If you are new to web hosting but confused about all of the different features that web hosting plans come with then sit back and relax, we are going to give you a quick introduction to the world of shared hosting plans and their features.
In this article we are going to concentrate on the features of Linux Shared Hosting Plans because that is the most common type of plan out there. Sorry windows but when it comes to shared hosting this is the battle you loose.
The core most important features
Amount of Disk Space / Web Space
Web sites are made up of various types of files. Those files could be Text files, Databases, Images, Video Files and anything else that your web site will need.
Basically more of those files that you have the more Disk Space you will need. Amount of disk space you will need largely depends on what kind of web site you have.
Usually video and image files take up most of the space but having large Databases of Information can quickly eat up your space as well. Plus don’t forget that if you receive tons of email and you never delete it, that also counts against your amount.
When ordering your hosting plan, make sure you choose a Web Hosting Provider that gives you enough of disk space.
Having enough of disk space is important but be warned of those services offering Unlimited Disk Space. As of right now an Unlimited Disk Space hard drive or storage drive does not exist, so it is highly unlikely that hosting companies can offer unlimited space as well. It’s physically just not possible so best is to stay away since with that kind of “unlimited” space you really don’t know what you are getting and wouldn’t you rather want to know what you are paying for anyway.
Amount of Bandwidth Transfer.
Every time someone visits your web site, all of the data (images, videos, text) for that specific page is transferred to the requester. This transfer of data over the internet is referred to as Bandwidth Transfer. More data you have and more users you have requesting it, more bandwidth transfer you will need.
Just like Disk Space this is also an important amount to have enough of.
Control panels make the job of managing a web hosting account easy. They simplify and automate day to day web hosting tasks. They allow you to: easily browse all the files, Add email accounts, Check Web Mail, Create FTP accounts, See disk space usage and much more. There are hand full of well established control panels used by hosting companies. Some companies chose to develop their own as well. Some of the well known control panels are: CPANEL and PLESK and they provide everything a webmaster should need to manage their hosting account. If you are a novice make sure you choose a hosting company which includes one of those two control panels.
Email Accounts for your domain.
Receiving emails at your own domain is an important feature of every web site. If you want to make your web site look professional this is a must.
Most of the hosting companies should offer this feature as part of the hosting package.
When it comes to uploading files from your local computer to the web hosting server, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is number one tool of choice. This is a must for every hosting plan. Look for hosting companies that include plenty of FTP accounts in your hosting plan.
Automated Script Installers.
Most of the web sites use some kind of script (Forum, Picture Gallery, Shopping Cart… etc). Usually to run one of these scripts, webmaster would have to download it and install it them self. This can be hard and tedious task which requires skills.
This is where automated script installers come in place. These nifty programs have a large collection of most popular scripts and with an easy wizard interface allow you to install scripts on your web site with only few clicks.
If you are just starting with hosting then this is a must feature. Look for hosting companies which offer these two popular auto installers: softaculous and fantastico deluxe
If you are planning to run any kind of scripts or to have your web site access database then your hosting plan needs to come with one or more supported programming platforms. Some of the most common ones are: PHP, CGI, PERL, RUBY. These programming languages should be supported by most hosting companies.
Site Uptime Guarantee.
Having your web site available and running at all times is something that every webmaster should strive for. This is why you need to choose a host that can guarantee certain percentage of uptime for your web site. Look for a hosting company that offers at minimum 99.9% uptime guarantee. In those rare cases that your site is not up for the guaranteed percentage of times, hosting company should issue credits or partial refunds.