Choosing a Web Hosting Service

By Andrey Diamandiev

In this article we look at some of the most important factors to look at when choosing a web hosting service. We also introduce some fundamental web hosting concepts later on.

What is a web hosting service

A web hosting service can be generally characterized as a company, usually with a website, that provides you with a subdomain or domain and web space which you can use to store your website or files. Your website is stored on the company's server. That way a visitor has just to type your website's domain or subdomain to get to your website.

To get such a service you have to register at the company's website and if the service is paid you have to pay your subscription and monthly fee, usually with a credit card. After that you get a confirmation email with your registration info. At last you just have to login to the company's website and start using the service(usually via the control panel).

Apart from the web space and the domain/subdomain many companies offer other very important features such as FTP, Database Support, Server Scripting Platforms(such as PHP) and more. This features are the ones that determine the pricing and quality of the web hosting service.

What does a web hosting service offer

As a general rule a web hosting service should offer you webspace and a subdomain or domain. A subdomain is usually free, but a domain name has be registered and bought either through the web hosting company's website or a domain name registrar.

Besides that a web hosting service can offer or limit many other features. The most common limitation is the bandwidth. Another feature is FTP, a service for fast file transfer. Server scripting support can also be included, as well as database support. The database support is often limited too, you get a number of databases or your database sizes are limited. This applies to server scripting as well. Many companies limit some features that a server scrioting technology (PHP for example) supports. Another handy feature is website backup, many companies support it.

Many free web hosting services put forced ads on your website and in most cases they cannot be removed. This is very common in free web hosting, to prevent this you have to see if the service enforces ads. An easy way to find that out is just to look at our directory, there you can see the features of each website and if it enforces ads or not.

The most important factors to look at

At first you should look at the webspace you're offered, the more the webspace the more data you can store. Of course if your website is small then you shouldn't consider getting much about space. Sites with many images and media need more space than simple text sites.

The bandwidth is equally important, the more the bandwidth the more visitors your website can serve. Big website's like microsoft.com serve hundreds gigabytes of traffic each day, so if you have a large website make sure you get enough bandwidth, an easy way to calculate how much traffic you are going to get is to multiply the average size of your pages by the amount of page views you are expecting to get.

Example If you have 10 pages and the average size is say 20kb and you are expecting to get around 10000 page views daily then - 20x10000x30 = 6000000 kb, 6000000/1000 = 6000 mb . So you will be getting approximately 6000 mb traffic monthly, because some visitors will revisit your site, they will have the pages and images cached in their browser, so they won't have to download the pages/images again, to take that into account just subtract say 10% of the result this makes 6000 - 600 = 5400 mb monthly. Of course this is a very approximate calculation, but it should give you an idea what to expect. .

Another very important feature is the FTP (File Transfer Protocol). With a FTP service file transfer is much easier. You need just the ftp address of your website and you can start uploading and downloading data with a ftp client.

If your website is dynamic, with other words if it is a web application, you should find a web hosting service that supports you website's technology. For example if your website is a ASP.NET application you must find a company that supports ASP.NET otherwise your website won't work. The same applies to all other technologies like PHP,CGI and ASP.

Assuming your website is dynamic you might as well need database support. According to what database technology you are using you should choose your web hosting service. Have in mind that some database technologies like MS SQL Server or Oracle can be very costly for the web hosting company, this might raise the pricing of the service.

Even if all of the above factors are taken into account if you web hosting service servers are slow on performance or the service's connection speeds are slow your whole website can be ruined. The server performance is crucial for every dynamic website. The faster and more powerful the servers are the faster your pages will load. Servers who are slow or are serving too many requests will make your website loading much slower. If the connection speeds of the website are not fast enough loading times can degrade drastically regardless of the server's performance.

Usually this factors cannot be taken into account beforehand, because most web hosting companies don't supply specific information about their servers' hardware and connection speeds. Most companies have very fast servers and connections, but there are always some with slower ones, so before choosing a web hosting service consult with somebody who has more information about the company providing the service or visit a website hosted by the company and check the load speeds.


A web hosting service is a company that offers a place on the net to store your website. Some are free others paid. Each one offers a different set of features. The most important factors to look at when choosing a service are:

  • Web Space
  • Bandwidth
  • FTP Support
  • Server Scripting Support
  • Database Support
  • Server Performance
  • Connection Speeds

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