the customer, many web hosts offer the pre-installation of a shop software (eg Magento or OXID eShop) or a content management system (eg WordPress or Joomla!). Therefore, when deciding on a hosting offer it is worthwhile to consider in advance which software the website should be created and operated later to check whether the hoster supports it at all or even offers a low-priced complete package.
With most businesses opting for managed hosting, service is probably the most important factor in choosing the right web host. Fast, competent support is essential, as technical problems or even the failure of the website immediately have serious effects on traffic and purchase. Especially important is the 24-hour availability of the support. Even if there are problems with the website after closing time, the problem should be solved as quickly as possible. It is also important to ensure that it is only communicated via e-mail or by telephone. Rating forums on the Internet are a good place to find out about the satisfaction of other customers with the support service. In some cases, hosting providers also offer trial access, so for a limited amount of time, the responsiveness and quality of the service can be scrutinized.
Domain and email
Many web hosting packages already include one or more domains. Here you should note how many addresses you can use at maximum and check which conditions are linked to a move of your domain name when changing the hosting provider. Closely linked with the domain are also the companies Mailadressen. Important criteria for the booking of mail hosting are the required number of e-mail addresses, the expected size of the sent e-mails as well as functions such as automatic answering, forwarding and spam protection.
Last but not least, the topic of security is crucial in the choice of the webhoster. The first glance should be on the location of the servers: Hosting Providers who operate their own data center usually offer the highest level of performance and can act individually in emergencies. Likewise, the servers for German companies should also be in Germany, since only in this way the greatest possible data protection is offered. In addition, websites in the country where their server is located have a Google ranking advantage.
Also essential is the protection against data loss. If at all and if so, how often a data back-up made? Ideally, your shop data will be backed up continuously and automatically by the hoster.
At the same time, visitors to the site must be guaranteed a secure environment. Essential for shops, where confidential bank data is transmitted, is therefore the sufficient encryption of the data via an SSL certificate. The prerequisite for an SSL certificate is its own IP address. The SSL certificates have different levels of security offered on different terms.
Web hosting is the foundation for the performance and design of your own website. The choice of the webhoster should be well considered. Each web project makes individual demands on the scope of the hosting. Therefore, take the time to determine exactly what resources and services are needed to optimize your website. This will make it easier for you to manage your website and make sure you provide your customers with the best possible user experience.