Mini Lesson: How To Read Server Providers Offers

You already know the difference between domain, web address, and URL. I hope you are on the right track creating a great web domain name for your new website. Now I would like to offer you a quick lesson before buying the domain and setting it on the server.  Let me share with you several factors that once carefully considered before the purchase decision will save you some hassle and money. I know that you probably have NO CLUE how to understand server providers offers, I did not either in my early days and wanted quickly finalize the purchase and then hoped for the best. In fact, there a few good practices that were my AHA moment.

Tip # 1 Market leader vs. second best

In every country, there are leading hosting providers who are in a position to offer the lowest prices. Usually, they offer packages, so they bundle purchase of the server with a domain, and sometimes also add on some vague services like extra individual customer care or even free website development.  Careful here! For small business players, this kind of offer seems very attractive and seems to take most of the problems of their head. In fact, you need to remember that the assistance promised will be quite limited.

On the other hand, there are the second best market players who are striving to get into the first league. Usually, these guys will have slightly higher price level but excellent customer service and help desk that will be in a position to spend time with your problems.

I use 2nd best and rest assured that any technical issue I might face will be solved immediately, sometimes within minutes.

Tip # 2 – Purchase Price vs. Renewal Price

It really pays off to be careful while considering the price level for server purchasing. The server providers present the purchase offers in such a way you will notice the lowest possible price. Frequently it is displayed as monthly or quarterly payment to look better than competitive prices.  Rarely you will find it as an annual fee. If you cannot find a yearly cost easily, it makes sense to contact the server provider and ask for it specifically. Why is it important? You need to know the annual charge and the cost of server renewal. In the 2nd year, usually, prices go up, especially in the case of market leaders. You need to study the offers really carefully, as it does not make any sense to move servers frequently.

Tip # 3 – Selection of relevant package

You may feel completely lost in the process of package selection. In fact, you need to look for several positions only out of all the lines presented in the offer.

  • Unique Visitors – the traffic of your website will be measured with a number of unique visitors. The smallest package should cover at least 5.000 of them (5K), and it is enough for a smooth start.
  • Database – your website will require different databases to function correctly. A reliable provider will offer an unlimited number of databases, which is crucial once your web contains lots of photos, videos, and other media. Remember 1 database is not enough!
  • The number of email accounts – you will need to build your contact scheme using emails related to the web domain. The decent provider will offer an unlimited number of them in your package.
  • Backup of your web – in case anything wrong happens to your website (virus, hacking) you will need to go back quickly to the correct, non-infected version. Your server provider is expected to make a backup every day and keep each version of your web for at least 15-30 days. You might see the offers with 3 days back up – this is not enough in case of hacking or virus.
  • Auto installation of your website environment – if you already know which CMS will be used to build your website – you need to look for auto installation plug-in. The most frequent CMSs currently are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
  • Help desk specializing in your CMS – double check if the excellent help desk of your market second best provider is a real expert in the environment you plan for your web. If you plan Drupal, you do not want the help desk specializing in WordPress, and vice-versa.

Tip # 4 – Split server and domain purchase

Did you know that if you want to buy server and domain together, there is a way to pay for your server two weeks later? If you make single order containing both, but you will not pay them at once – your new web domain will not be active until the payment is made. It makes sense to split your order and purchase first the domain. Then in your second order, you can use the test period for the server, which usually is 14 days. During the test period, you can already put your active domain on the server and start operating and making sure it satisfies all your needs. The invoice will be sent once the test period is finished.

So do not be afraid to spend some quality time being in this process. Have a great time developing the framework for your website!