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When you start a new website there are two major things that you would want to think about before choosing a web host, bandwidth and storage space. The bandwidth is basically a representation of how fast your website will load and the amount of information that is loaded with it. The storage space is the amount of space you will avail of when getting a web host to accommodate all your web page information.
Usually when you look for a web host, the most attractive option is to get one with the most storage space. There are many web hosts out there that offer unlimited space for your website. However, you must be careful in taking these offers and read the fine print that is involved in their service. More often than not, the monthly fees that you will pay your web hosting company may come with extra charges for your unlimited space or even get your website suspended for using too many resources.
Look out for the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offer of unlimited web hosting and these are:
- The offer may just be too good to be true. Web hosts may offer these great perks of using unlimited space, but eventually the space will run out at some point. Technically, unlimited storage space is impossible to have on any given server. Web hosts just offer it because they don’t expect you to use up more than the expected utilized space that is assigned to you.
- Bandwidth may not be too fantastic on a website with unlimited space. Remember, you usually have to pay for bandwidth depending on speed. When they offer unlimited web hosting, it doesn’t necessarily mean unlimited bandwidth where your webpage would load in less than 2 seconds! There is a limit to bandwidth just as there is to storage space.
So Why Do Unlimited Plans Exist?
Most websites only consume a very small amount of bandwidth and disk space. Web hosting companies that provide unlimited anything as a plan feature are banking on the fact that you won't use very much. Unlimited is a marketing trick to get your business. The web hosting market is very competitive. Although selling plans that pretend to be unlimited can seem dishonest, it does not mean that the hosting company will not provide good service. Check in the hosting company's Terms of Service: there will probably be a note about what "unlimited" really means.
So, when shopping for your next web host, don’t be taken in too easily by the unlimited web hosting services offers. Inquire about what the word “unlimited” covers and what exactly their in-house services, technical expertise, and standard procedures are that would cater to the security, back-up, and proper maintenance of your webpage space. It is better to pay for good technical services and proper processes than to pay for unlimited web hosting that only offers lots of space but little of anything else.
With City & District Hosting, we specify the amount of storage space and bandwidth you get with each hosting plan. These plans carry enough space and bandwidth for almost all websites, but best of all, they each come with numerous features and service beyond compare.
Web hosting isn’t a decision you should make lightly. Here are 16 things you should look for when choosing your web host.
1. Amount of Storage
When choosing your web hosting, one of your primary concerns will obviously be “How much data can I store?” For most small and medium web sites, you’ll find that several gigabytes should be plenty of storage. Some hosts may offer “unlimited storage”: caveat emptor! If you read the fine print (usually, the Terms and Services) you’ll find that it’s unlimited until you go over the “normal site usage.” If you think you might be close to or over whatever “normal” is, make sure you know what you can use before buying … or go with a host that sets clear limits.
At City & District, we set clear limits. We offer various hosting plans with varying amounts of storage. You can start with a small plan and upgrade whenever you want. Best of all you get a Plesk Control Panel that shows you how many resources you are using at any time.
2. Amount of Bandwidth
When looking for a web host, you’ll often see storage and bandwidth hand in hand. What is bandwidth? It’s the amount of data that your host will let you and your visitors upload and download (cumulatively) in a given month. Say your website is 1 megabyte of data and your monthly bandwidth is 10 MB. At the beginning of the month, you upload the entire site; now you’ve used up one MB of bandwidth. If a visitor to your site views every page, they will have downloaded 1MB of data. That means you can have up to 9 visitors in that month (assuming each views your whole site). After that, your web host will either not allow any more visitors, or (more likely) charge you extra per MB. Of course, your bandwidth is something you’ll want to keep an eye on, especially if you run a fairly popular site or do something media intensive (like host your own video, or high-res photos). Just like storage, some hosts offer “unlimited” bandwidth; again, if you think you’ll be in a grey area, find out the limits or choose a host that sets the bar where all can see it.
Just like the amount of storage, City & District's hosting plans have various amounts of bandwidth and you can monitor this within the Plesk Control Panel.
