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Do you find yourself struggling with your current hosting services provider? Or do you find yourself overwhelmed by the terminology and have no clue where to start? If you answered yes to either of these questions, we are here to dispel the myth behind cheap hosting. And to help you understand what you are paying for. We will do this in a 2-part series covering terminology and the various aspects of hosting. Soon you will be well equipped in making that important decision when choosing a hosting service provider.

Let me first tackle cheap hosting and start by saying you get what you pay for. This saying is true for many things in today’s world. Even more relevant when it comes to choosing a hosting service provider. While you may pay less with some hosting companies, you could end up spending more in the long run. Either through hidden costs or service delivery costing you downtime, lost emails, hacked websites, and much more.

Before I dive into the first part of this series, let me start with hosting and what it means. Hosting is a means of storing emails or a website on a server so that it is accessible over the internet. A hosting service provider will allocate space on a server to store your website or email account. This will make it accessible to internet users around the world. Following on from this, a server is a computer that serves information to other computers.

HOSTING SERVICES: PART 1

SERVICE

There is nothing more frustrating than having a problem with your email account or website than to hold on to the telephone for 20 minutes or more waiting for assistance. Just as frustrating is to send a support request email and wait one or two days for a response. How much business could you potentially lose in those two days with an email account or website not working? Most hosting queries are quickly and easily resolved. They should not cost you time waiting for help, or downtime costing you potential business. When sourcing a hosting service provider, check to see if they have a dedicated support desk that responds quickly. Check for a self-help or FAQ section where you could easily find the answer to your question. Do not take everything a company says at face value. Look at customer reviews on the company to see if they live up to client expectations.

SPACE

I mentioned earlier about space allocated on the server for your email account or website. Websites can vary in size dramatically (except for large online stores), they do not take up as much space as you would think. Email accounts on the other hand take up most of the space and this happens when you do not manage them efficiently. Imagine your mailbox is your desk, and each email a piece of paper on your desk. Now imagine 400 pieces of paper on your desk – eventually, you will need a bigger desk, right? The same applies to an email account. Here comes the next bit of jargon to explain the email setup.

POP – download email from the server to a computer and set to remove it from the server after a set number of days. Alternatively, remove from the server immediately and store on your computer.

IMAP – synchronizes with the server and you then archive or file mails in an archive folder, thus removing them manually from the server onto your computer. You still have access to all your emails in the archive folder and they are not ‘lost’.

When sourcing a hosting service provider, check to see if they support both IMAP and POP mail setup. By managing your emails efficiently, you can save space and since space costs money, you are saving on cost.

MEMORY

Memory on a server is the same as the memory on your computer. Some hosting companies limit the amount of memory available as this determines the cost of the server. Budget hosting companies usually offer between 128Mb to 256Mb of memory and while some websites may run comfortably on this, others will not. Your website visitor is likely to wait a long time for your website to load or they could receive an error screen. In both cases, your potential client is unlikely to hang around and wait. When sourcing a hosting service provider, check to see the size of memory available, we recommend at least 512Mb.

CPU

This stands for Central Processing Unit and is comparative to the processor on your computer. A computer with a small CPU will be much slower than a computer with a large CPU. The same applies to CPU usage on a server where the CPU is shared amongst all the users – each user is allocated a percentage of the CPU availability. A low CPU on your hosting account could result in your website taking a long time to load. When sourcing a hosting service provider, check the size of the CPU allocated. You should be looking at a 16Core CPU with 32Gb of memory.

SHARED OR DEDICATED HOSTING

Hosting your website on a dedicated server is much more expensive compared to a shared server. In shared hosting, all the users share the server resources and if not set up properly, a single user could use all the resources. This means the other users could be without sufficient resources to run their sites efficiently. Most websites do not need dedicated hosting and shared hosting is sufficient, however, the shared server must be set up correctly. The question you need to ask is each user ‘caged’. This means that only the resources allocated to a single account can be used. It also means that should a user experience malware or a virus; it will not affect the other users on the shared server.

SSL CERTIFICATES

SSL is a security certificate installed on your website which makes your website a safe website to use and interact with. One of Google’s requirements for indexing a website and listing it on Google is that the website must be secure. A padlock icon to the left of your website address depicts a secure site. An unsecured site will depict a triangle warning with an exclamation mark stating, ‘not secure’. Some hosting service providers charge to install an SSL Certificate on your website, but most hosting packages should include a FREE SSL certificate and this is sufficient to meet Google’s standards. Whether you pay for one or not, your website should offer your users a safe experience, and not having an SSL Certificate could do some serious harm to your credibility and your business.

 Next week we will look at part 2 of this series, jam-packed with informative and useful information that will enable you to choose the right hosting service provider.

HOSTING SERVICES: RHINO HOSTING

SDDS Web Design recently launched a separate division on hosting, called Rhino Hosting. The business is set up to offer reseller packages to other local and international design agencies, as well as to any person or company looking to host an email account and/or website. If you have any questions or would like more information on the services we provide, please drop us a mail at info@rhinohosting.co.za. Or visit our website where you can sign up in just a few minutes https://rhinohosting.co.za