Sound Advice Regarding Your Website
You need to build a website, and are looking into your cheap hosting options. It can be overwhelming: so many different options, how do you know what to choose?
You can start by taking a look at your purpose for creating the site in the first place. This is crucial! Hosting needs are quite different for the website that simply hosts a resume for potential employers to visit versus a business or informational website.
Sound Advice Regarding Your Website: Traffic
The first thing you should ask yourself: do I expect my website to increase daily or monthly traffic as time goes on? If you're actively job hunting and wish to have a site for potential employers to visit to view your resume or a sampling of your work, you probably don't need to worry too much about traffic. Few people will visit it, and the amount of traffic will not increase dramatically over time.
However, if you plan to build a business website, think long and hard about the bandwidth limit you'll require. Although that 5GB seems like a sufficient amount of space, is it enough for when your site traffic increases?
When looking into these more robust hosting plans, you'll want to read the fine print. Can you upgrade your plan at any time without penalty? What are the charges if you happen to exceed your bandwidth limit? This is all important information, especially if you plan to run massive advertising campaigns. If it works properly, you should have a spike in traffic. Will this additional traffic result in fees or worse, a site shut down altogether?
Read the fine print carefully regarding overages to assure that you will only be charged for the bandwidth that's actually exceeded rather than some ridiculous amount, like 10GB (it's unlikely you'll need the full 10GB!) Do not believe the claims of “unlimited bandwidth” from some of the cheap hosting providers. Think about it: does any computer out there offer unlimited space? No. You'll find that if you consistently use a high amount of bandwidth you will receive a massive bill because of it. Again, in the fine print, there should be an actual amount when you will be charged.
If you have many embedded videos and images, you'll want a higher bandwidth limit. If you notice traffic is increasing and getting uncomfortably close to this limit, upgrade plans as soon as you can.
Number of Pages
When planning the design of your site, look at the number of pages you expect to have. Even if it's only a few pages currently, if you are expecting it to grow, you'll want to plan for incorporating common design elements in one place. You can do this using Server Side Includes (SSI), frames, or even a template. It will save you headaches when adding pages later on as your site grows, making the updating process a lot less painful!
Just about everyone starts out with a cheap hosting and domain provider. This is fine, until your site grows. When you start to run into issues, how is the tech support? Oftentimes, you'll find it isn't what you wish it to be. And how about uptime? When your site is experiencing spikes in traffic, is it crashing? If your site has been around awhile, you're likely impacting loyal visitors who don't have time for a crashed site.
You should be doing more than monitoring your traffic as your site grows, if you are with a cheap hosting and domain provider. You should spend free time researching bigger hosting companies, preparing for the future. Isn't it better to be prepared for the growth of your site and it's relocation to a more robust hosting provider, rather than finding your site in the dark?
If you take steps to plan for your site's growth now, you can ease stress that could occur in the future. If however, your site is a simple one or two page site and you have no intentions of adding anything, a cheap hosting provider will do just fine for you.
Have you encountered problems because your site grew more rapidly than you expected? How was your experience with your hosting company?