3. Number of Domains and Subdomains
Once you’re running one site, there’s a good chance it won’t be long until you’ve got a second one up … and then a third. It would be a pain to have to manage a hosting account for each site you own, so make sure your web host will let you host multiple domains. Often, there will be a limit on how many domains you can have on one account; make sure it will accommodate you! Usually, there will be a section in the admin panel for adding your domains and choosing which sub-folders each one will point to. The same is true for sub-domains.
As a customer of City & District, you will have one account, however you can have multiple websites under that one account. While each website has its own subscription, they can all me managed in the Plesk Control Panel under your one account.
4. Email Accounts and Features
Many web hosts also offer email account for your domains. You’ll want to know how many email accounts they’ll let you set up; also, don’t forget to check out their selections for receiving that mail. Do they have a webmail interface? Multiple ones that you can select from? How about integration with Google Apps (for the Gmail interface)? Can you get your mail in your client of choice via IMAP, or do they only offer POP?
Each hosting plan also comes with a set number of email accounts. Additional email acccounts can be added at a small monthly fee. All email comes with
- POP3 Email Accounts with SMTP
- WebMail Access: SmarterMail Client
- Receive your email to your phone via IMAP Support
- Prevent spam with SpamAssassin
- Unlimited Autoresponders, Mail Forwards, Email Aliases, Mailing Lists
5. Database Support
Now-a-days, even small websites seem to have a database on the back end. You’ll want to make sure you can use the type of database you’re comfortable with. Most hosts today offer MySQL; that’s probably enough for most people, but if you’d prefer PostsgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server, or another flavour, don’t settle for anything less. Remember, if they aren’t advertising it, they probably don’t offer it!
City & District's hosting services come with
- Microsoft SQL Databases with SQL Express
- MySQL Databases with phpMyAdmin Access
- Microsoft Access Database Support
6. Framework Support and Easy-Install
A lot of web hosts offer support for popular frameworks, blogging systems, or CMSes it’s always nice when your web host offers a one-click install (or at least a super easy set-up) for WordPress or your CMS of choice.
In the Plesk Control Panel that comes with all City & District hosting plans, you will have access to over 250 applications, that you can install with a simple click
7. Mobile App or Website
For most people, this will probably be a nice extra; however, I’m sure there’s something who will find having a mobile app to access your site administration / statistics on the go indespensible.
City & District offers a Unity Mobile service, which creates a mobile version of your website under a seperate hosting plan.
8. Tech Support
This one is very important: find out exactly what your prospective host offers for tech support: can you phone them? At what times? Do they have a support email address? A ticket system? What’s their promised response time? How about a live chat? Do they have a wiki or library of help articles / tutorials? Don’t choose a host until you know exactly what support they offer; you’ll be happy for it later, trust me!
City & District offers telephone support during daytime hours and a 24/7 ticket support system.
9. Shell Access
If you’re a little more advanced, you might want to consider choosing a host that offers shell access: that’s logging into your server from the command line over SSH. You’ll be able to securely copy files up and down, change file permissions for whole groups of files quickly and easily, and perform a multitude of other tasks. If you want this feature, you’ll know all that you do with it!
City & District offers Shell Access
10. .htaccess Files
Here’s another important one: you’ll want the ability to add your own .htaccess files to your directories. What’s a .htaccess file? It’s a configuration file used by Apache server. You can use them to password protect directories, re-write URLs, redirect pages, and more.
City & District offers .htaccess Access
11. Cron Jobs
Cron jobs are another great feature to have on your web host (and there’s a good chance you’ll have them if you’ve got shell access). Cron is a “time-based job scheduler” (thanks, Wikipedia) that you can use to perform tasks on the server at given times
City & District offers Cron Jobs
12. Language Support
This should go without saying, but make sure the host you plan to choose offers support for the server-side languages you want to use. If you plan to pick up Ruby on Rails in the next few months, you probably want to see it on the list of supported frameworks. If you want to use Django, make sure there’s Python support. Don’t lock yourself into having PHP as your only option (unless you’re sure that’s all you’ll ever want or need!).
City & District's hosting services come with
- ASP, ASP.NET 2.0, ASP.NET 3.5, ASP.NET 4.0, AJAX
- PHP, Perl, Python, SSI, Curl, GD Library, MVC 3.0, LINQ
- IIS URL Rewrite 2.0 (Windows Server 2008 R2 Only)
- FrontPage Extensions and ASP.NET 1.1 (Windows Server 2008 R1 Only)
13. Site Backup
Don’t think that your web host is any less susceptible to data loss than your own computers; remember, servers are just big computers that everyone can read files from! What backup options, if any, does your host provide? You’ll want to back up both your site files and databases. If they don’t offer backup, figure out how you’ll be able to do it yourself: this might be one of the places that shell access and cron come in handy!
