How Much Web Space Do You Need?

For the average layman who just wants to get his web pages hosted, it can be confusing to have so many web hosting packages to choose from. Just about all of them offer a competitive range of packages based on at least two areas—web space disk size and bandwidth. Prices for similar packages differ from one hosting company to the next. You could end up with a package that is short of your needs for a very attractive price offer.

Determining your disk space needs

Text in a web page eats the least amount of file size, so that even an all-text 100-page site may require no more than 5MB of web space storage. It’s the multimedia content that creates large file sizes.

Photos can go up to hundreds of MB each if you make high-resolution images available for download.

Sound files in MP3 format also take up space so that a 3-minute pop tune can easily require 7 MB at the format’s highest audio bit rate of 320 kilobytes per second.

Video files require a large amount of disk space. A 30-second video could eat up 25 MB of web space depending on the format and video resolution. Some site owners simply embed videos from a separate provider such as YouTube to save on their own hosting costs.

Estimating your bandwidth needs

Each website is unique, and estimating your minimum bandwidth or data transfer usage will depend on several elements. A rough formula to follow is:

[average file size of your web pages] * [number of visitors you expect each day] * [number of pages each visitor will view] * [30 days in a month] = total monthly bandwidth or data transfer usage

For instance, if you have 20 web pages each averaging 10 KB of text with around 100 KB of images per page and a best estimate of around 100 visitors on average per day who would view around 5 pages, using the formula above, you can compute: [10 KB + 100 KB per web page] * [100 visitors] * [5 pages per visitor] * [30 days in a month] = 1,650,000 KB, 1,600 MB, or 1.65 GB per month. You need to find a hosting package that a monthly 1.65 GB can safely fall into. Hosting packages with 2 to 5 GB of bandwidth per month would be just right with some room for a near-term expansion in traffic.

Weighing your options

Personal websites with a few pages of text and images can often be satisfied with free hosting topped at 2 GB of bandwidth and around 100 MB to 150 MB of disk space allocated for you each month. Just be aware that your site could be littered with ads that can annoy your site visitors, and problems in your hosting may not be met with good technical support that a paid hosting company can provide.

For business usage, it’s best for you to look into professional web hosting providers. They usually start with 5 GB monthly bandwidth and 200 MB of web space from $3 per month, with significant savings if you sign up for long-term hosting. In most cases, a startup or small business website can benefit from the minimum paid hosting packages if it rarely uses more than 1 GB of data transfer per month, at least in the early months. Even if you sign up for a year’s service. professional web hosts won’t mind if you step up to a higher package should the growth in your traffic and website sophistication warrant a higher bandwidth and web space.

However, there’s a better alternative. Because disk space and broadband telecommunications have both gone down in cost, unlimited disk space and bandwidth are now commonly offered in many hosting solutions priced above $3 per month.

For a growing business, it makes good sense to avail of these unlimited offers. This allows you to grow your business without worrying about whether or not your web host can support you. It also helps you in case of large spikes of traffic. You don’t want your website to be down just when a lot of visitors are coming in.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to get as much as you can for your money’s worth. There are plenty of affordable web hosts that offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth, so this is definitely recommended.

How Important Is Your Web Server’s Location?

Web space has a market in every country. The question is, should you purchase web hosting within your own country? Or are you better off getting it from one of the more established US-based providers?

Latency

Let’s start with the advantages of a local web server location. For you, at least, latency is going to be significantly lower than it is with out-of-country providers; after all, you’re sending signals a much shorter distance back and forth. That being said, it’s important not to overstate the significance of this. Modern broadband infrastructure has very low latency even across long distances. Unless you intend to run a demanding real-time service—for example, an online gaming server—latency isn’t that important.

Tech Support

What’s more important, though, is tech support. Any web host needs good, reliable tech support to be worth your money. Ideally, this should include live support. So there is a sizable advantage to having a host within your own country. Being in the same time zone prevents you from having to worry about the exact hours when live support is available, and having support in your native language can be extremely helpful.

