Let’s first look at some of the things that are considered when a Web host prices their packages. The items that are best to look at first are definitive numbers such as:
• Disk space. The disk space is how much space your account takes up on the server very similar to how much space a folder takes up on your hard drive.
• Bandwidth. Bandwidth (sometimes called data transfer) is basically how many times your files can be viewed. For example, if you have a 1 MB file and 100 MB of bandwidth, the file can be viewed 100 times.
• Extras. Extras such as MySQL databases, email accounts, etc. Most of these cost the host basically no extra money.
Some of the things harder to price:
• Support/Service. Support and service are the hardest things to put a number on. Test response times and helpfulness before you buy to get a general idea of support and service.
• Hardware Configurations. Many servers cost more than others (for most shared hosts, the standard is Dual Xeons with at least 3.0 GHz of processor power) and the hardware configuration of the server can make a difference in price and the performance of your website.
• Overselling. Many shared hosts oversell, which means that if they have a server only capable of holding 100 accounts that are 1 MB each, they will assume most people won’t use all of the space/features and the host will sell 150 accounts (sometimes more). A host that does not oversell will only sell 100 accounts. Overselling can have a big effect on your site’s performance and the price of the hosting account.
• Extra Features. Some Web hosts offer extra features that may or may not be exclusive to them. It’s very hard to price addon features, but the best rule of thumb is, if you don’t need it, find out if there’s a way to remove it from your account (and bill).
Almost every Web host has some sort of plan comparison page that will list the definitive features like space and bandwidth as well the extras. Browse around the company’s website and you should get a good idea of what they offer and for how much.
Now that you know what Web hosts charge for, here’s some steps not to end up paying for more than you need.
1. Determine your budget. The first step is to decide what you will spend. If it’s $50.00 per month, keep that in mind.
2. Find out what you need. Send a description of your desired site (i. e. a 10 page website with a shopping cart) to several hosts and ask them to recommend a package for you. Be sure to mention what your support requirements are – do you need someone to hold your hand or can you do everything pretty much by yourself? Compare the features at each of the hosts and see which one is cheapest and is closest to your needs.
3. Research. Once you find out your needs, research some hosts. See which ones have the best service and support, fastest servers, etc. Be sure to check out independent review sites and try and get a good idea of what the host is and is not good at.
4. Verify. After you’ve figured out what host you think is best for you, verify the company you’re interested in offers what you need and is within your budget.