How to Find Affordable Web Hosting

When you're shopping for affordable web hosting, you must consider the features you need, the space you want and the type of files you want to host. Understand that affordable Web hosting plans don't offer the same features and services as more expensive plans. It is possible to find affordable hosting, but you've got to go in with a complete game plan for your Web site in order to effectively compare providers.

What Features Do You Need?
Start with the basics that your site needs to run. How much bandwidth do you consume each month? Do you need e-commerce features? Do you need e-mail hosting or video hosting? Do you need extra security or the ability to run reporting software to track users?

Many affordable hosting plans set you up on a shared server, which limits the technology you can deploy. This also poses the risk of site slowdowns if another user on that server experiences heavy traffic. Most hosting providers allow a certain amount of data transfer for your monthly fee, and running over that amount can lead to very high data charges.

Before you start comparing hosts, take a look at the performance of your site for the last six months, making sure to include peak traffic times. Use your current software requirements and traffic as a basis for negotiating your monthly rate.

Fewer Features, Lower Cost
Don't just choose the Web hosting service with the most features if you're looking for affordable Web hosting. The more services that a Web host offers, the higher priced its plans. If you don't need e-commerce, don't shop for a Web hosting plan that includes thesee features. Cutting down on unnecessary features can save you a bundle when you're shopping for affordable hosting plans.

Plan for the Future
Consider the future of your Web site when you're shopping for providers. If you expect to add functionality to your site or upgrade it in the future, look for hosting plans that offer the features you're going to want to add. It's much easier to upgrade your plan than to migrate all your files to a new hosting provider when you want to make some changes or add some features.

Your future plans factor into your space and data transfer needs as well. You want your site to grow, so you should track traffic increases over the last year to calculate your monthly growth rate, then choose a plan that acommodates it. Obviously, the more space the better, but don't bother with an expensive plan that offers more space than you'll ever need.  

When you're looking at space, also look for throughput. Throughput is the amount of data that users can transfer per month. If you exceed your throughput allotment, some Web hosts make your site inaccessible until the next cycle. This means that if you're hosting a popular Internet video, for example, that many people try to access, you could easily exceed your throughput because so many people are accessing a fairly large file.

Affordable Web Hosting for Small Business Includes Enterprise Features
Many Web hosts now offer small-business packages. These packages include the ability to create hundreds or even thousands of e-mails at your domain, and support for enterprise features. Evaluate your business needs when you're looking at Web hosting plans for small businesses. When in doubt, call the Web host and ask questions; especially in small-business applications, you're going to want good customer service.

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