All in all, though, you’re going to be better off looking at web space within the United States than at providers in most other nations.

Web Space in the United States

The US web hosting industry is much more mature than most others. These businesses have been operating for decades in some cases. There’s much more useful information available to you before you make a decision—you can consult years and years of customer reviews in order to figure out just how able they are to deliver on the features and performance that they promise.

Furthermore, the underlying broadband infrastructure in the US is relatively solid, and most of the large server farms are easily able to get more than enough bandwidth for their purposes. Other nations can vary in this respect, but generally they can’t produce the same results.

For English-speaking audiences, the largest proportion of your readers will likely be in the US anyway. This means that latency will be minimal for most of your intended users.

For non-English-speaking audiences, it depends on your language. For example, the US has a decent Spanish-speaking population and is relatively close to several Spanish-speaking countries, so having a US web server location isn’t bad for a website targeted at Spanish speakers. German, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as prevalent in the geographic region, so latency will be higher for most of your target audience. Again, though, latency only really matters with the most finicky of real-time services, so keep that in mind.

Conclusion

In the end, if you want to serve a non-English-speaking region and require live tech support in your native language—or intend to run real-time services which are hindered by latency—you’re best served by a local hosting provider. But otherwise, US-based hosts provide superior speeds, and have already worked out kinks that competitors in other nations are still figuring out. Just make sure that you select an established, reliable web host with good technical support.

Top 5 Web Space Myths

Finding a perfect web space provider can be a difficult task, especially with the number of options available on the market. Everyone wants fast servers with perfect uptime, plenty of disk space, and lots of bandwidth. A free domain thrown in would be nice to have, and all this must either come free or at a very low price. While these requirements seem ideal, there are a few common misconceptions about each of these specifications.

Myth 1: Website uptime of 100% is possible.

Many web hosts advertise a server uptime of 99.9% or more—but never 100%. This is because the server needs to be maintained regularly in order for it to run smoothly the rest of the time.

Also note that even if the server is running, the website won’t be accessible if the network is down at the data center. A 99.9% server uptime doesn’t guarantee a corresponding website uptime.

Myth 2: Unlimited disk space and bandwidth are a must.

Many people feel that and unlimited disk space and bandwidth are an absolute must for a website to meet future growth needs.

First of all, web space and bandwidth are finite. There is a limit. However, most websites will never come anywhere close to this limit.

Second, unlimited disk space and bandwidth doesn’t mean you can have a bandwidth-intensive website on a shared server. This will adversely affect the performance of the server and other websites hosted on that network. Web hosts are quick to detect such disproportionate resource usage and will ask you to upgrade to a higher package or take the site elsewhere.

The reality is that site performance is likely to be better on a shared server, which has restrictions on web space and bandwidth, since the web host discourages users with resource-intensive websites from hosting there in the first place. Most new sites won’t need a lot of disk space and won’t have enough traffic to really need high bandwidth. If the traffic increases, it’s only a happy problem to have, in which case it would be possible to upgrade.

Myth 3: You can get a free domain for life.

Many people think that an offer for a free domain for life means that the web hosting company will keep renewing it every year, no matter what.

Remember that the free domain is part of the web hosting package—and it will be renewed only if you continue to be their customer on a hosting package that includes a free domain.

Myth 4: All web hosts are suitable for all websites.

Some people are under the impression that once they purchase a web hosting package, they can use it in any way they want.

Most web hosts, even the paid ones, have restrictions on what kind of sites you can host. Some web hosts don’t allow streaming media, file storage services, or adult content.

Myth 5: The fine print is unimportant.

Most people don’t read the fine print before they sign up for free or paid web hosting. But it’s important to see what you’re signing up for. This is especially true if it’s a low-cost or free web host. There could be possible file type restrictions, maximum file sizes, email sending limits, and others. These technical aspects may be crucial to the functioning of your website.

