In follow up to our previous post where we talked about the 3 basic criteria you should look at when considering a host, let’s now talk about the more technical aspects you should look at when choosing a web hosting provider. You don’t have to be a computer science major to understand all the different considerations that go into selecting a web host. These are the most important things anyone who’s considering a web host should look at, from a technical perspective.
The operating system you select has a big impact on the kinds of programs you can run. If you’re running custom software, talk to your engineer about the kind of platform they want their software to run on.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re running Perl, CGI, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Flash, Python, PHP or MySQL, you’ll want to be on a Linux server. Linux servers can include Apache, Ubuntu or Fedora.
On the other hand, if you plan to run applications written in .NET or ASP, you’ll want a Windows based server.
If you’re running a website that deals with thousands upon thousands of dollars per day in revenue, you might want to look into getting an uptime guarantee.
With an uptime guarantee, the web host will promise to keep your servers up for a certain percentage of the time, at minimum. If the servers ever go down, the web host will owe you money for every minute or hour that the service is down.
This is typically for established, successful companies for whom any down time would be devastating.
From a strict hosting perspective, the geographic location of your web host really doesn’t matter. The server could be in Brazil or in the United Kingdom and most of your users really wouldn’t notice a difference.
In rare cases however, your server location can come into play.
First of all, if the majority of your visitors come from a certain country, there is a small speed benefit to having your server hosted in that country.
Your server can also come into play for search engine optimization purposes. If you’re trying to rank a website based in Brazil, Google is going to think your website is more relevant to that geographic location if your server is actually based out of Brazil.