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Choosing a good hosting plan

Choosing a good hosting plan, means choosing the best fit for you and what you want to do with your website.
The main types of sites

Personal Many people have personal websites for their family or a dedication page to a special someone or just something small and well, personal.
These types of sites do well on either free, budget, or shared hosting plans. Usually bandwidth and disk space are not an issue for these types of sites, but take it into consideration if you want to put pictures or videos up. Many of the smaller plans limit you to 10-50MB. If you use high quality, high resolution, large pictures on your site, you may be able to only fit 2 on there.
If you don't know how to build your own site, you will want to find out if the hosting company offers a web building or template system for you to use. If you want to use the site for a photo gallery or blog- find out first if they offer this as a feature.


Informational or Services This is a site that provides information or a service. It may be owned by a large business, a personal site kept up by an industry enthusiast, or a site that provides information and content to website visitors in hopes of driving traffic to advertising parties on their website.
Depending on the size and magnitude of such a site, any range of web hosting may be right for it. These sites are best started small, perhaps on a shared hosting plan and should be maintained in an easy to move format in case they need to be upgraded to a higher end system.


Web Presence This is where a business has a website that talks about their business, but they do not conduct any business online. They simply have a website to establish their presence and professional appearance. These sites do best on a shared hosting or Virtual Private Server hosting system. This type of site is usually 3-5 pages and will probably make use of email services to provide email addresses for employees based on the company's domain name. Shared hosting is a good budgeting fit, but may also load slow depending on a large number of variables.


Small Business This is when a business needs an online presence to help drive a portion of their business. This type of site may have online catalogs and information, but may or may not process sales online.
I would almost suggest that this type of site may want to consider a Virtual Private Server, but since many small businesses are on a budget, starting with a shared hosting plan may be more practical. A catalog means the hosting needs to have the availability of a database and will probably need the use of email services. PHP and dynamic coding are used often to create these types of sites and there are often interactive features to keep visitors interested and provide usability.
This is a type of site where the company or owner may certainly want to consider spending money to purchase professional web development and marketing to help drive traffic to their site.


E-Commerce This site is where either the entire business or a large portion of sales is conducted online.
An e-commerce site is almost always database driven, so the hosting plan needs to have a database. A dedicated SSL helps make the site more professional, some hosting companies do not offer the ability to use a dedicated SSL, only a shared one. A merchant service provider to process credit card payments online is needed. Some of these merchant providers support a system where the customer is directed to their page for checking out. Other merchant services require certain security measures be met and set up to process a credit card from your site.
This is a system where I will also say that a Virtual Private Server is a great starting option. If the site is small or there is not much traffic with budgeting considerations, then a shared hosting plan will work. There are many shared hosting systems that are aimed or set up specifically for Ecommerce hosting. If the site is really large and gets a high volume of traffic a Dedicated server may be needed to accommodate your needs. At this point the site will usually have dedicated employees, whose job revolves around the web site.
Many hosting companies offer a shopping cart creation system, though spending the money for a professional web developer to create the site for you is a great option.
Taking the time and setting aside money specifically for online marketing to help drive traffic to the site where a good portion of revenue comes from is a sound investment.


Big Business These are the companies that are big enough to afford it all- such as Pepsi and Coke. These companies have outsourced and or have dedicated staff for their website. They are hosting their own servers in their own data center. Usually the website they have online is mostly for web presence to keep a competitive edge and usually employs various interactivity to keep visitors entertained. These websites are used for marketing and sometimes to attract investors.
What website visitors don't see, is the insider webpage. Most companies provide an insider website for employees containing things such as policies and procedures, a company directory, and company news.