The ideal web host isn’t necessarily the one that offers the most disk space and bandwidth. It’s also important to check whether your website can be hosted comfortably within the resource limits and technical platform. We’ve found that these recommended web hosts have all the features that a typical website needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Web Space

If you’re thinking about ways to generate more sales and leads for your business, then maybe it’s time to go online. The vast majority of businesses have their own website now because customers want to shop from the comfort of their own home, or even from their smartphone or tablet.

If this is all new to you, then here are eight frequently asked questions about getting started with your own web space.

1. What is web space?

There are many different web hosting companies that provide space to upload a website for an annual or monthly fee. You can create your own website in your own space, store files there, and if you ever want to move to a different provider, you just take your files and move them.

2. How much do I need?

It depends on the number of web pages and files you will be uploading. If your website is just a simple blog with a few pages then you won’t need very much. However, if you will be hosting full-color catalogues of hundreds of products, or making lots of videos or audio files available for customers to download, then you’ll need more space.

3. Should I get free or paid web hosting?

You can get free web hosting with some providers, but many of these insist that you allow them to advertise on your website. They might also have restrictions on the type of website you can install and the number of visitors you can have each month. Free services like this can also be a lot less reliable so you run the risk of your website being down which could be bad for business.

By paying for web space, you eliminate all those negative points. You will get much better and more reliable service with full technical support and in most cases a guarantee of almost 100% uptime.

4. Do I need PHP/MySQL?

PHP is the programming code that many website platforms such as WordPress and Joomla use. It’s quite common for these platforms to require a database to store things like customer details, product information, and so on. MySQL is the most popular database system available today and integrates perfectly with PHP.

If you know how to write your own PHP code, you can create some amazing applications for your own website, or you can buy off-the-shelf packages. The vast majority of web hosting companies offer PHP and MySQL as standard, but some plans will limit the number of databases you can have.

5. Do I need my own domain?

If you’re running your own business, you need your own domain. Your domain name doesn’t have to include your business name, but it might describe your product or the services you offer. It could also include your geographic location.

For example, if you run a pet grooming salon in New York called Woof Woof Beauties, you might register the domain newyorkpetgrooming.com rather than woofwoofbeauties.com. Do some keyword research before deciding on a domain name. When people come to search for a product or service, keywords in a domain can certainly help your website rank higher.

6. Where can I buy a domain?

There are many companies that sell domains and the prices they charge can vary a lot, so it’s really worth taking some time to shop around. Some web hosting providers, such as Just Host, offer free domain registration with their web hosting packages—this is a good deal if you’re looking to save money.

When you buy a domain name, you have the option to get one or more TLD’s (top level domains) for the same name. For example, in addition to buying newyorkpetgrooming.com, you might also buy newyorkpetgrooming.net, newyorkpetgrooming.org, and so on. It’s sometimes a good idea to do this because it stops competitors from setting up a site to try and steal your business. If you buy multiple TLD’s like this, you simply redirect the other domains to your main domain.

7. How do I create a website?

Creating a website in your own web space can be as easy as clicking a button these days. Some web host providers come bundled with Fantastico, a system which allows you to easily install web software. With this tool, you could install something like WordPress blog within a few seconds and your website could be up and running in no time at all. Check out these web hosts which come bundled with Fantastico.

If you want something more unique and custom-made for your business, you can always pay a website designer to create something tailored just for you.

8. How do I upload my website?

They are a few ways to upload files to your web space. Most web hosting companies will offer you an upload facility where you simply browse to the files on your computer, select them, then upload them to your site.

Alternatively, you can use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program. One of the best free FTP programs is FileZilla, which allows you to drag and drop files from your computer directly into your website.

Web Server Location

Web server location is one of the things you should consider when building your website. In this article, we’ll give you pointers on which areas of the world are best for server locations and why. We’ll also help you determine whether your web space would benefit from a local server.

First things first. Web server location refers to the physical location of your web hosting service. Not all servers are located where you would expect. It’s fairly common for a small business in one country to purchase web space from a hosting company in another country, and for a hosting company in one country to lease out servers in another country. This means that you could be in the United Kingdom, purchasing hosting from a company in the United States, which is actually using servers in Australia.

