How To Select A Good Hosting Package
There are two parts to consider in knowing how to select a good hosting package. The first part is about matching the website needs and tech requirements against available packages. The second part is choosing the best one from amongst all those that have matching packages.
The question arises, naturally, as to what kind of tech specs have to be considered for the typical person or company that wants to start a new website. Broadly speaking, the first thing that needs to be decided is the choice of a server. This means choosing from amongst a shared server, a dedicated one, or an in-between option like VPS.
This choice will depend on the kind of website, the budget that is available, and what plans the person/company has for future growth. Ordinary people and small companies will usually get started with shared packages. It's very cheap (a few bucks a month) and offers all the basic tools and resources required to run a website.
Others whose websites are a little more complex and those who expect a huge number of visitors may need the full power, control and flexibility of a dedicated server. VPS (virtual private server) offers an intermediate solution with access to what seems to be a dedicated server, but at a cost that is a fraction of a real dedicated server. Whatever the choice, the customer also has to decide which OS to go with - Windows or a UNIX/Linux variant.
Then there's the questions about what kind of resources and tools will be needed to run the website. For example, someone who wants to host a blog will need to setup a blog script, which usually needs PHP and mysql as a database. Access to a control panel, CGI scripts, FTP access, and hosting for multiple POP3 email addresses and domains are quite common in a shared hosting basic package.
These are all standard tools and resources that are available even in basic packages on a shared server. Additionally, the customer has to decide how much space and bandwidth will be required. While this is mostly informed guesswork, it's important to choose a host and package where upgrades to the next level are possible and feasible, in case the traffic grows quickly.
The second part of choosing a good package has to do with the choice of a web host. Roughly the same packages are usually available from most companies, with costs varying a little here and there. What's important is to choose one which is reliable and where the website will be easily accessible to visitors with a good page loading speed.
In addition to testing page loading speeds for existing customers of the host company, there's another way to check on a host. Read user posted web hosting reviews for each company. These reviews, which are available on many review sites, will lay bare the company's history and offer a snapshot into how the company provides service and support, and whether they have any recurring problems. The whole point is to find a package that matches the needs, costs the least and is from a hosting company that is rock solid.