Choosing a web hosting company
There are many web hosting companies out there offering a wide variety of different options and prices, here are some things to consider when comparing BoltHost to the competition.
If it sounds too good to be true it usually is! Don't believe any web hosting company offering you unlimited traffic. Hosting companies must pay for the bandwidth you use, so if you use allot of it they are not going to bear the costs. Take a look at the hosts policies and you will find that they re-define 'unlimited' to be something else, often they are very vague about this and can cancel or charge you more for exceeding your 'unlimited' bandwidth. If the host does not actually state what that 'unlimited' limit really is then you have no way of knowing how much you can use. BoltHost states how much bandwidth each plan can use and you can view your usage from the control panel.
Just like with bandwidth don't believe anyone offering you unlimited disk space or huge disk space limits, especially at cheap prices! Once again these hosts will redefine what they mean by 'unlimited'. Most sites require less than 10MB of storage so these hosts are playing there chances that customers will not use much of the data space offered. Often these hosts are overselling their services, meaning that if everyone actually used all of the space offered the host would run out of space for everyone and not make a profit. I do not oversell, the disk space on your plan is allocated just for you.
Servers, disk space and bandwidth all cost money, so the cheaper the web hosting company the more customers they will need to fit onto the same server to make a profit. More sites on the same server will result in slower performance and a higher chance of faults. Some hosts fit more than 2000 customers on the same server! Another factor to consider is support, thousands of customers on cheap plans will stretch support staff and reduce available resources for maintaining servers and software. BoltHost's plans are affordable, but I do not oversell my servers, the disk space offered on your plan is allocated just for you and of course I do not skimp on support or server maintenance.
Be careful about joining a company offering a "free domain". Almost more than not there are strings attached and you may be stung with high renewal fees later on.
Number of sites (or "addon sites")
If you intend to host more than one website, or think that you might need to in the future, check how many sites the web hosting company allows you on each plan and what the cost is to host additional sites. Our Standard plan can host up to 5 sites at no additional cost. Our Advanced plan allows you to host an unlimited number of sites. All our plans offer plenty of bandwidth for hosting multiple sites and we clearly state how much we charge for additional bandwidth or disk space on each plan. Most websites use less than 1GB of traffic each month.
When choosing a web hosting company it is important to know where their servers are located. Hosts are often able to offer cheaper plans by locating their servers in the USA, this is because they pay much less for bandwidth over there. But if your site targets a particular country then it is best to host your website in that country so that it will show up in localised search results. Also the closer your website is to your target customers the faster it will load. BoltHost's servers are located in Auckland, New Zealand so when searching within New Zealand on Google and other search engines our sites are more likely to show in the results and likely to load quicker than sites hosted overseas.
Check that the host's datacentre (the facility where their servers are located) has more than one connection to the internet through different providers so that if one line goes down traffic is routed through the remaining connections. Any good datacentre should also have a backup power source so that local power outages don't bring down your website. BoltHost has all of these.
Look for a host that offers an uptime guarantee, without this there is no incentive for them to keep their servers available. However you should also be wary of any host that claims 100% uptime. All servers need to be rebooted every now and then for security and software updates. If they never reboot that means their server is insecure and they will eventually be hacked. I offer a 99.5% uptime guarantee with a 10% discount for any payment term when uptime falls below this. BoltHost's typical uptime averages for each month are over 99.9%
Not all hosting companies own or lease their own web servers. Some of them are actually resellers for another hosting company. The disadvantage of using a reseller is the possibility that you are dealing with people who don't know much about the system they are selling and who take longer to help you because they first have to ask the original host.
However some re-sellers are reliable and knowledgeable and often sell plans for less than the original hosting company.
If you discover that a host is really a re-seller you will need to investigate both them and the original host to determine that they are both reliable.
I am not a reseller and I know the products I offer inside out.
Make sure the host offers a control panel, these allow you to do many things yourself such as creating email accounts, forwarders, setting up out of office auto replies, password protecting directories, setting up sub domains and additional websites and much more all without needing to ask your web hosting company to do it for you. BoltHost's DirectAdmin control panel allows you to manage all the things listed above and much more, plus you may still ask me to do things for you if you prefer, but often it is more convenient to do these things yourself.
Windows vs Unix and Linux
If you need to run Microsoft Technologies such as ASP or ASP.NET then you have no choice but to look for a Windows host. Otherwise you can choose a Unix or Linix host running the Apache web server. Often these hosts (like BoltHost) are cheaper, more secure and more reliable because many Linux and Unix distributions are free and rock solid compared to Windows (but beware, a server is only as reliable as the person who administers it!). Instead of Microsoft's ASP, Apache server's can run PHP and Perl CGI applications, there is an incredible amount of free web applications and scripts that are written in PHP. BoltHost's Installatron Script Installer inside the control panel allows you to install and manage over 50 free PHP web applications and scripts and of course you can install almost any PHP application you find on the net.
MySQL databases, PHP and Perl CGI scripting, SSI & FTP
When choosing a Unix or Linux host make sure you choose a plan with MySQL, PHP, Perl CGI and SSI, these technologies are needed to run web applications such as blogs, guest books, discussion forums and content management systems. All BoltHost plans include these technologies.
FTP is a technology used to transfer your website's files from your computer to our server, all our plans include FTP access, but in addition to this there is a file manager in the DirectAdmin control panel where you can upload files, create folders, move, copy, re-name, delete and password protect directories.