How to Choose Web Hosting

We’ve recently seen some significant improvements in our hosting services and as a result will be increasing our prices slightly. For existing customers, please rest assured that your annual hosting bill will remain unchanged.

I want to start with a little bit of background. Coppertops came into existence because Regina and myself feel that we can provide web and graphics services for businesses at a better pricepoint than what we had seen from other providers. We are committed to doing that without any compromise on quality and we are passionate about the quality of our service and aftercare. We pride ourselves on taking care of our clients to the highest photo

So when it came to pricing our hosting offering, therefore, we applied the same principle and set our prices based on a desire to provide the best value for our clients.

We noticed an unexpected reaction, however. Feedback on our hosting was that there is an impression or an assumption that at that price there must be something wrong with it!

Let us be very clear here.

Our own site is located on the same servers where our hosting accounts are based.

Before committing to a hosting provider, I did A LOT of research to find the best service for us. Obviously price is a major factor, but it is not the only one and it is certainly not possible to apply a blanket assumption that the more you pay, the more you get!

The specifications of the server, level of management of the hardware, performance of the server and websites on it and especially guarantees regarding all of these play a major part in selecting the correct hosting solution.

One of the most important criteria is the level of support. You need to know that if you need help – or if something does go wrong – that somebody has your back.

After much research, we chose our host and since signing up with them they have impressed us enormously. Performance has been excellent and the support is at an amazing level.

For Coppertops customers, this means that you get fantastic support times two:

  1. First level support – myself and Regina will take care of you and resolve any issues you may have.
  2. Second level support – we have backup on any issues that are outside of our control, support which is located with the servers.
    Combined, this means that you always receive the best service.

So, here’s a checklist to run through when shopping for a web host:

  • Disk Space: as it says on the tin, this is the amount of disk space that you have available to store your files
  • Bandwidth: the amount of data that can be transferred to/from your account each month. For example, every time somebody loads your website they are downloading the files from your server to do that. And when you make changes to your site you are uploading files. All of this contributes to your bandwidth. If you have a high traffic site, you will need to make sure that you have enough bandwidth on your account to avoid crashing your website.
  • Domains: the number of domains that you can point at your site on the hosting account. For each domain, your hosting account will store information on where the files are for that domain and where email addressed to that domain should go. (Our hosting accounts can use unlimited domains)

(Note that some hosting providers include domains in the price of their hosting. We don’t do this, because we feel that you shouldn’t pay for anything you don’t need and as lots of our clients already have purchased their domain this would be doubling up on costs for them)

  • FTP Accounts: Accounts for users to upload files to your host via FTP. Usually unlimited. (Our hosting has unlimited FTP accounts, so you can provide logins to different users with different levels of access)
  • Email Accounts: Email accounts on your domain. Also usually unlimited. (Our hosting has unlimited Email accounts/forwarders)
  • MySQL Databases: Most websites are now CMS (Content Management System) based, and these use a MySQL database to manage your site at the back end. (Our hosting offers unlimited MySQL databases, which are also – unusually – unlimited in size)
  • MariaDB: If your host uses MariaDB for MySQL databases, this is a bonus as it is a better performing version. (Our hosting service has recently been switched over to MariaDB with significant improvements in performance)
  • CPanel: A useful dashboard for your hosting account, making it easy to see and manage your settings. (Our hosting includes CPanel as standard)
  • Ability to install any software you are going to use – ideally one click software like Softaculous as it makes it much easier to manage installations. Softaculous includes things like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento and many, many others! (Our hosting offers Softaculous as standard)
  • LiteSpeed: preferable to Apache web hosting, as it is up to 9 times faster. (Our websites are all much faster on LiteSpeed)
  • Backups: a system to backup your data regularly gives added protection against data loss, although you should set up your own backup system on a regular schedule for each website or piece of data. (Our hosting includes daily backups)
  • SSL Certificate – if you will need to set up SSL on your website then check how much it will cost to install a certificate on your hosting. (On our hosting there’s no additional cost.)

I would suggest that you aim to get as many of these items ticked as possible, with room to expand if you need more space, bandwidth, etc in the future. If you need to make a compromise to suit your budget, then my recommendation would be to compromise on something that you can add on later if/when your budget improves. It’s easier to change plan later than to change host – although changing host is absolutely possible too.

If you are interested in finding out more about our hosting, please contact us now to find out more or for a proposal to match your budget.

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