City & District provides daily backups of website.
14. Extra Applications
We already talked about content management systems, but sometimes you’ll want a something more. Several hosts offer set-ups for social features like forums, bulletin boards, mailing lists. If you’ll be running an online store, some hosts offer setups for eCommerce solutions.
In the Plesk Control Panel that comes with all City & District hosting plans, you will have access to over 250 applications, that you can install with a simple click
If you can, find out what software versions the host you are considering offers. Some hosts aren’t quick to upgrade to the latest offering, while others will let you choose which version you want. There are few things worse than signing up for a year of hosting only to discover your host is running PHP 4.x .
All software versions are updated in real time
I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that it’s important to know that your visitors will be able to get to your site when they try! Find out how reliable your prospective host is; when you’re doing this, it’s important to read the fine print. Often, hosts will stretch the truth a bit (claiming 99.9% uptime, not counting almost everything that could go wrong), so make sure you understand exactly what “100% uptime” means. It would be a wise move to google around and see what other users and reviewers have said about the host.
The uptime on our servers are guaranteed to be 99.95%
Unlike other hosting companies, City & District sets clear amount of storage space and bandwidth you get with each hosting plan.
Practically every other hosting company provides hosting on a shared basis, meaning you are sharing the resources of the server with, in a lot of cases, hundreds of other websites. Without clear sets of amount of resources this can result in
Server response time will be slow for the shared web server.
Though the hosting company will take care for the high performance of the shared server, sometimes the web server will be down due to a malicious program or over utilization of resources by another website sharing the server. Downtime means inaccessibility of your website.
There is the possibility of a ban of the shared IP address by the ISP provider or search engines due to the acts of one bad website in the shared hosting server. In dedicated server there is no such possibility.
- Though the hosting company takes care of the security issues there is a possibility of hacking your account by other webmasters, sharing the server, to get sensitive data.
At City & District, we own our servers and we set clear amounts of resources for each hosting account. What this means for you is that our service is more reliable and secure than shared hosting services. There are many excellent shared hosting providers, but dedicated hosting provides a good deal more stability and security. With City & District's hosting services, hosting clients can avoid many of the potential pitfalls of shared hosting services. With City & District's dedicated hosting, a customer does not need to worry that the server will be overloaded due to an excess number of websites being hosted on one server. A client also does not need to worry about another website on the server having bad coding or scripts that would affect the hosting and performance of their own website.
City & District's hosting allows a customer to customize their hosting experience, which is not usually the case with shared hosting services. Shared hosting packages include an assortment of applications and features. A customer often finds that many features are available that they do not need and others that they could use are not included with the shared hosting package. On the other hand, City & District's hosting clients can select the software and applications that are best suited to the needs of their website.
Another advantage of City & District's hosting is performance and how well a website can serve their visitors or their own customers. A business that utilizes City & District's hosting does not need to spend time worrying that their site will be offline. At times the amount of uptime can be less than a person would like if they have shared hosting services. This is typically not something one has to worry about very much with City & District's hosting. Websites also will usually load faster when they are hosted on a City & District dedicated server. This is due to the fact that there is not an overload of websites being hosted by one server. The server is not taxed by too much traffic, data and applications.
The fact that a website owner does not need to concern themselves with the worry of slow to load pages or excessive downtime is especially important for a business website. In this way City & District's hosting provides a great advantage to businesses that utilize this form of hosting. The quicker a business page is to load and the less it is offline, the more likely the website is to be successful. If the page was offline a great deal or had problems loading a business could lose customers. This is not going to happen often with dedicated hosting.
Here are other advantages of hosting your website with City & District
A Plesk Control Panel for managing website services
- As the market’s number one server control panel, Plesk Panel 10.4 is a turnkey Web hosting system that includes
- fully automated billing and provisioning,
- an integrated Web Presence Builder with integration to Social Networks including Facebook and Twitter,
- access to more than 250 Web-based applications to create unique service plans that meet a variety of customer needs.
