Getting Started: Open a hosting account
Hosting account for your website
Once you have found that the domain you want is available, the next thing you will need is a hosting account. The type of hosting account that you will need, and the cost of the hosting account will depend very much upon the type of website that you will be getting built. Are you planning to sell products from your website? They you will need an ecommerce website and will need the correct type of hosting. (Ecommerce hosting is generally a little more expensive than standard hosting.) If on the other hand your website is just going to be mainly text with photographs or videos, but no payment processing or databases required, then your hosting account will cost less. We have a great deal of experience with hosting companies and are happy to guide you in your choice
Choosing a hosting company
Once you know what type of hosting account that your will require for your website. (Call us first if you have any doubts about this) You next need to choose which company you are going to use to host your website. There are a number of important factors to take in to consideration:
- Is the hosting company based in the UK?
- Are their servers held in the UK, or are they in Europe, America or elsewhere?
- Do they offer the type of hosting account that you need?
- Does the company have a good reputation?
- Are their servers fast or slow?
- Are they helpful to their customers?
The first question “Is the hosting company based in the UK?” is generally fairly easy to answer. Do they have a UK landline number for sales and support? Are their opening hours according to UK business hours? (Or better still 24hrs) If so then you are probably ok. If might not seem an important detail, but it actually is very important for a number of reasons, if they are based abroad then they may not be available when you need to contact them.
As for the second question:
“Are their servers held in the UK, or are they in Europe, America or elsewhere?” If their servers are based abroad then they may be slow to load your website for UK visitors. This will cause your website visitors frustration if your website is slow to load, and it will also cost you in your overall ranking score on Google.
Do they offer the type of hosting account that you need?
If you are planning to sell products via your website, then you will need a database and your website will probably need to run a programming language.
If your website is programmed in php you will need a Linux hosting account, and it will need to have the correct type of SQL database installed, and possibly other functionality installed according to the requirements of your website.
If the website is going to be programmed in ASP or .NET then you will need a Windows hosting account and will likewise need to check that is has the correct version of SQL database installed and ISAPI rewrite and possibly other modules such as ASP Image. If you need help deciding which kind of hosting account you need, call us and we will be happy to help you choose the right type of account for your website.
Does the company have a good reputation?
This is an important question, because if they company is unreliable, then your website might not always be visible to your customers, or they may be in the habit of losing your email or other problems. You can easily check a hosting companies reputation by searching for reviews for them on Google. It is important to remember that people tend to be more inclined to leave a review if they have something negative to say, so for every 100 happy customers only a few are likely to bother to leave a positive review. Whereas a much higher percent of unhappy customers will leave a review, however it is important to check these reviews. If there are a high percentage of mostly negative reviews, and especially if they are all saying the same or similar things, then it might be best to avoid using that company to host your website. We have companies that we regularly use, that are UK based, fast and reliable and inexpensive. We are happy to refer you to them. We do not get any money or rewards for referring customers to any hosting company, we just like to help our customers get the best possible service and value for money.
Are their servers fast or slow?
This is important as it will effect both your customers browsing experience, (they wont want to hang around if your website is taking ages to load), and it will also negatively affect your ranking in Google if your website is slow to load.
Are they helpful to their customers?
It is important to know that if something goes wrong at any time, and you need to contact the hosting company about your website, that you are confident that they will be available to contact, and helpful when you do. Checking company reviews can help towards this, but there is nothing better than picking up the phone and calling them yourself to see how fast they reply, how easy to get through to the support team it is etc. Note: it is of no benefit to try calling their sales line. Everyone answers their sales line! You want to get their support number and try calling that. Make sure first that it is a standard rate number and it is not in their interest to keep you holding or hanging on the phone as long as possible. This is an old trick that some less honest hosting companies still use to make money out of your call.
- Check the hosting company is in the UK
- Check their reviews online are good
- Try calling their support line to see how fast they respond and that the number is not just an answerphone