What Makes a Good Web Server Location

Reliable Connectivity

A good location is based on several things. First, think about how developed the area is in terms of Internet connection. Highly developed areas such as North America, Western Europe, and Australia generally have good, reliable connections. This means a smoother web experience for you and your website visitors.

Internet Laws

Another important factor is the political climate and how it relates to Internet practices. A resident of the United States, for example, typically knows little about European Internet laws, and could be in for some surprises.

Servers located in the United States are generally a safe bet because they have a democratic system, not to mention most of the best web hosts and web services in the world are based there.

Your Target Market

Web server location is also important in boosting exposure for your web space. Having your web server in the same country as your target market can increase your website visits.

Search engines like Google consider web server location in their algorithm, so a local server will give you higher rankings if a local visitor searches for your product or service. Also, a local server makes the website load faster for local visitors, which is always a good thing.

Natural Disasters

The likelihood of natural disasters in a certain area is very important when choosing a server location. After all, if the area is hit by a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, or flooding, connections may be lost for hours, days, or weeks. This is not something you want for your website.

Areas which enjoy stable climates are generally the safest. The United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia are all typically stable, and are home to a great deal of reliable servers.

Conclusion

In the end, it’s best to choose a web server located in developed, climate-stable, and democratic countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Local servers are good for websites that are targeted to people in a specific country.

If you’re looking for excellent web hosts, check out our recommended list. All of these hosts use servers in the United States.

The right location plays a part in having an optimal website experience for you and your visitors, so be sure you make the right choice.

Image by Erwin Boogert.

Web Hosting Subdomains

Web hosting subdomains are an important consideration when creating a website. What are they? Why are they important? Do you really need them?

Here, we’ll clue you in on web hosting subdomain basics. It’s important to have all the facts before you begin to build a website. Being informed not only saves you money, but also lets you choose the best possible host for your web space, which will translate into the best possible website.

On Web Hosting Subdomains

A web hosting subdomain is simply a section of a particular website, dedicated to a specific portion of web space or information.

For example, let’s say that your website is http://mywebsite.com. Let’s pretend that you sell many different things on this site, some of which are completely unrelated to each other.

In order to simplify the shopping experience for your customers and to make traffic and orders easier for you to manage, you might create a subdomain for each grouping of products. These subdomains might be http://cars.mywebsite.com or http://clothing.mywebsite.com.

Larger websites often have subdomains to keep their content organized. For example, when you visit a news site and click on a topic such as weather or traffic, you are often directed to that subject’s dedicated subdomain.

Do You Need Them?

A common misconception among novices is that their web space is simply too small to require subdomains. This may be true in the very beginning, but you need to make room for your web space to grow. Leaving room for expansion ensures that when your site begins to attract more visitors, you’ll have the tools in place to grow your site accordingly.

In addition to growth, your web space will benefit during searches if you use subdomains. If a potential customer or visitor types in something which is not a prominent part of your main page, they may not find your web space. You’ve just lost business.

However, having a specific subdomain for each topic or niche that you offer greatly increases the chances of potential business finding your site.

How Many Do You Need?

There are many reliable and affordable hosting services out there which offer unlimited subdomains, and this is what you should seek out.

Unlimited subdomains give you complete freedom should your website grow larger. Remember that subdomains are tied in with the amount of disk space and bandwidth you are allotted, so ask questions. Determine before signing up exactly how much disk space and bandwidth you will be receiving, and make sure that the numbers are satisfactory regarding your eventual subdomains. Packages can usually be upgraded, but it’s always nice to have everything you need right from the beginning.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, web hosting subdomains are a simple yet effective tool in organizing and managing your web space. The benefits are great, boosting exposure and traffic, and the cost is usually quite minimal. Look for hosting with unlimited subdomains to get best results. Check out these recommended web hosts for high-quality hosting.