- Parallels Plesk Panel saves time creating websites, managing e-mail addresses, and deploying applications to servers. Hosting customers – from IT professionals, business and creative individuals, web design studios and even novice website owners – get up to speed quickly for using Parallels Plesk Panel to manage their websites and other hosted services.
Over 250 applications in our cloud server.
City & District hosting includes Plesk Applications functionality to all customers. This functionality gives our customers access to multiple useful applications powered by the growing SaaS Application Packaging Standard (APS) catalog. Each application can be installed directly on your sites with just a few clicks, without the configuration hassle of traditional software installs.
Benefits of having your own domain email include:
Hosted email accounts
- Name Recognition & Branding – Having your own domain email is an easy way to promote your company. Your prospects see your name with every email. The more they see your name, the more they’ll think of you and the easier it is for them to remember you.
- Customer Trust – Consistent marketing builds trust, and so does meeting your customers’ expectations. They expect to see your domain name after the @ sign in the email. It says you’re professional and operate an established business.
- Easy to Find You Online – Customers will type in the domain part of your email address (the part that comes after the @ sign) to find you online, often when they’re ready to buy. If your email says comcast.com or yahoo.com at the end, they can’t easily find you. And if they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you!
- You, Not Your ISP, Own Your Email Address – Your email address stays with you. You don't have to change it if you move or change your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- Save Money on Marketing Materials – You won’t need to reprint your business cards, letterhead, signage or other marketing materials if you move or change ISPs or web hosts. You own the email address and it goes where you go.
- Build Marketing Momentum – You’ll build marketing momentum by using a consistent email address that doesn’t change over time. Old customers can easily reach you again.
A Web Presence Builder, for creating and maintaining the website
Web Presence Builder is a unique tool that gives you the power to create robust websites and web presences. You can now design websites faster than ever using a proven template system that helps you quickly deploy websites.
- Building a productive web presence is easier than ever, thanks to Web Presence Builder
Web Presence Builder, takes the once-complex job of web design and reduces it to simplicity. For business owners, who have to spend their time focusing on running their businesses, a tool like this is a blessing because it helps you save time and money. Those are two commodities the average small business person just can't get enough of!
- Anyone can create a good looking website that will appeal to visitors
Not only that, but Web Presence Builder has a lot of features built-in that will help you promote your website. Search engine friendliness is one such feature. Web Presence Builder creates a search engine friendly navigation structure that will allow your web pages to get indexed by major search engines. Plus, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools integration is included, so it's easy to make sure your web presence is counted by the world's largest search engine. Not only that, but inserting social sharing icons is as simple as dragging a 'module' into place. The module system is very powerful, and will never break the design of your website.
- Web Presence Builder gives you an option to publish a copy of your website to a Facebook Fan Page
These days, having a web presence means your website also has to be on popular social networks like Facebook. Web Presence Builder gives you an option to publish a copy of your website to a Facebook Fan Page as a tabbed application. This is a nice additional feature that saves you a lot of effort. You can also easily snap in a commenting plugin, photo gallery, contact form, and any additional script you need. With a City & District Hosting Plan you can also install popular applications like WordPress to run alongside your web presence. The features are powerful and the configuration is ultimately up to you.
- It's easy to create a website that is functional and attractive.
With 60+ pre-set style sheets to choose from, and selections of 1, 2, or 3 column design, it's easy to create a website that is functional and attractive. Web Presence Builder hosting plans by City & District are available from $5.99 per month and include everything you need to run a successful web presence for your business. That includes email, webmail, hosting,and an advanced management control panel. All plans are fully managed by our staff, so if you ever run into a snag you can always open a trouble ticket and we'll be happy to help.
A Search Engine Optimization tool that guarantees inclusion in Google
City & District uses a powerful system that scans your site, finds all your pages, including pages that can't be found by search engines' crawlers, create the XML sitemap and submit it to the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask to drive more qualified traffic to your site.
Automatic optimization for the delivery of web pages so visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance
City & District automatically includes your website is a part of the CloudFlare community. Your web traffic is routed through CloudFlare's intelligent global network and the delivery of your web pages is automatically optimized so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. Threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers are also blocked from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.