Web HostingA web host is simply a computer that is always on and connected to the internet, so when someone wants to see your web site, the web host computer will answer their request.
The main things you want with hosting is:
- Good Reliability
- Good Support
One thing to be aware of is that webhosts say they have 99.99% uptime. That means there can be 4.32 minutes of downtime per month, which is 52 minutes per year.
So it sounds good, but that's a fair bit of downtime, more than you would expect after reading 99.99% uptime.
In the ideal case there is no downtime at all, and most of the time this is how it works, but they usually won't guarantee more than 99.99%.
If your target viewers are in Australia, many people recommend Australian Hosting because the page should load faster. US based hosting is generally cheaper and with larger disk space, and the speed difference is not usually noticeable.
You can get hosting with Australian companies that have US servers allowing you to pay in Australian dollars with no currency conversion.
Digital PacificAn example of Australian Web Hosting is Digital Pacific, which has provided good service and has helpful support.
For more information about what Digital Pacific offer, click on the banner below.
PanthurPanthur Web Hosting has good webhosting based in Sydney Australia. This is one of the hosts we use and they have been quite reliable. Particularly useful is their 24/7 phone line which we have used when needed to sort anything out. Panthur is a little more expensive because of this service, but it's worth it.
Crucial ParadigmCrucial Paradigm have US based servers, are competitively priced and fairly reliable.
This website is hosted on Crucial Paradigm in the US, so click on a few pages on the menu to test the loading spead.
HostGatorHostGator claim to be among the biggest webhosts, they're based in the US and have some very cheap plans, but the speed suffers.
ReviewsWith any of these hosts it's always good to read reviews about their performance & service. Some hosting companies start well, but after 3 years the performance slows down when the sites/server ratio gets to high and you need to move to a new company. We have had to do this a few times. There is a good forum on hosting companies here at whirlpool. It's not unusual to have to move to a different hosting company, and the new company might transfer the site for you.
To make transferring easier it's best to host your domain name with a separate company from the website host, so it's easier to move. First you get the site setup on the new server so it's on two servers at the same time, then you point the domain name to the new server for an uninterrupted transfer.