When choosing the right web hosting provider, consider these three S's: speed, support, and security. For good measure, scale maybe a fourth S-word to think of.
There are thousands of web hosting companies -- the services that essentially connect your site to the internet. So how does an entrepreneur choose the one that's right for his or her business?
Basic customer service provides access to email, ticket and phone support. Turnaround time on requests, however, will vary. Some service providers even offer 24-hour phone support. The limiting factor to non-managed service is that while a vendor may answer questions about basic configuration, it won't be your systems manager.
Whether you're a beginning webmaster or a more experienced digital business owner, you'll want a dependable customer support team behind your web hosting plan. Things can and will go wrong on your website's back-end, but getting support when you need it can go a long way toward minimizing any potential damage to your business.
Estimate the amount of traffic you expect (and be honest with yourself). Hosting providers generally charge based on storage and bandwidth usage. Bandwidth is a measure of how many bytes you serve over a given period. If you expect only a few folks to visit your site, bandwidth will be lower. But if you're suddenly featured at the top of Google or your product goes viral you can expect bandwidth requirements to surge.
One final consideration is the hosting company's built-in support for popular web scripts. Say, for example, you want to run WordPress on your website. Some hosts offer built-in script packages that make the installation of this popular blogging platform a breeze. Other hosts limit the number of MySQL databases that can be created, which you'll need to run WordPress and other programs.
Understand server types: The very cheapest web hosting is available on shared servers, where one box may run hundreds of websites. The performance of your site depends on the load all the other sites are putting on the host. Shared hosting also limits your access to the server's capabilities, generally limiting you to uploading files via FTP or SFTP, preventing shell access, restricting what programs you can run on the service and limiting the amount of database access your site can perform.
The next tier up is VPS (for virtual private server), which is a full instance of a virtual machine (a simulated computer) running on a box. Usually, hosting providers run many VPS instances on one box, but performance is almost always better than base-level shared services. If you use a VPS, you should be familiar with basic server maintenance and management.
Now that you know how to get your site up onto the internet, you're all set to get started. Go forth and build something great. Check out our Pure-SSD VPS hosting plans section to find a service that works for you.